For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)
On October 4-5, 2015, the Columbia, SC, area incurred a state all-time high rainfall of over 16 inches in a 24-hour period. The ensuing devastation resulted in over 100,000 homes being damaged or destroyed. As part of the multi-agency recovery process the Brethren Disaster Ministries (BDM) of the Church of the Brethren immediately initiated a project site in Columbia. In 2016, 103 BDM volunteers contributed an estimated 5680 hours rebuilding homes of flood victims. (BDM also participated with 11 other organizations in a separate Disaster Response Support Initiative in the Columbia area.)The BDM activity in SC is planned to continue through the summer of 2017.
During the week of January 22-28, 2017, 9 individuals from the Stanley, Rockford, and York Center congregations of the IL/WI District of the Church of the Brethren provided volunteer support at the Columbia site. The IL/WI team was joined by a team from Mid PA District CoB.
IL/WI volunteer efforts during the week involved replacing roofs at 2 houses and at a third house doing inside renovations, such as replacing flooring, painting and wall reconstruction. An additional key volunteer task was preparing 3 square meals for the volunteers.
All indications are that each of the volunteers found the week to be rewarding. And along with the positive feeling of donating physical labor serving those that have suffered misfortunes, a comparable benefit was working together toward a common goal doing good works in Christ’s name in spite of any differences in theological perspectives.
The IL/WI District is scheduled to provide a volunteer team the additional week of November 12-18, 2017. The site has not been firmly established, but possibly will be in West Virginia. Persons with a potential interest in being part of this team, or wanting more information should contact the BDM District Disaster Coordinator, Loren Habegger, at ILWI.DDC.LH@gmail.com .
A slide show of additional pictures of the IL/WI week at the Columbia, SC, BDM site is available at https://goo.gl/photos/7eQx3R7fB7VEKCc67