USA (MNN) — As floods hit hard in Colorado, the destruction patterns look somewhat similar to the havoc created by Hurricane Sandy a year ago when it struck New York and New Jersey.
Eddie Cole, pastor of Salem Church EFC (Evangelical Free Church) of New York, reflected, “I have never seen anything like it. Large boats on the roofs of houses, cars carried several blocks from where they had been parked, homes demolished. Some parts of Staten Island looked like a war zone. But the worst thing I saw were the blank stares and the hopelessness.”
The recent flooding in Colorado left eight dead, nearly 20,000 homes damaged, and hundreds of miles of roads washed out.
When Cole heard about the devastation, he and a team from his church couldn’t help but fly out to Colorado to help. They spent four days with leaders from four churches around Estes Park.
The area specifically averages 1¼ inches of rainfall each month. However, in a matter of four days, it received 18 inches of rain during the more intense period of the flooding.
When Cole and his team arrived in the flooded region, they noticed a familiar look and feel: trees on top of houses, cars tumbled about, and the look on people’s faces reflecting loss and desperation.
Jess Mahon, lead pastor of Rocky Mountain Church (EFC) in Estes Park says, “Having the pastoral leadership come from Salem was a Godsend. Counsel is always clearer and more hearty when others have been where you are."
"Indeed, this is a road the Salem team has walked and is still walking,” says Mark Lewis, director of EFCA ReachGlobal Crisis Response. “Not many churches are engaged in active recovery efforts of their own and are able to share what they’ve been learning through the process. And the team flew 2,000 miles to do so.”
The scope of damage to property and infrastructure in Colorado means long-term recovery efforts will be significant. Local church leaders are already talking about joining ReachGlobal to extend a hand to others.
“How we respond to our crisis is preparation for God to use us in other environments and churches,” says Mahon. “God will use us to encourage others, in the same way Salem did for us.
As both East coast victims of Sandy and Colorado victims of flooding continue to deal with loss, pray that all will find hope in Christ as they work through this devastation. To help, you can visit EFCA’s giving page here.