Foursquare Disaster Relief (FDR) is sending financial assistance and Foursquare chaplains to western Washington after recent mudslides that killed at least 25 people. The death toll is expected to rise, as another 90 were still reported missing the morning of March 28.
Chad Isenhart, FDR’s international operations chief, says $2,000 has already been sent for supplies. The agency has dispatched two chaplains, Fran Graham and Mark Yeager, to help minister in the mountainous region northeast of Seattle.
Chad says additional donations earmarked for mudslide relief will be used to purchase food, help minister in other practical ways, and provide spiritual care.
The local church is already on site. FDR’s U.S. Operations Chief Gary Grubbs says members of Lifeway (Smokey Point Foursquare Church) in Arlington and Senior Pastor Chad Blood are living out their motto: “Real People—Real Community—Real Life.”
“They have been embracing and reaching out to the communities affected by this devastation,” Gary says of the congregation ministering to Snohomish County towns impacted by the disaster. “Fortunately, all the members from Lifeway are safe; none were lost or injured. However, everyone knows someone who has been. This has affected everyone in the region.”
The mudslides occurred Mar. 22 when a rain-soaked hillside collapsed without warning about four miles east of the small community of Oso. Granted access not given to many other leaders, Pastor Blood has been ministering to residents of Oso, Arlington and Darrington.
Although Oso is only about 55 miles from Seattle, the lack of major roads into the area more than doubles the driving distance from Washington’s largest city.
Gary says Pastor Chad has been “loving on people” ever since the tragedy occurred. It is the state’s worst disaster since 1980, when 57 people died after Mount St. Helens erupted in southwest Washington.
Pastor Chad and Lifeway’s members also need prayer as they offer help and comfort to residents and rescue workers, Gary says.
“Chad has recognized not only the stress and fatigue on those who lost family, but also the stress and fatigue occurring amongst the rescue workers and all those involved in the rescue-and-recovery operation,” Gary says. “This is one of those situations where a local pastor has more access to minister than outsiders. So, if we can support, resource and back Pastor Chad, the Foursquare family can minister both spiritually and physically.”
For more information about Foursquare Disaster Relief and to make a donation, visit the FDR website.
By: Ken Walker, an award-winning freelance writer in Huntington, W.Va.