Dozens of Fredericton (New Brunswick) Christian Reformed Church members became actively involved in relief efforts when severe weather caused flooding in numerous New Brunswick homes just before Christmas.
The Christian Reformed World Relief Committee’s Disaster Relief Services also mobilized to help people in the community prepare tear out wet and damaged building materials.
Dick and Margaret VanOord, area managers for CRWRC-DRS and members of Fredericton CRC, were able to quickly assess the situation. Dick VanOord was surprised to learn about the disaster in his own area while in conversation with a distant community about relief. He connected with Samaritan’s Purse, Fredericton CRC, Mennonite Disaster Service, and other local ministries to “dig in and help out.” Relief efforts began in January after water had receded.
According to Samaritan’s Purse, 224 volunteers from several groups provided 1,565 hours of labor over nine days.
Volunteers tore out wet insulation, cabinets, and other damaged materials. They sprayed anti-mold protectants and prepared homes for reconstruction.
One recipient of the cleanup help said that the workers witnessed without words. “The world can see what love is,” he said.
Homeowners were grateful for the no-cost help after receiving cleanup estimates of up to $8,000 from local companies.
Rev. Harold Winter, pastor of Fredericton CRC, also worked as a volunteer. He said, “The flood has had a major impact on our congregation. The cooperation between CRWRC-DRS, Samaritan’s Purse, and other Christian congregations has been inspirational.”
CRWRC-DRS and Samaritan’s Purse had also collaborated in Newfoundland when they provided relief to small communities in the aftermath of Hurricane Igor in November 2010. Volunteers came from all the Maritime CRC churches to help out.
As Dick VanOord said, “If the Lord calls, you gotta go!”
Burtt’s Corner / Zealand Flood Relief 2010 / 2011
Some came from so far away
And some from our back yards
The labor that before them lay
Was long and cold and hard.
So many different faiths and creeds
Yet all of one accord
To meet their brothers’ basic needs
This must have pleased the Lord.
There is no secret force afoot
No magic to speak of
For anyone can recognize
A single act of love.
And Christ is no small part of this
We surely realized
I saw his image in your face
I saw him in your eyes
You helped us to remember
What this world is meant to be
You opened up our hearts and eyes
So we could truly see
For now “God bless each one of you
For what you have become”
The world now sees what love can do
When His work is begun