Canadian Community Response - 080653 Newsroom

Samaritan’s Purse helps with flood cleanup

Pauline Levert

Samaritan’s Purse has jumped into gear, offering help to those affected by this year’s flooding in Ontario and Quebec. They partnered with the Metropolitan Bible Church (the MET) to help local residents with the onerous cleanup.

“Their Disaster Relief Unit, which is set up at the church, is equipped with its own office, tools, equipment, and safety gear,” says Anne McGregor, the MET’s director of city outreach.

The MET is providing meals and space for volunteers to sleep while they clean properties and remove the water-contaminated material—everything from furniture to drywall, ceilings and flooring. After clearing the debris, the teams spray the houses with a mold inhibitor.

“This base of operations is looking after Gatineau and Constance Bay. We assess what needs to be done and tell the homeowners,” says Steve Elliott, Regional Coordinator of Disaster Response for Samaritan’s Purse. “We want to establish ‘lighthouse churches’ like [the MET]. We’d like to identify churches that have the capacity to partner with us in case of disaster.”

“If we want to touch our city, we need to love and serve our city.”

Floods are always stressful situations. To make things worse, many home owners did not realize they lacked insurance coverage.

“I tell volunteers to be sensitive, caring, and compassionate,” says Stephen Joudry, Regional Coordinator in Eastern Canada for Samaritan’s Purse. “If someone wants to talk, we listen. They’re on a journey and we walk beside them. When we’re done working, we pray with the homeowner and give them a Bible.”

Gatineau pastor Bruno Savard, from Église évangélique Source de Vie, helped clear out basements with the Samaritan’s Purse effort. He says engaging the community’s practical needs is essential to mission work.

“If we want to touch our city, we need to love and serve our city.”

Gatineau homeowner Michel Pilon says the help Samaritan’s Purse is offering means a lot.

“I appreciate the help these people gave us. We’ve lived here 59 years. My brother, Bernard, slept downstairs. He lost his bedroom and the kitchen. I hurt my leg while removing debris from the basement.”

Other local churches have also launched independent relief projects. Église le Chemin brought together a group of Evangelical Gatineau churches to clean up Hurtubise Street—which was badly flooded.

“After the flooding, it was on my heart to form a team to help on Hurtubise Street,” says le Chemin pastor Jean-Pierre Leroux. “I invited other pastors to join me. The response was so great that we decided to help other neighbourhoods. As a result, Regroupement Évangélique au Secours de l’Outaouais [The Evangelical Gathering to Help Outaouais] was formed to bring help to those in need.”

Leroux says it is not enough to pray; the Church needs to step out of its comfort zone to help hurting people. He says the relief efforts are the result of churches putting in action James 2:15-16: “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?”

But Leroux is encouraged to see Christians working together, motivated by the love of God, to bring hope in this crisis.

“We need to seize every opportunity to go from evangelizing to ‘evangelaction.’”

Canadian Community Response - 080653 Newsroom

Help Samaritan’s Purse strengthen the impact of local churches in communities recovering in the aftermath of disasters. As caring Christians are trained and empowered to walk alongside individuals and families to find solutions to complex needs, God opens doors to share the Gospel.