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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Floods in Nashville Tennessee -- Reflections Pastor Carlos Hernandez

Rev. Carlos Hernandez of LCMS World Relief and Human Care was in the Nashville, TN area this past week. He sent me some reflections on the flood.


 Even nine days after the flood volunteers were still mucking out flooded homes of residents in the hardest hit area of Bellevue Tenn where Redeemer Luth has set up a cong. –based and run volunteer operation. Pastor Phil Young is leading the effort with Will Marshall as Redeemer member serving as volunteer coordinator

Reflections by Pastor Carlos Hernandez, Director, LCMS World Relief and Human Care

Bellevue, Tennessee, May 11, 2010 - There is little agreement in the greater Nashville area on building codes after "the flood of 2010" or how much FEMA will "pay out" or even how long it will take for the area to fully recover.

There is agreement on one thing: Suburban Bellevue, ten miles west of Nashville was the hardest hit by the floods. The major tributary of the mammoth Cumberland River, the Harpeth River that flows through Bellevue,  overflooded after the Cumberland crested to 52 ft.!

Bellevue is home to Redeemer Lutheran Church where Rev. Phil Young is pastor.  In a new development where homes were still being built when the flood arrived, 500 of the  1,000 homes in the subdivision will need to be demolished.

Redeemer and Pastor Young had no choice but to "get into high gear" as member Will Marshall puts it, and respond with help. Four of their members lost most or all of their possessions in the flood. Sixteen others nearby residents asked Redeemer for help "mucking out" their flooded homes.

Today, Will Marshll (volunteer coordinator for Redeemer's response) and I visited each member's home to conduct an assessment and share words of pastoral encouragement.

 Frank and Julia Hadrick, Retired Pastor Rev. Chris Powell,  Joe and Mary Cottrell and and Gina Fromm - all Redeemer members - were encouraged by our presence and by assurance of potential assistance from LCMS World Relief and Human Care.

They all responded with same sentiment, one we often hear accross the country,

"Every little bit helps."

 After a sack lunch provided by the Redeemer volunteers, we visited several more homes of Pastor Andrew Abraham congregation in Antioch, Tenn.

Our long day concluded with assessment and pastoral words of encouragement to residents of Country Meadows Mobile home court where a lot of Mexican immigrants live. Many of them were still living in their mold-infested homes. 

I especially enjoyed visiting with Irma Lira and her husband, Francisco and their neighbors, Lozano Morales and his wife, Ethela Mendez. The have many critical needs, but still exuded joy and hope as we prayed with them and their children.

Pastor Ken Shaw who is my gracious host and driver speaks spanish and will follow up on assessing the critical needs of folks most neglected in disaster relief efforts.     

These humble folk from Mexico are surely ones Jesus had in mind when he refered to the "least of his bretheren" in urging his followers of each epoch to demonstrate compassionate mercy in times of crisis.

Rows of debris of mucked out belongings a common scene in Nashville reminiscent of Katrina

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