Body and Soul

June 20, 2014

The following article was written by Rev. Marcia Sangel, Pastor of the Rock Rapids UMC, for The Lyon County Recorder in response to the diasaster response efforts and appears here by her permission...


Body and Soul 

Rev. Marcia F. Sangel ● United Methodist Church


"Across Lyon County and beyond, rivers, lakes and streams have over flown their banks, the result of record rainfalls to the north of us as well as in our own region.  As the waters rose, many individuals and whole families were displaced and thousands of dollars in damage is left behind.  Flooding has destroyed homes, businesses, farms and even some houses of worship.  Right now, members of our community are rolling up their sleeves to physically help their neighbors and friends with the filthy and back-breaking cleanup. Many others are also opening up their homes and their hearts as they help to provide our displaced family members a place to sleep, a place to find clean clothes, and a place to be fed a nourishing meal.                                                                                 

You are a vision of prayer in action.

One of the first phone calls I received after the flooding began was from our United Methodist Church’s Northwest District Disaster Response Coordinator, and then from our District Superintendent. Both were asking the same question: “What can we do to help?”  In short order, at their request, a shipment of bottled water from the Sioux City Fairway Store arrived (via UM Volunteer Tom L) and then it was distributed by our church members to older individuals who would be less able to pick up from the huge bottled water shipment that came from Casey’s headquarters in Ankeny. And as I write this … more bottled water and clean-up flood-kits are on their way to our community. Our NW District Coordinator is also working on getting a grant from our United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to help respond to this natural disaster.

You are a vision of prayer in action

I am grateful for our denominations quick and decisive response, and for their promise of continued support… but in the vast expanse of this disaster one church or one denomination alone can do little more than metaphorically hold our collective fingers in the seeping levee to keep the waters of destruction from overwhelming. And so, I am equally grateful for every area church and ministry and civic group who is also doing all that they can by calling upon their respective denominations and associations for assistance. Our community is thankful that our local officials acted as quickly as they did to bring in the Red Cross and our Governor…because together we are helping to transform the waters of chaos into the waters of healing. 

You are a vision of prayer in action

"Scripture reminds us that even in times of natural disaster, God is always at our side, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10). Please join me in volunteering (physically and monetarily if you are able) and by praying for all of those who are suffering from this flooding. Pray without ceasing for the protection of the tireless volunteers and first responders, the city workers, the fire and rescue volunteers, the utility crews, and countless individuals who all work together: first to keep the turbulent waters at bay, and now to lift and tote and cast away the muddy and water logged remnants of household furnishings and treasured family keepsakes.

You are a vision of prayer in action

At his time … I am also mindful that there are other individuals, families, and whole communities who are suffering in the flooded plains of their geographic locations (as well as some who were recently in the path of killer tornadoes). Let us especially pray for the disparaging waters of their disasters to recede so that they too may begin to experience the Divine Waters of healing. For those affected by these many tragedies, may God keep you, watch over you, and protect you.

Is God inviting you to be a vision of prayer in action? Then be all that you can be: a transformer who changes the waters of chaos into the waters of healing.