By Sharla Boody, Samaritan’s Purse volunteer
I was working in an area that was severely impacted by the floods as well as a major sewage backup. The combination of the flood and sewage had most houses flooded on the main level up to four feet (1.3 meters), with basements and crawl spaces completely flooded.
We worked on removing damaged contents, which was pretty much everything, from the homes. Next, we were removing walls, insulation, cabinets, and flooring—which we call a “mud out” or “gut out.”
We were fully suited with gloves, masks, Tyvek suits, which are not breathable, and rubber boots in temperatures averaging 27 Celsius and sunny. It was hot!
Most of the individuals we assisted were seniors and the majority had no home insurance (because their homes were deemed by potential insurers to be too close to the river to qualify for coverage). Many people are being left with nothing—now rooming with family, friends, hotels, or at the local curling rink.
We had many opportunities to share the hope we have in God and the main reason we were helping. People were very touched by that, and after a day of watching our team work hard, it often opened opportunities to have conversations about Jesus.
A Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada course I took a few months ago, through Samaritan’s Purse, called “Sharing Hope In Crisis” taught me that 75 per cent of people are already struggling with a major personal or family crisis before a natural disaster hits. Of the people to whom I spoke (in Grand Forks), this did seem to be the case. Most had major health concerns or family tensions.
The community has a long way to go in dealing with all of the loss, suffering, and pain they are experiencing. The church there is shining brightly as they relentlessly serve their community. They were very appreciative of our help in that.
On my return journey to Calgary, it struck me that we work so hard for the material things we have, yet all of it could be gone in the twinkle of an eye. The only things from earth we will see in heaven is other people. A pressing urgency remains to follow The Great Commission with even more zeal and passion to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Lord and teaching them to obey all God has commanded—a life of true freedom as we serve the King of Kings.
My prayer for Grand Forks is that people there may find their freedom, hope, comfort, and security in Jesus.
This text from Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV) summarizes my thoughts on the week: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Help Samaritan's Purse respond quickly to victims of disasters within Canada, providing not only physical assistance as people clean up and rebuild after floods, fires, and other disasters, but also emotional and spiritual support in the aftermath of tragedy.