(Columbia, SC – 1000 year flood Devastation)
As the rain came down in Columbia, SC on Saturday, Oct. 3, people were
gearing up for an historical rain. A rain that no one could have truly prepared for.
Sunday morning as the rain pounded, we turned on the news and so it began …..
The rain continued for days.
How did it affect us? Several families from our Sunday school class lost their
homes completely. They have been displaced and are finding ways to rebuild
“normal” for them. Although devastating for everyone, they range from families
who have financial resources to slowly rebuild to families who have nothing to even
start with. The stories of their survival are amazing and truly a testimony of God’s
protection over them through the storm. The stories of how, in order to SAVE their
lives, they had to RISK their lives in the wee hours of the morning and the dark waters.
In particular, our friends, a family with five children ages 9 to 15 had to swim
through deep waters and strong currents at 5:30 am when they stood in their foyer
and realized there were no other options. Eventually, two lawn chairs floated right
up to them and they were able to put the smaller children on one and the older two
held on to the other. As they continued to swim, the current tipped the chairs and
the children had to swim the remaining way until they could reach stable ground
and walk out . Praise God for his provision of the chairs and His protection for their
family and many others with similar stories . Nineteen lives were lost due to the
Besides complete and partial devastation of homes and personal losses, the
flood affected our city in many other ways …. Thousands evacuated from homes and
at risk of continued flooding, over 350,000 city water customers were either without
water or were on a water boil advisory as the sewage water had contaminated the
city water. This included restaurants and hospitals for up to three weeks following
the initial rain. The National Guard blocked off several city roads to put large water
vessels out to provide portable water for the hospitals. Over 500 roads and bridges
were destroyed or flooded at one time. This meant traffic was diverted in every
direction . Schools were either closed or delayed for three weeks and businesses
were either lost or closed, because of the water situation or just not being able to
get to it for weeks, causing thousands of people to lose wages.
Within a week Samaritan’s Purse had sent a relief unit to be based out of my home
church, Shandon Baptist Church. The church is located about half a mile away from the worst devastation . They filled the church and took over the relief portion by training others to tear down homes and share
Jesus with those who lost everything. There are approximately 140 Samaritan’s Purse volunteers staying at the church from 3 days to 4 weeks. They have come from all over the country and stay on cots in the Sunday school class rooms. While they get donations directly to help with tools, work supplies, and food, the church provides 3 meals a day to the volunteers. When the work is complete, everyone who works on a home signs a Bible and Samaritan’s Purse leaves it with the family. Already, 8 people have come to know the Lord through their efforts.
As things are gradually beginning to feel normal again for Columbia, the rebuilding will go on for a long time. FEMA is providing each family with $20,000 to rebuild, but this is not enough for some. In Shandon Baptist church, there are approximately 40 families that have lost everything. Some with much greater needs than others. They have to make decisions on what necessities they need the most ….
However, the faith in these people is strong and they trust God to provide them with
all of their needs.
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his
riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, XJV).
Article written by Patty (Thompson) Langland.
Please prayerfully consider if you want to help with November’s Mission to aid
victims of this flood disaster. You may designate your giving by writing “S.C. Flood”
on your church envelopes. Please pray for the staff, volunteers and the chaplains as
they all minister in Jesus’ Name to the victims of the flooding.