Many remember the saying, “When it rains, it pours”. Some have developed a new saying that explains our last week’s experience. That saying, shared by some of my neighbors and friends says, “When it rains, it floods”. Although residents who live in this part of Nebraska and nearby Iowa understand what happens when hard rains occur, the flooding always leaves us apprehensive about what could happen. In some cases, in this general area, it has happened. Some people have been evacuated from their homes, others have dealt with water in the lower levels of their homes, and still others have experienced damage to lands and livestock. After a hard winter, more snow than we would like to have seen, and below freezing temperatures, the storms brought floods and damage.
Recently, PMRV has re-established the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Committee. This team is comprised of members of congregations throughout the presbytery. This fine group of people has been meeting regularly, planning for disasters such as those we have experienced, and will be working hard to help relieve as many people as possible as families begin to salvage what they can. Resource people deployed from the General Assembly PDA in Louisville and throughout the nation are specially trained to help presbyteries in times like these. Later this week, along with a small group from PMRV, I will be meeting with a PDA team who will work to provide as much assistance as possible for those who are in need.
You may have seen a recent email that was sent to pastors, congregations, and clerks of session explaining the purpose and work of the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. This ministry has been at work in ways many of us do not even know. I have been fortunate to have worked with PDA in other presbyteries where I have served, and the staff is proactive, thoughtful, efficient, and deeply caring.
That commitment continues to this day and beyond. Following up to the email, I have called, emailed, texted, and communicated with pastors, churches, and if you have not received a follow up communication from me just yet, you will.
If your church has damage from the rain and flooding, please contact the Presbytery Office at 402-553-8300. It is important to let us know. If pastors have damage to your homes, the manse, or if members or residents in your communities have flood damage, please let the PMRV Office know. We will do all we can to assist you as you seek recovery.
One of the resources that PDA provides is a grant for presbyteries to help immediately and in cases where additional need exists, additional grant funds will be made available. I have applied for and utilized these grants in past presbyteries where I have served, and the funds assist churches, families, and communities in recovery. That process is one of many ways that our connectional relationship with the Synod of Lakes and Prairies and the General Assembly of the PCUSA is at work for the good of all.
So undoubtedly, we will ask, “What will tomorrow bring?” That is a human question following rains, floods, below zero temperatures, and piles of snow. In this list of natural disasters, might I add the huge potholes that can take us by surprise as we drive from one location to another. Our frustration with the weather and some of the adversity it brings, often results in asking that question, “what will tomorrow bring”? Let us be relieved to some extent by knowing that tomorrow will bring partners from the General Assembly, partners from other areas in our community, and caring people who want to help so that all of us can live more comfortably.
Remain in prayer with and for each other. Help a neighbor or a community member, or a sister congregation if you are able and there is damage to their homes or businesses. We are all in this experience and in this life together.
God bless us all.
Rev. Mary Newbern-Williams