Local Team Floods Cedar Rapids with Help


“The damage is overwhelming; people lost everything in hours” said Dan Sorenson after his recent trip to help flood victims in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In late June, a team of seven from Freshwater Community Church in St. Bonifacius, Minnesota, departed with two pickup loads of emergency relief supplies and willing hearts to help families devastated by the flood waters. After coordinating with Allen Biere, pastor of Cedar Rapids Alliance Church and a volunteer with Serve The City (a faith-based cooperative of churches and parachurch ministries in Cedar Rapids), the Freshwater team loaded up two camper trailers with supplies and drove six hours to the heart of the flood zone to provide a helping hand to anyone in need of assistance.

work teamUpon arrival, the team was dispatched immediately to a couple’s home where the basement was layered in mud, raw sewage and victims’ personal belongings. After putting on protective rubber gloves, boots and long-sleeve shirts, the team formed a fireman’s chain from the basement to the curb where everything was piled for the dump truck to haul away. Couches, books, stuffed animals, pictures and just about everything else had to go. “The mud and water were everywhere and smelled so bad I even gagged with my mask on” said Sorenson.

The team worked in five different homes in two days. Retiree Dawn Langham was the final resident to receive help from the Freshwater team. She lives on a fixed income, doesn’t have flood insurance and has only one family member living within driving distance, who could not take time off from work to assist. Langham called the Serve The City hotline, and an hour later the Freshwater team was sent to her doorstep. “I needed help because I live alone, and all my friends are old like me,” Langham stated. “I was absolutely astounded that they came so fast to help.” The Freshwater team finished cleaning out Langham’s basement, which was full of heavy appliances, and her detached garage in just several hours. “They did more in one day than I could have done in 10. I couldn’t be more appreciative,” Langham relayed, overcome with emotion.

Two Alliance teenagers participated in the group, Collin Bryan (13) and Isaac Hanson (14). Both found the opportunity to help flood victims filthy but fulfilling. Despite their young age, the teenagers were a vital part of the group. Team member Jeff Bryan said, “It feels really good to help other people in their time of need.”

Pastor Biere said, “I was surprised that people cared enough to actually help. Other groups called and offered prayer, but there are times when the situation calls for action.” The Freshwater team was more than happy to step in.

Biere stated that more workers are needed in the cleanup effort. Potential volunteers are being directed to the Serve The City Web site (www.servethecity.org) or to the Red Cross (www.redcross.org) if they would like to help.
Freshwater Community Church of The Christian and Missionary Alliance is part of the Northwestern District. Freshwater (www.freshwaterchurch.org) is committed to planting Great Commission churches and sharing the life-changing love of Jesus Christ in a real, relevant and relational manner.

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