Follow-Up Pastoral Letter on Dakota Flooding
Dear Friends in Jesus Christ:
In a follow-up to my June 24 pastoral letter, I wanted to share the following communication I have received from Bishop Deborah Kiesey in the Dakotas Area:
Thank you for the prayers you have offered on behalf of the Dakotas and, in particular, Minot. I spent last weekend there and preached on Sunday. It was a sobering and emotional time. This disaster is now considered a Level Four - Catastrophic Disaster.
Some of you wanted to know when we were ready to receive "muck out" teams. There are now enough homes out of the water that we can begin to receive teams.
The situation in Minot:
- The water is slowly receding, so some have been able to get back into their homes to clean up.
- There are 806 homes that are uninhabitable and will probably be destroyed, with another 2000 that may be added once the river is back in its banks.
- There are six schools that have been affected - we are asking for 1500 school kits (some to be used in Pierre) and UMCOR is sending some.
- Minot is still under a boil water restriction.
- There has developed a "tent city" at the Arena - along with a number of RVs - for those who have no place to go. Housing will be a major issue in 8 - 10 weeks when the weather begins to change.
Faith United Methodist Church:
- This is a mission-oriented, blue-collar congregation with many of its members now having lost their homes and some, all their possessions.
- We cannot get within a block of the church and the water has gone down about three feet. We hope to get into the building by the end of July to assess the damage and to begin to pump out the basement.
- Unfortunately, they have no flood insurance and still owed an amount on a new entrance.
- They are worshiping at present with Vincent UMC and have borrowed a trailer so they can continue their food ministry to the community.
If you have teams that are willing to come to Minot, please call the conference office at 605-996-6552 and Barb will take the information and will contact our North Dakota Disaster Coordinator, Lee Gale.
I did a tour of all our flooded areas last week ... Dakota Dunes ... Yankton ... Pierre/Ft. Pierre ... Bismarck/Mandan ... and prayers are still needed as the Missouri is flooding. But the good news is: the levees are holding and the people are strong.
Again, thank you for all your prayers.
Yours because of Jesus Christ,
Gregory Vaughn Palmer