Helping Neighbors in Need

Deacon Bonnie Morrill couldn’t believe the devastation just blocks from her house in Rowlett after tornados spiraled through North Texas in December and destroyed hundreds of homes.

She began walking the streets in her collar and ministering to those who had lost every possession, when she happened on a couple and their teenage daughter. “The woman hugged me so tight, I could feel the pain seep out of her,” Morrill said.

The family was in the house when the tornado imploded their home on top of them. They were uninjured but it took rescuers an hour to dig them out. Family members consider themselves lucky to be alive and are grateful to be able to live in a beauty shop they own, even if it’s not ideal.

The daughter, Kayla is a senior in high school and lost her first car in the storm, which had been given to her by her grandmother who wasn’t able to drive anymore. Morrill has been ministering to Kayla and gave her store card and suggested she buy art supplies and a journal to use as a catalyst for healing. “I’m forming relationships with families,” Morrill said. “You can minister to them more fully. These are my neighbors, and it’s important to me that they see continuous caring.”

Morrill, who is a deacon at St. David’s in Garland and at The Gathering, a church for the homeless in Thanks-Giving Square, brought three or four homeless men to the damaged neighborhood so they could volunteer. They hauled bricks, insulation and other debris to help get homes cleaned up for demolition or rebuild. “It shows how they have taken the message of Jesus Christ, that everyone is a neighbor, and that they don’t always have to be on the receiving end,” Morrill said. “They are taking leadership positions and modeling how to serve others, how to serve the world.”

Morrill is also networking with diocesan clergy and with the Garland School District to aid in the cleanup and ministering.

“She’s amazing,” Deacon Rosemary Trei said. “She has really been out there seeing what the needs are and trying to help. She has a heart for reaching out to folks who need someone to walk with.”

“Kayla” by Bonnie Morrill

A solitary figure standing in a doorway that is no more

bricks, rubble, pictures, and history are the landscape

One lonely tear skitters down a lovely cheek as she watches a truck tow

away her prize possession

Her Grandma's car, given to her with the love and hopes grandmothers hold.

A second tear joins the first for a home filled with her history

Her baby bracelet, kindergarten drawings, pictures of senior friends blown to

who knows where

Mom and Dad join her, arms and hearts locked together.

The foundation still stands

God is here

Write your story precious child

Tell of terror, survival and grace

God is here

This blog aims to highlight mission and outreach in EDOD parishes