Pastoral Letter on Dakota Flooding
Dear Friends in Jesus Christ:
I want to thank you for your continued prayers for the people of the Dakotas Area. Here's the latest communique from Bishop Deborah Kiesey:
First of all, thank you for the prayers and gifts. They are deeply appreciated.
I thought you might like to have an update on the flooding in the Dakotas.
The Good News is - Souris River is back in its banks and the Missouri is expected to be within its banks by August. 24, so we've been able to see more of the damage in the last several weeks.
The bad news is - so far the number of homes impacted:
Minot - 3500
Bismarck - 1000
Pierre - 800
Dakota Dunes - 1000
Spirit Lake Nation - unknown, but they have received a FEMA Individual Assistance designation, so that indicates a fairly sizeable number
1. Clean up Teams. We need as many hands as possible to work in Minot. This is especially important since winter comes early there and much needs to be done within the next 6 - 8 weeks. We're doing all we can through the Dakotas Conference, but our UMs in Minot are asking, "Where are the United Methodists?"
2. Stephen Ministers This request came from FEMA for FEMA staff in Minot. They are overworked and overwhelmed. The Dakotas have some Stephen Ministers available, but not that many. Housing will be cared for by FEMA and these persons need to be those gifted in support and caring skills. More info on our website.
3. School backpack kits. Six schools have been affected in Minot. These backpack kits will help children who have lost everything. Lists of what's needed is on our website.
4. Quilts. Faith UMC in Minot is giving quilts to survivors. It's a small item, but helpful and meaningful.
5. Kids Comfort Kits. Simple kits for children ages 1 - 7 who would not be receiving a school kit. This program was developed by a High School Junior in Sioux Falls as a way to reach out to the youngest victims. Again, more info on the website.
We have some incredible volunteers and Disaster Coordinators who have been doing major work. We're doing all we can, but we aren't even to the point where we can muck out in Bismarck, Pierre and Dakota Dunes, so we know there is more to come.
Friends, please share this information wherever you think appropriate. If you want more information, please call the conference center - 605-996-6552.
We would gladly welcome any help - and as always, appreciate your thoughts and prayers.
Peace to you.
Bishop Deborah L. Kiesey
United Methodist Church, Dakotas Area
God continues to be faithful to us even in the midst of adversity. May God continue to use us to be a blessing to our sisters and brothers because we pray, labor and demonstrate God's love to the world.
Yours because of Jesus Christ,
Gregory Vaughn Palmer