Recent storms and flooding have affected various Christian Reformed churches and communities along the Rock and Sioux Rivers in northwest Iowa. Heavy rain over several days last week washed out roadways and caused flooding across a large area.
Matthew Haan is pastor at First Christian Reformed Church in Rock Valley. He said at least 20 families from First have been displaced from their homes and at least 20 more have water in their basement. The local Christian school and First Church itself only had “minor backup basement water,” Haan said. “We praise God that it was not any worse.”
Calvin CRC was protected by sandbags, but the water never reached the church. However, Calvin also had members who were affected by the flood. “One member had to gut the basement and the main floor of his home as he had water on both floors,” said Becky Kooima, secretary at the church. The parsonage “was under water and the basement was filled to the top,” she added.
Help came quickly for those who were affected. Calvin became a meeting place for those who were displaced as well as those who were working during the flood. It was, said Kooima, “a place people could pick up cleaning supplies, rubber gloves, bottled water, use the restroom, get water for cleanup, and even enjoy air-conditioning and treats brought in by church members.”
Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, put out the call for alumni and community members to join a clean-up crew heading out on June 26.
World Renew’s Diaster Response Service is also onsite; regional managers Rich and Pat Grasman are providing early response coordination with local officials and volunteer organizations. They will assess the need for a World Renew DRS rapid response team.
Haan also noted that there is a relief fund at People's Bank and Premier Bank in Rock Valley for those who want to help.