As floods hit hard in Colorado, the destruction patterns look somewhat similar to the havoc that hurricane Sandy created when it struck New York and New Jersey.
Eddie Cole, pastor of Salem Church EFC (Evangelical Free Church) of New York, said, “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.”
Being almost a year ago when Sandy hit the eastern sea boarder, the recent flooding in Colorado left eight killed, 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 other churches around Estes Park.
The area specifically averages 1 ¼ inches of rainfall each month. In a matter of four days though received 18 inches of rain during the more intense period of the flooding.
The Salem team found that when they arrived it looked and felt familiar. 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 that 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 tremendous. 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 environment 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 are caught up in devastation, pray all will find hope in Christ as they work through this devastation. To help, you can visit EFCA’s giving page here.