Hurricane Florence Update

florence-hurricane

Dear Sovereign Grace family,

It has been a difficult last week for the residents of southeast North Carolina. As you have all seen, Hurricane Florence made landfall just south of Wrightsville Beach early on Friday, September 14 as a Category 1 hurricane. The storm moved at a crawling 6 mph and eventually slowed to 3 mph, thrashing rain and wind ceaselessly on the area for three straight days. By Sunday, September 16, Wilmington received more rain from the storm than any other single weather event in the city’s history, shattering the previous yearly rainfall record set in 1877. A half a million people lost power and hundreds had to be rescued from floodwaters. Even as I write this post, Wilmington is surrounded by water, neighborhoods are flooded, many trees and power lines are down, gas is scarce, roads are impassible, and power outages are widespread.

Gratefully, most of Grace City Church’s core group was able to evacuate Wilmington, including our family and the Beane family (Aaron and I serve alongside each other at GCC). Our families escaped to Charlotte and are doing well here, but we are unsure when we will be able to return due to flood waters that are blocking major highways. A few folks in our group have remained in Wilmington and are doing well, considering the circumstances.  Thank you to the many of you who have sent texts, messages, or emails. They have encouraged us and bolstered our faith during this trying time!

Right now, there are so very many prayer needs in our city right now. Please join us in praying:

  • For people who are still flooded inland and stranded, and for those who may be flooded further when the river's crest today or tomorrow;
  • For gas, ice, and food supplies to get back into Wilmington;
  • For tree removal to take place in neighborhoods as soon as possible and for the safety of the linemen trying to restore power;
  • For power to be restored, especially for the elderly and diabetics who need meds to be refrigerated;
  • That the waters will recede on I-40 and other major highways leading into town;
  • For church buildings and business that have been damaged, including the Bridge Church and Hampstead Baptist Church;
  • For the Army and National Guard troops who are rescuing people and removing debris;
  • For officers who have responded to hundreds of emergency calls and looting that has been taking place at area stores;
  • For the doctors, nurses, and medical staff at area hospitals who have been working around the clock caring for those admitted;
  • For the many people who have sustained damage to their homes;
  • For the family members of those who lost loved ones. There have been 32 fatalities in North and South Carolina thus far;
  • For FEMA and other much-needed help to arrive;
  • For safe passage home for the many thousands who have evacuated the city;
  • For Christians in town to be strengthened to serve their neighbors in any way possible, and to continue to depend on God’s grace during restoration;
  • For Grace City Church, and the many churches in Wilmington, to band together to care for this city. Restoration will be long and slow, so please pray that through it the name of Jesus will be glorified throughout the southeast!

Our church has also set up a special relief fund which will be used to meet the temporal needs of our neighbors around us. There will be many, many opportunities to care for people upon our return, including helping with immediate home repairs and purchasing food or gas. Please give generously to this fund! A full report will be compiled and posted on our Facebook page as to how funds are distributed.

Thank you for your faithful prayers, encouragement, and generosity. Our hope is Jesus, who commands and calms the storms without and within, and we are filled with anticipation to see how He will use this devastation to build His church in Wilmington!

“‘This is like the days of Noah to me: as I swore that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you, and will not rebuke you. For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:9-10

If you want to reach out to Joshua directly, you can email him at joshua@gracecityilm.org.