This was posted by my friend and colleague in Nebraska, Bishop Brian Maas. Please pray for the people of Nebraska and throughout the Midwest who are dealing with record floods. Donations to Lutheran Disaster Response are always appreciated.
Nebraska Floods & Disaster Response
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. 2When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. 3For I am the Lordyour God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. –Isaiah 43:1-3
Dear Friends in Christ: The past week has seen record-breaking levels of devastation across the state, and even now many communities and hundreds of individuals still don’t know what damage awaits them when flood waters drop and snow drifts are cleared away.
In compassion and generosity, congregations and individuals have begun to reach out to ask, “How can I help?” On behalf of the Nebraska Synod and our ELCA Lutheran Disaster Response partners and others, I’m writing to respond to that question.
It will take several days to know the extent of the damage, and to determine how most effectively to respond to the needs of those who’ve been impacted. Until then, there are three things that each of us can do:
Pray for God’s presence, protection and healing power for victims, first responders, caregivers and relief workers; for fair weather and favorable circumstances for recovery; for patience and endurance in the aftermath; and for sustained awareness and commitment to long-term recovery. Contribute to the Nebraska Synod Disaster Fund or Lutheran Disaster Response or a similar relief effort. Monetary Contributions are the most flexible resource to meet immediate and long-term needs, and 100% of your contribution goes to aid those in need. Plan now to set aside time in a month or later to volunteer for the continuing recovery effort that will stretch for months and in some cases, years.
The Nebraska Synod continues to stay in touch with congregations in affected communities around the state and will provide updates via e-news and social media. As relief efforts are coordinated, needs assessed and opportunities for specific assistance become clear, the Synod will make them known and work to coordinate resources and needs.
To date, we are aware of only one congregation experiencing severe damage: Our Savior’s in Dannebrog has had its building condemned. Other congregations and leaders have reported water in church and parsonage basements, but no major damage. Of course hundreds of individual members of synod congregations have experienced damage ranging from minor to near-total loss. We will continue to provide updates.
For the time being, please help us help victims by choosing to Pray, Contribute and Plan in the near term, and by staying tuned to respond to needs as they become clear. Though our human impulse is to “do something now,” effective and truly helpful disaster response is patiently geared to the identified needs of victims. Once this recovery begins, it will truly be a long-haul effort. Use this link to see what response actions and efforts are underway.
With deep gratitude for your concern for those affected, and with prayers for all whose lives have been disrupted by these disasters,
Brian Maas Bishop Nebraska Synod ELCA