by Kim Plummer Krull
Historic flooding in Minot, N.D., has forced evacuations for scores of LCMS families from their homes and some 70 residents from the Minot campus of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch — a Synod Recognized Service Organization.
At the end of Sunday worship for Our Savior Lutheran Church in Minot, Rev. Paul Krueger asked for volunteers to help a family relocate as floodwaters threatened yet another area home.
His request drew an ample supply of helping hands. “This is a very self-reliant congregation where no one is saying, ‘Woe is me. Why did God do this?'” said LCMS World Relief and Human Care’s (WR-HC) Rev. Carlos Hernandez, who served as guest preacher at June 26 services.
Worshippers included some of the more than 50 Our Savior Lutheran member families forced to evacuate and visitors unable to reach their own churches because of flooding by the Souris River. The river peaked over the weekend at four feet over its record 1881 level, according to news reports.
“These are people who know they are going to be OK and are more concerned about helping others,” Hernandez said of the Our Savior Lutheran congregation that, with financial support from WR-HC and the LCMS North Dakota District, is coordinating an emergency meal program to help displaced families in an area with some 4,000 flooded homes. (Visit the Our Savior Lutheran Church website at www.OSLCnow.com.)
Over the weekend, Hernandez and WR-HC’s Rev. Darrell Howanitz, who is contracted to assist Director of Disaster Response Rev. Glenn F. Merritt, met with some of those families, including Brad and Heather Magnus, members of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Bismarck, whose two children attend Martin Luther School, also in Bismarck. Although Rev. Matthew Thompson, Holy Cross pastor, and fellow members helped the couple build a dike to try and protect their home located on the river, surging waters washed the house from its foundation.
See the video of Hernandez’s interview with Brad Magnus and flood damage on the WR-HC YouTube channel, MercyTube.
“Water is everywhere,” said Hernandez, who is working with pastors and LCMS North Dakota District leaders to assess damages and provide emergency financial support. “Instead of North Dakota, [the state] looks like Minnesota, [which is known as] the land of 1,000 lakes.”
“Everywhere I turned [on Sunday], because I was wearing a [clerical] collar, people asked me to pray with them,” Hernandez added. “They want prayer, and they want to tell their stories.”
Hernandez and Howanitz also learned of other LCMS-related flood damage and needs, including at:
- Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, which has evacuated some 70 young people from the Recognized Service Organization’s Minot campus to the Fargo and Bismarck campuses. Many ranch employees live in the Minot area and are struggling with emergency needs, Hernandez said. (Learn more at www.dakotaranch.org.)
- St. Mark Lutheran Church, Minot, where the church’s youth center is flooded.
- St. Paul Lutheran Church, Minot, where several member families have evacuated and are staying in RVs with Rev. Arie Bertsch, St. Paul’s pastor.
On Sunday, Howanitz preached at three other area LCMS congregations also impacted by the floods: Peace, Garrison; St. Matthew, Max; and St. John, Kongsberg.
In addition to an initial $5,000 grant from WR-HC to Our Savior Lutheran Church, Hernandez said follow-up grants are in the works to assist congregations and the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch with long-term recovery needs.
To make a gift to help WR-HC assist families suffering from historic floods:
- Mail checks (noting “Spring Floods 2011” in the memo line) to LCMS World Relief and Human Care, P.O. Box 66861, St. Louis, MO 63166-6861.
- Call toll-free 888-930-4438.
- Donate online (click here).
Kim Plummer Krull is a freelance writer and member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Des Peres, Mo.
This story was produced by LCMS World Relief and Human Care.
Posted June 24, 2011/Updated June 28, 2011