In case you are wondering how Adventists responded to the floods a week ago in the Pendleton and Walla Walla area here is a report put together with bullet points from Patty Marsh and information from pastor Dan Solis. Disasters like this take time to resolve and there is also a way you can help this coming Sabbath.
Many of the photos at the bottom of this article are from the kitchen used to feed the Red Cross shelter guests in Walla Walla. Dan Solis says, "We fed the volunteers and guests from Saturday until, Wednesday." Following that he and Mike Lambert and Gary Gibson continued to assist with spiritual care along with other helpers.
When the floods hit several counties in southern Washington and North-central Oregon during the weekend of February 8, the areas especially hard hit were in Pendleton, Walla Walla and outlying parts of Umatilla County. Here is a sampling of what Adventist Community Services (ACS) and volunteers have been doing to assist.
A special thank you to Doug Venn, ACS DR Coordinator of the UCC Southern District who has worked tirelessly as well as Phil and Linda Ruud from Pendleton.
David Lopez, WWU Center for Humanitarian Engagement; Linda & Phil Ruud; Doug Venn; Norman Thiel, SonBridge; Dan Solis; Larry Mays, NPUC Disaster Response Coordinator; Byron Dulan, ACS, NPUC; and Patty Marsh, UCC ACS Director -- have spent hours this past week joining a daily phone call with Red Cross, state of Oregon, VOAD members and other organizations trying to pinpoint how best ACS and volunteers can bring the greatest support to these individuals and communities. In disasters circumstances change by the hour – communication and flexibility between organizations are key.
And our Pathfinders . . . deserve a final big thank you, as last spring many Pathfinders under the direction of UCC Pathfinder Coordinator, Richie Brower, filled 150+ flood buckets. At that time, almost a third of the buckets were delivered to three different Native American communities in Eastern Washington that experienced flooding. And then the flood buckets were stored. Because floods give little warning, what a blessing that those buckets that sat almost year, were ready to load up.
Early Wednesday morning a call came from the Senior Red Cross Manager to Patty Marsh, "Do you by chance have flood buckets? We are in great need here for evacuees at the Walla Walla Fairgrounds?"
With excitement, Patty was able to tell the Manager that the flood buckets were a little over an hour out. Through the combined efforts of many, these buckets were one more way Adventists can share with a hurting world, "We care . . ."
Ways to Help
Here is a way members can assist. There will be a special offering next Sabbath on February 22. A special offering will be taken at the close of the church services in UCC churches for Adventist Community Services Disaster Response. Thank you for your generosity that makes such a response possible.
For those who would like to volunteer, here is a link to use to indicate your desire to volunteer.
According to David Lopez, executive director for the Center for Humanitarian Engagement at Walla Walla University, there have been some incredible stories of God's blessing. Here is one such story. He keeps a volunteer page updated here: https://www.wallawalla.edu/campus-life/center-for-humanitarian-engagement/volunteer/
A lady from Mill Creek area shared her personal story with me today of how she was sure she was not going to survive. Her husband was in CO, and she was loading anything she could get into her truck. She barely made it across the bridge before it was swept away. When she returned to her home mud was 12-24 inches all around her house and when she finally was able to open her front door, she was shocked. Only a small pool of water from her front door (where she had three hearts that said Blessed) went back to her back door where she had a rug with the words BLESSED was all the water in her house. Everything else was mud and water-free. She couldn't believe it and our group was able to remind her of God's promises and offer a prayer of thanksgiving and continued blessing over her.
Here is a link to some photos from WWU, shared by David Lopez: