Doug Stringer often teaches there is life beyond the storm. For Vickie and Terry Gaskins, this took on a very real and personal meaning that led them to Denison TX, where they operate Rise To the Time, a Somebody Cares Mobile Outreach Center.
Vickie had come on board the Somebody Cares team in Houston as outreach coordinator shortly after Hurricane Ike ravaged Galveston TX and surrounding communities in 2008. With a background in the construction industry, Vickie was able to connect with church and community leaders to strategize and implement rebuilding plans.
Terry, meanwhile, was a retiree living in the Denver area who felt led to come and help. He ended up in Hitchcock TX at a campsite operated by Gulf Coast Foursquare Church, a member of the Somebody Cares Houston network that was partnering with SCA in relief and rebuilding.
As they served together, their connection and affection grew, and the two were married in August 2009 by Doug. Vickie continued her work with SCA, and Terry volunteered in the areas of outreach and IT assistance.
In 2011, they each began sensing that God was stirring the winds of change. As they prayed, God gave them a two-fold vision: to re-locate to Vickie’s hometown of Denison TX and to develop Rise to the Time. Their vision was to travel to disaster sites, assisting local churches and the community by coordinating relief and recovery efforts on behalf of Somebody Cares. “After assessing needs, we coordinate assistance to meet those needs with resources through the greater Somebody Cares Network,” they explain. Within the first two years, they had served on-site for tornado relief in Kentucky, Kansas, and Oklahoma, as well as a deployment to New York following Super Storm Sandy.
But Terry and Vickie also believed they were to make a local impact, and that dream began to materialize when Vickie’s mother donated property for them to develop into a prayer room, training center, community garden, and offices for the Mobile Outreach. For Vickie, the building carries sweet childhood memories as well as a vision for the future.
“I remember being there often—it was next door to my grandmother’s home and my dad’s business. It was a general store on one side and the owners’ home on the other side,” she remembers. “Mother and Daddy bought it in the 1980s and rented it out through the years. Mother is a widow now and had put it on the market. But I woke up one night and thought, ‘This would make a great prayer room!’ Everything blossomed from there.”
After two years of permits, renovations, and remodeling, the prayer center officially opened last fall and now hosts weekly prayer meetings. The community garden finished its first growing season this fall, opening opportunities to minister to single mothers. “We celebrated by hosting a cookout and potluck dinner,” Vickie says. After dinner, the moms attended a class about composting, where they received hands-on experience mixing left-over “junk” that would eventually transform into healthy soil and grow scrumptious fruits and vegetables.
“Isn’t that just how the Lord works in each of us?” Vickie shared. “We give Him our ‘junk,’ and He transforms us into fruitful and healthy souls that can transform our world.”