Dear sisters and brothers,
The Lenten season is a time in which we feel particular solidarity with those in suffering and sorrow. This Lent, we have accompanied in prayer and service the many persons affected by disaster overseas. Unfortunately, the possibility of disaster is always present here at home too.
Flood advisories or warnings have been posted in more than a dozen U.S. states. The National Weather Service predicts a greater than 90% chance of major flooding along the Red River of the North, likely to affect the Fargo/Moorhead area and other parts of North Dakota and Minnesota. Several river gauges in Iowa are already recording moderate flood stage and rising. And states in the Mid-Atlantic region could face flooding as early as this weekend as the many feet of snow continue melting.
The blessing of these early forecasts is that it provides extra time to get ready. I encourage individuals and families living in flood-prone areas to review their disaster plans. Helpful information about how to get ready can be found at www.ldr.org/ready.
If you could be flooded and don't already have flood insurance, find information about the National Flood Insurance Program at www.floodsmart.gov. (Please note -- new flood insurance policies include a 30-day waiting period for coverage to begin so don't delay.)
Congregations can also take important steps to prepare for flooding and mitigate potential losses. LDR provides a guide for congregations to do these preparations that can be downloaded at www.ldr.org/prepare/prepdisaster.pdf.
Even as we prepare, we remember communities that continue to rebuild from previous flooding. If you or members of your congregation are interested in volunteering with LDR, consider the upcoming Church World Service rebuild project in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. More volunteers are needed for nearly every of the six weeks. For more information, visit www.ldr.org/volunteer/states/ia_vols.html.
As we reflect, repent, and prepare ourselves for the coming joy of Easter, let us also take time to prepare ourselves for disaster. And let us love and serve our neighbors by helping them prepare also.
Rev. Kevin A. Massey, BCC
Lutheran Disaster Response