Our hearts are broken at the loss of life and the number of people still missing due to the recent floods that hit here in East Belgium and Western Germany.
Last week, on our last day of vacation, we received a prayer request by text message. A friend was stranded on the sixth floor of his apartment building. Within the text was a picture of flooding waters raging below, carrying debris and even a car. We learned that helicopters were rescuing people on the rooftops above.
After praying, we watched the news as the devastation unfolded. We learned our church building and its surrounding neighborhood were flooding when the Vesdre River, here in Eupen, rose from one foot to over nine feet within the space of a few hours. Praise God; residents were warned, but they had very little time to evacuate.
We returned home as soon as we could. We knew this was an important time and opportunity for us as a new and small fellowship of believers. We knew we had to reach out to our neighbors in practical ways - providing emergency supplies, helping with the clean-up, and sharing hope despite the devastation around us.
Once the waters receded and officials deemed the area safe enough to enter, we saw just how bad things really were. Many of the streets and sidewalks are broken up. Debris was everywhere. First-floor businesses, homes, and our church were damaged badly. Several homes and businesses will even need to be demolished.
THIS IS US ~ PEOPLE OF PROMISE
The City of Eupen was very organized. Immediately, the clean-up began. Many people from Eupen and surrounding towns came to help. A pastor friend from Aachen came with two teens to help with the clean-up. Pastor Bill and Gretchen Schwartz, along with others from our Brussels and Antwerp churches, came bringing LOTS of drinks and supplies to pass out in the community.
Mostly though, we all worked! Homes had to be cleared out. Our church had to be emptied. Big piles of wet muddy furniture, appliances, flooring, and debris lined the streets. The piles needed to be thrown into containers, and then the city hauled them away. It was amazing how much could be accomplished in one day!
The military has now set up tents in the parking lot in front of our church. The relief center is there also. People can come and get food and drinks, fruit, canned goods, etc. As a church, we will still provide drinks and baked goods. Today there was a need for headgear flashlights - and Pastor Bill bought all he could find and brought them to the relief center! As immediate help dwindles, the local church still plans to continue outreach.
We hope to provide food, water, and welcome home boxes when residents begin moving back into their homes. Please pray for open hearts and opportunities to share Jesus Christ and the promises that we have in Him!
The inside of our building was destroyed. It will take months to rebuild. We have secured a temporary meeting place, and we are looking forward to our worship services this Sunday!
We lost almost everything. We did have flood insurance, but it will not cover all of our losses.
Would you prayerfully consider making a donation to help in the ongoing outreach and relaunch of our Eupen church? We would appreciate that so much!
Thank you for your faithful prayers and financial support.
If you would like to make a special donation to Belgium Disaster Outreach & Relaunch of the Eupen church plant, please use the Belgium Eupen Church Plant project #37103P
MARK & JEANNIE MCCLUNG