USA (MNN) — Louisiana is now facing what may be "historic levels" of water. Residents near the Mississippi River are bracing themselves for flooding.
The Baptist Press reports that Southern Baptist volunteers have been assisting the elderly and infirm in Vidalia, Louisiana, by transporting their valuables across the river to Natchez, Mississippi in preparation for what may be to come.
Community leaders are reportedly confident that levees will hold, despite the high waters. "I see no problems with our levee system functioning as it's supposed to," Reynold Minsky, president of the Fifth District Levee Board and a deacon at First Baptist Church in Lake Providence, Louisiana, told Baptist Press. "We're going to have a three-foot clearance," Minsky said, referring to floodwater levels at the district's 257 miles of levees that haven't been seen since the 1930's.
Leaders admit that the levee in Vidalia has never been tested beyond 58 feet, and at the 50-foot mark, the Army Corps of Engineers cannot be certain it will hold. They are confident it will, however.
Minsky and others agree that the rumors surrounding the potential for devastation are possibly worse for the community than the actual flooding will be. Churches leaders are thus encouraging people not to panic. They are also telling people to be prepared nonetheless.
The possibility of disaster, though impending, has actually served as an opportunity for community. "This [possibility of flooding] has unified a community that needed to be unified," Bill McCullin, pastor of First Baptist Church of Vidalia, told Baptist Press. "People are thinking about each other. Even though we're at the early stages of this, we can still see God at work."
Once flooding hits, it will take four to six weeks for the water to go down, McCullin says. A long road may lie ahead. But as communities bind together, this could be an opportunity for the love of Christ to go out in unprecedented ways. Pray that believers in this region so ripe with potential for disaster would take courage in the Lord and would reach out to their neighbors as the hands and feet of Christ.
Pray that those who are already receiving help from Southern Baptists would see Christ's love shining through their aid, and come to Him.