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Master Guides Mobilize to Rescue 89

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Hurricane Harvey landed with destructive force. The effects of the storm became apparent to the world the last week of August. Unprecedented rain and forceful winds ravaged parts of Southeast Texas. Flood waters inundated roadways and neighborhoods, and left tens of thousands of residents stranded, their homes destroyed. 

When Alberto Moreira, a member of the Central Regional Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church in Houston, received an early morning phone call from a church member who needed help evacuating, he didn’t hesitate to act. Moreira is an active member of his church’s Master Guide club. He contacted fellow Master Guides Isaac Díaz, Ernesto Barriga, and Asael Sanchez, who was in Houston only by chance. Sanchez, a pastor from Veracruz, Mexico, was traveling through the state on his way to Wisconsin. The hurricane altered his travel plans and he joined his friends to help out their church members. 

The four young men quickly made their way to an area in Southwest Houston near the intersection of Bissonnett St. and South Gessner Rd., where their church member and her family lived. They formed a plan to safely evacuate the church member, who was recovering from a recent surgery, and managed to get her and her family to dry land. They then helped two other families nearby who were also church members.

Realizing that there were many others who needed assistance, the group created makeshift rafts with air mattresses and rope and began evacuating the rest of the neighborhood, wading back and forth through the water to dry land. They dragged the rafts distances ranging from 1 to 1.5 miles. One young man helped evacuate a family with a 3-month-old baby by pulling them through two miles of flood waters. 

Throughout the day, the Master Guides were joined by two dozen more Central Regional members, half a dozen Master Guides from the Houston Alief Spanish Adventist Church, and half a dozen members of “Águilas Élite,” a group of Adventist first responders. During the evacuations, a photojournalist captured Moreira (right) wearing a shirt from a Master Guide camporee and his Texas Conference Youth cap. The photo was shared on various news sites. The group continued rescue efforts alongside state officials until they were directed to go home for the night. 

They were back at it the next morning, and by mid-afternoon of the second day, the Master Guides had rescued 89 people. “We were just here to help,” Moreira says. “Praises and honor belong to God, not us.”

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