"...I was sitting in my house folding clothes. And all of the sudden, we heard a gush of rain start."
It was just like any other day of the week. A long work day, chores to finish up after dinner. Nothing out of the ordinary.
And then - RAIN. Hours and hours of rain.
"As we were leaving, the water was already to our shins, so we knew it was going to be pretty bad."
"Pretty bad" was an understatement. At the end of the week-long rainstorm in October, the totals eclipsed a 1 in 9,000 year event for South Carolina, leaving a vast path of damaged infrastructure, destroyed homes, and devastated lives -- including Darlene and her sons.
In just one night, the rains had flooded Darlene's house with over 3 feet of water. According to Ready.gov, "Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and 2 feet of water can sweep your vehicle away."
Belongings, pictures, sentimental mementos -- all washed away. Unfortunately, Darlene's story is but one of many each year in the United States. In 2014 alone, flash-flooding caused 38 deaths and over $2.86 billion of property damage (NWS).
Thanks to the hard work of our volunteers, and an ongoing partnership with CrossRoads Missions, IDES was blessed with the opportunity to help Darlene and 19 other families in the Carolina's immediately following the disaster through our Shed-Building Program.
On an average of 2-3 weekends per month, teams of volunteers travel to our Noblesville Headquarters to assist in building the components for storage sheds, which are shipped in loads of 10 to communities that have been struck by disaster. As an outreach to those who are hurting, each volunteer team writes encouraging words and Scripture verses on the inner framework of each shed before shipment.
The purpose of the sheds is to provide a means to keep whatever belongings that are salvageable safe from further weather damage or looting, as well as to provide an emblem of hope through the local churches in the area as the rebuilding/clean-up process begins. For this particular shipment, IDES' Asst. Disaster Response Coordinator, Kit Gentis, was deployed to assist the local churches in putting the built shed components together on each designated family's property. Also deployed was IDES' Crisis Care Counselor/Volunteer Coordinator, Misty Bodkins, who was available to provide emotional and spiritual care to victims.
"It was a blessing that [IDES] came and built the shed. In fact, when they came, they showed me the framework where--I believe it was students--that put it together. And [the framework] had messages of...'We love you' and 'We're praying for you.' So for me to see that somebody thought enough to say, 'Hey--I'm not sure who you are and what your name is, but I know your family has gone through something and we just want you to know that we care, and we are praying for your family.' ...Looking at that shed says hey, we're starting over, it's beginning, there's something there that we can say is ours right now," Darlene said.
We praise God for the way He includes us in His plans to help those who are hurting. Thank you to each and every one of the volunteers who have played a role in our Shed-Building Program. And thank you to the many donors who have generously given to the IDES US Disaster Response fund.
Special thanks to CrossRoads' own Storytellers for their skilled video-production, and their willingness to capture and share what God is doing in our midst.
-National Weather Service (NWS). "2014 Flash Flood / River Flood Fatalities."National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (n.d.): n. pag. 10 June 2015. Web. 18 Dec. 2015. <http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/hazstats/flood14.pdf>.
-National Weather Service (NWS). "United States Flood Loss Report – Water Year 2014." National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 18 Dec. 2015. <http://www.nws.noaa.gov/hic/summaries/WY2014.pdf>.
-"Floods - Basic Safety Tips." Floods. US Department of Homeland Security, n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2015. <http://www.ready.gov/floods>.