Pastoral Letter on Dakota Flooding
Dear Friends in Jesus Christ:
On this second day of summer, we find that the weather that has proved formidable during the spring continues to test the mettle of folks throughout the United States.
No less than half of the nation has been touched by adverse weather -- be it wildfires, flooding or tornados. Cleanup efforts continue in many conferences throughout the United States while others brace for latest wave of severe weather.
Within our conference, Southern Illinois has been hit with flooding and people in the Jacksonville area of the LaMoine River District are under a boil order as they attempt to restore order following a torrential rainfall last weekend.
It is in those times that we are called to be the hands and feet of Christ. But we also provide a ministry of presence through our prayers.
I want to lift up to you several requests for prayer received from Bishop Deb Kiesey of the Dakotas Area. They include:
- The people of Minot, N.D. -- a city of 40,000 with 12,000 evacuated. Torrential rains in the area and continued snow melt in Canada has rivers at an unprecedented level. Nearly 5,000 homes have over 6 feet of water in them. Faith UMC is expected to go under water as well as the towns of Burlington and Velva.
- The Missouri River flooding from the northwest corner of North Dakota through the entire conference and into the southeast corner. Towns seriously affected include Bismarck/Mandan, Pierre/Ft. Pierre, Chamberlain, Yankton, Dakota Dunes and countless farms and land in between.
Water levels are expected to be at flood stage through August and September, with clean-up well into December and beyond.
"The people of the Dakotas are resilient and faithful, but they are growing weary," Kiesey wrote. "Knowing you are praying for them would mean a great deal."
Just as Aaron and Hur held up Moses' arms when they grew tired, will you join me in prayer for those whose arms are growing weary? Would you also pray for God to guide you how you might be a healing presence -- whether it is financially or by going to one of these affected areas and being the healing presence of Christ.
Yours because of Jesus Christ,
Gregory Vaughn Palmer