Island-2
Mud left on the baseball field on Bakers Island, Webster Springs.

 

June 29th, 2016  | Angela Errett

My heart breaks at the site of utter devastation in the southern part of my beloved state of West Virginia. Tragedy, in a multitude of disguises, has sadly become a way of life in the Mountain State.

From its inception, those people who have chosen to call it home embrace the sometimes treacherous, yet always beautiful terrain. Many leave only to find the mountains calling them back to a way of life that few understand or have the will to withstand while others come to the state for schooling or jobs and just can’t leave.

One moment you can be standing in the center of an amazing historical city where anything you need is readily available and then, in a matter of minutes, be in one of the most secluded lush landscapes where all that is heard is the sound of rustling trees and birds chattering on their perch. This dichotomy is one of the reasons West Virginia is so unique and why so many love her.

Hillbilly and Redneck are words that every West Virginian has heard. The people are often the subject of jokes but there are two words that many forget to use, and that is because they don’t pay close enough attention to the culture; those two words are God fearing.

Bridge
Debris left under the bridge on Rt. 20 Webster Springs.

Watching the news, looking at my Facebook feed and listening to the radio, most outside of West Virginia are not getting a full picture of the massive destruction, and also the outpouring of compassion and the love of Christ within the communities.

When a disaster happens here, it can be many days before help arrives and most in rural West Virginia know this. I am from rural West Virginia and can say with full knowledge that the local community rises to whatever misfortune comes its way and many rely on God to get them through.

I helped during the flood of 1985 and saw neighbor helping neighbor, local agencies organizing, and everyday people coming together to help one another with food, shelter, money, and through prayer. The local churches were some of the first assessing the needs of people, organizing supplies, and offering prayer.

The ’85 flood occurred at a time when there was no cell service or the Internet and the knowledge gained during that event, and others like it, surely helped when all communications were out during this storm. Being self-sufficient and prepared in rural areas, whether it is the local government or individuals, saves lives. Citizens are truly first responders during these events.

However, with a storm of this proportion, unfortunately, lives were also lost. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those who have lost loved ones, and we pray for healing and restoration for everyone affected.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ~2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV

 

This 1,000-year storm has shown that love is covering the state once again. It seems no matter the difficulty in West Virginia, its people refuse to push God’s love aside during trying times. Compassion, goodness, kindness, gentleness, these are not characters of the world; they are the characters of a loving God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such, there is no law. ~Galatians 5:22-23 KJV

 

Food and supply drives are occurring all over the state in towns that were out of harms way and in the severely hit counties. Those with little are sharing what they have or volunteering where they can and those who can do more, are.

A news report showed volunteers placing items in bags at the distribution center because people were saying, “Someone else needs that more than I do.” Another report revealed that the donations were so great that they didn’t have enough room and were asking those in need to come by because there truly was enough for everyone!

Horrible events such as the flood have the power to help us focus on what is really important. People are manifesting sacrificial love where they are more concerned about other people’s needs rather than their own. That is a Godly love for one another.

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another. ~John 13:34-35 KJV

 

It will be a long hard road physically, mentally, and financially over the next few months or even years in the state. I believe that the glory of God will be revealed among a people, so battered by the weights of the world and looking like all is lost, who turn fully back to God allowing His promises to manifest and show the world, He is worthy to be praised!

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. ~2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV

River
The Back Fork of Elk River only days after the event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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