Underwater in Kentucky: Floods Ravage Parts of Bluegrass State, Church of God Responds
By Carl Stagner
“Unimaginable.” “Traumatized.” “Most devastating and deadly.” Such descriptions from officials and residents only scratch the surface of the volatile situation in parts of Kentucky in the midst of one of the worst disasters the state has ever seen. At least thirty-seven people lost their lives due to record-breaking floods, which left people stranded on rooftops above inundated homes, roads completely washed out, families displaced, and even church buildings destroyed. Among the destruction, Neon First Church of God in Neon, Kentucky, suffered the effects of up to five feet of water inside their building. Homes of congregants have been deemed total losses as congregations throughout the region—and far beyond—rally together in swift and holistic response.
Church of God Ministries Disaster Relief has approved funds for immediate disbursement to help the Church of God on the ground with their initial response. Local churches quickly organized crews to coordinate cleanup efforts in their communities, offering the hope in an otherwise hopeless circumstance, all while being the hands and feet of Jesus. As assessments continue and the situation continues to unfold, determinations will be made to send additional relief as necessary.
Giving of time, physical labor, and financial assistance are of tremendous value to the Church of God in Kentucky at this time, but not to the neglect of prayer. Jim Todd, interim state minister for Kentucky Church of God Ministries, suggests specific prayerful consideration in addition to monetary donations. “Pray for pastors who will be tasked with providing words of hope, comfort, and encouragement,” he says. “Pray for workers who have responsibilities for restoring electricity, water, and other infrastructure. Pray that kindness toward one another will be the rule of the day as people work together. Then ask God how you can help as we raise funds to assist. [And] especially pray for Pastors Mark Wagoner (Neon First Church of God) and Brian Bridges (Chavies First Church of God).”
At the onset of the Kentucky flooding disaster, Neon First Church of God expressed their resolve on Facebook: “In the past two weeks, we gathered together to worship, shared grief with family, experienced joy and laughter with children during VBS, held a reception to celebrate a newly married couple, and [held a] Bible study. Our church has a one hundred-year history of serving God and those in need, and we will continue to do so…this is a building; we the people, are God’s church! We will help one another and our community clean up and go forward.”
In the weeks ahead, the need for volunteers and work teams is expected to be great. Entrenched in their own cleanup efforts, Neon First Church of God—linking arms with other local churches, such as (but not limited to) Chavies First Church of God and Jackson First Church of God—is springing into action to come alongside neighbors whose lives have been upended as a result of the disaster. More information about such opportunities will be published as it becomes available.
Disaster Relief funds have been sent to help provide emergency assistance to the Church of God in Kentucky. To further equip the local church to respond to hurting families and communities, donations can be made to Church of God Ministries Disaster Relief. Your gift today supports those suffering from flooding in Kentucky, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and other communities where the local Church of God is responding to disasters around the world. Thank you.