Thanks to everyone who contributed to yesterday's work—whether through food-preparation, hands-on labor, or through prayer. God answered our prayers for plentiful work. Our guests were busy from 9-5!
We had an incredible day yesterday doing flood clean-up. I thought I'd give you an update on some of what happened:
You recall that Monday afternoon, we had 50 SBC Disaster Relief workers show up from Texas, needing a place to stay. They were sent up to provide 100,000 meals a day. Someone, somewhere in the coordination chain, overestimated the need for meals. They were not needed to feed people. It was an overestimation on man's part, but not on God's. The Lord had a reason for sending them.
They were on the road yesterday morning, headed back to Texas. But, they were going back tired and worn out from a long day of service. They worked from 10 am to about 5 pm Wednesday, assisting in the clean-up of a Family #1's business, Family #2's home and the homes in their neighborhood.
One blessing in this is that neither family was able to do clean-up Thursday because they must continue to work their jobs. Alongside their friends and family members, their church and their Baptist convention, it enabled them to get done what they needed to Wednesday, so that they could be free to work Thursday!
We had several church members show up at both locations to work hard at clean-up. (I won't name them all, for fear of forgetting someone.) You know who you are: THANK YOU!
We also had many ladies assist in providing food for the workers. We not only fed all the workers, but we fed many neighbors who were cleaning out their flooded homes.
The E's business is cleaned out to the stud walls. The carpet is out. The drywall is down. They just need to let it dry out before reconstruction occurs. That is a tremendous amount of work for a day.
Family #1 seem to be doing well, given the stressful situation. Mrs. was in tears as she watched the convoy of Disaster Relief vehicles pull into their parking lot. Mr. is deeply thankful as well; "a changed man" as he described himself. Please pray for Family #1 as they make decisions about how to reconstruct inside the building, etc. I will keep you (the church family) updated as rebuilding occurs. I'm sure there will be opportunities to serve next week (and in weeks to come).
Family #2's home is completely cleared. We were able to get everything out and sorted into appropriate piles for the city to pick up. We were able to get their salvageable possessions taken to the place they are staying now.
Please pray for the Family #2. They were both in good spirits yesterday. Still, it has to be emotionally devastating to watch 95% of your earthly possessions be piled on the curb to be hauled to the landfill. Please pray the Lord will provide for all their needs.
One of the biggest joys yesterday was the ministry that we were able to have to their neighborhood. The crew of Texas Baptists fanned out up and down the block on both sides of the street. They went from house to house with a dolly, hauling out appliances. They assisted in hauling belongings to the curb.
Russ B. went from house to house with a pump. He pumped the water out of at least 7 basements.
Others got to sit and listen to, witness to and pray with devastated home-owners.
Their neighbors were so appreciative. It was encouraging to listen to Mr. & Mrs. tell their neighbors that all these people were from their church. It was a blessing to hear the Texas Baptists explain that they were being hosted by Northbrook Baptist. It was a great witness to the compassion of our Savior.
One of their neighbors said, "I'm an atheist, and I always will be." Please pray for him. Pray that he would notice that it was Northbrook Baptist and Southern Baptists cleaning their neighborhood. Pray he would notice that the Red Cross and Salvation Army came through the neighborhood providing refreshment for the workers. Four Christian organizations were on the ground helping them. I did not notice the "Atheist Disaster Relief" workers.
[Given the rising popularity of atheistic literature, we should not fail to notice that Christian organizations still provide the bulk of compassion efforts in the face of disaster. We should not be surprised. We have a worldview that sees disaster as a result of the fall and knows of redemption from the curse through Jesus Christ. Therefore, we seek to imitate Him. Atheism must hold that disaster is simply the result of living in a chaotic cosmos, through which chaos creates life. What may they imitate?]
The work will continue for weeks and months to come. We must not grow tired of doing good.
Again, please pray that this situation will be used by God to call many to faith in Jesus Christ. If that happens, then the worst thing that ever happened to Cedar Rapids will become the best thing that ever happened to Cedar Rapids.
Thanks for your prayers and concern.
*edited for clarity and to protect identities*