August 11, 2013

build an ark-y, ark-y

Things have been pretty adventurous around these parts. I'm not sure about the national news, but I know that we have been the center of local news for the past couple of days. On Wednesday of last week, it started to rain ... and ever since then, it has not stopped raining. We live right next to the Roubidoux Creek, the Gasconade River, and the Piney River. This usually isn't a problem in the middle of summer ... it hardly ever rains hard enough here to even keep the grass green, in August especially. That, I think, is why this sudden flood was SO devastating. Nobody had any idea that it was coming ... especially that it was coming at 3:00 in the morning. There were 60-80 homes in the valley that were totally flooded. When my Nandy and I took a drive around town the day after the flooding began, my heart was racing with genuine fear. The elements are so powerful and unpredictable! It is sooo important to be prepared for these things when they arise!

Anyways, with this disaster came a lot of opportunities to serve. The community center was open to those who had been affected by the storm, and many of the members from church were there ready to help. I felt a little inadequate because I really didn't know where I needed to be. One morning, after the flood waters had receded, I prayed to know where I could be of service and that I would be able to help someone. That same morning, I got a call from my mom asking if I could come over to one of my dad's rental properties that had been badly flooded by the storm. They needed help clearing things out before it started to get moldy.

I went to the house as soon as I could and was immediately put to work sorting through the closet of the main bedroom. It was so heartbreaking to hear the mother of the house, Rhiannon, saying, "Can I keep this?" as she observed a case of makeup, and then realizing that she couldn't save it after it had been soaked in river water. This happened over and over and over again with various items. As I was going through the closet, I realized the true loss that came with this flood. A majority of the things that were lying on the floor were ruined beyond repair. These were things that this family had paid good money for, things that the insurance definitely would not cover. It made me so sad. I was amazed that Rhiannon was able to stay so happy about it. She kept mentioning over and over again that she couldn't be sad because there were so many people that were willing to help her out. What an incredible example of staying afloat (har har) when things get rough.

The most awesome thing that happened while we were cleaning, besides the fact that the Red Cross came and gave us delicious chili, was when the missionaries from the area came to help. They were at a zone conference in town and were able to come straight from that conference to help serve. It's obvious in the pictures that they were not extra prepared for this service project because many were wearing their nice white shirts with gym shorts to clean in, but I thought that was super attractive. They basically started at the end of the street and swept through, offering service to anyone who wanted it. It was pretty much the coolest thing ever. One lady mentioned later, "Those guys were just so happy! I don't understand ..." I seriously can not wait to be a missionary.

One of the biggest lessons I got from this project was that NOW is the time to prepare for the storms of life. We sing a little song called, "Build an Ark" in Primary that I love. It talks about how important it is for us to start building an ark BEFORE the rain starts to pour. It's definitely a fitting song for this situation. I want to be prepared for whatever happens in my life so that, when the time comes to act, I will be ready and able to serve. Now is the time to prepare.

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