By Kim Plummer Krull
LCMS members hit hard by flooding in the Nashville, Tenn., area were “surprised but grateful” when LCMS World Relief and Human Care’s Rev. Carlos Hernandez and local pastors visited their damaged homes to offer words of concern and encouragement.
“It means a lot when the church shows up and people have an opportunity to tell their stories,” said Hernandez, WR-HC director of Districts and Congregations, who met May 10 with families impacted by record-setting rains that swelled rivers, killing at least 20 people in Tennessee, according to reports. “The flooding in Nashville is horrible — way beyond what you see in the media.”
Rev. Philip Young of Redeemer Lutheran Church, Bellevue, Tenn., reported that as many as five members’ homes were flooded, and a half-dozen more experienced flooding in their basements and garages. At least one family from Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church, Murfreesboro, was displaced by high water. A few homes in low-lying areas surrounding Gallatin, near Trinity Lutheran Church, also were affected. At Cross of Life Lutheran Church in Antioch, three member families suffered major losses.
None of the hardest-hit families had flood insurance, said Hernandez, who is working with pastors — including Young at Redeemer and Rev. Andrew Abraham, who serves both Cross of Life and Spirit of Joy — on damage assessments and requests for WR-HC grant assistance.
“This is only an initial assessment. We want to have a ripple effect, helping members first and than reaching out to help more people in the communities,” Hernandez said.
In addition to LCMS members, Hernandez also visited residents of Country Meadows Mobile Home Court. They included Latino immigrants still living in their mold-infested homes because they have nowhere else to go.
“They have many critical needs, but still exuded joy and hope as we prayed with them and their children,” said Hernandez, who was accompanied by Rev. Ken Shaw, pastor at Trinity, Gallatin, who speaks Spanish. “These humble folks are surely who Jesus had in mind when He referred to the ‘least of His brethren,’ and urged His followers … to demonstrate compassionate mercy in times of crisis.”
Shaw plans to follow up with the immigrants, Hernandez said, “so we could respond to their critical needs.”
To make a gift that shares Christ’s mercy and helps those affected by flooding in Tennessee, visit http://givenowlcms.org; call toll-free 888-930-4438; or mail donations marked “Tennessee Floods” to LCMS World Relief and Human Care, P.O. Box 66861, St. Louis, MO 63166-6861.
Kim Plummer Krull is a freelance writer and a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Des Peres, Mo.
Posted May 19, 2010