Local churches in Iowa, mostly hard hit by the derecho storm, partnered with some of the faith-based organizations to repair and bring relief from the devastating inland hurricane.
On August 10, violent winds crossed over Iowa leaving the state in a dire condition. The storm packing up to 112 mph winds took down trees and power lines, leveled corn crops, and damaged grain bins and properties. Residents went days without power thus spoiling whatever food was left in their fridge.
Local churches and faith-based organizations
Rev. Andy Wright, pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Iowa, recalled his experience. “The tornado sirens went off, so we went down into the basement of the parsonage. You could hear the wind and things just breaking, all around you, for about 20 to 30 minutes straight. At first we thought a tornado was hitting. But it was not until the storm was starting to dissipate that I looked outside, and saw trees down all around our street, and then I looked back at the church, and my mouth just dropped open.” Half of their church was gone.
Pam Schulz, executive director of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, says that it’s going to be a long recovery. “When we had the flood here in 2008, most people who went to serve could come home to a house with air conditioning and what looked normal. Well, you can’t even drive down the street without seeing damage now anywhere in the entire community.”
Local churches immediately partnered with faith-based organizations for aid and support. Schulz said, “I feel really blessed that we have the ability to talk to one another and work together in this.”
She added, “Many of the volunteers working to repair damage, remove debris and distribute aid are community members who themselves have been impacted by the storm. They tell [me] others have it worse than them and that they’re happy to help.”
God, shelter in the storm
Meanwhile, Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian disaster relief organization led by Franklin Graham, has rallied with other churches and sent out a team for distribution of relief goods. In consideration of the ongoing pandemic, Keeth Willingham, Samaritan’s Purse program manager, said they are taking the needed precautions. He said volunteers must test negative and should observe social distancing with masks always on.
“We’re doing everything we can to ensure we’re not being a part of any of the problems associated with COVID,” he said.
Rev. Sherrie Ilg, of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, encourages everyone throughout these challenges. “God continues to be our shelter after this storm,” she said. “We’ve made it through that storm. Now God continues to be a center and a place of grounding ourselves.”
Reference: Christian Headlines