A Tragedy is Becoming a Victory

This has been an amazing time for our city! Throughout the whole city there has been a sense of unity and “let’s get through this together!”. It’s been great to watch the way our city has responded to this disaster. The churches especially have been pulling together and truly gaining a good name.

In recent years about 40 churches in Cedar Rapids formed a coalition called “Serve the City” with the vision of proclaiming the gopsel of Jesus Christ to our city. The “Serve the City” office has become the headquarters for volunteer work (and, wow, there has been a lot of volunteers!) and their five phone lines have been staying extremely busy. It sure seems like God raised up this coalition up for such a time as this. Through “Serve the City”, hundreds of volunteers have been sandbagging, helping at shelters, distributing water, cleaning out ruined houses, assisting the city authorities in various projects, delivering cookies and snacks to workers…and the list goes on.

When Sarah and I went to take the Red Cross Training Class, the lady in charge was so overwhelmed because all day she had been turning volunteers away and scheduling more and more classes.

Thursday night a TV station asked for volunteers to help sandbag a suction water plant. This was the last of four suction plants in Cedar Rapids. These plants supply water to Cedar Rapids and surrounding communities. If this last plant flooded, Cedar Rapids would be out of water. (Yes, I know that sounds funny since we currently had 400 blocks of our city underwater.) At the time of the report, there were only six city workers present and they needed to fill and stack 6,000 sandbags to save our city’s water. 1,200 volunteers arrived almost immediately and the project was completed so fast the media barely got there in time to report the victory. I heard on the radio that 2,000-3,000 extra volunteers were sent away! Many of them were sent to Mercy Hospital where help was still needed….

This is only one of the three long lines of sand baggers. They heroically did all they could to save the hospital–even in that dangerous, extremely polluted water that we aren’t supposed to get close to! Although they prevented the damage from being worse than it was, the water just kept coming and the whole hospital had to be evacuated.

Last Thursday-Saturday our city was running at only 25% water capacity. Major corporations shut down voluntarily and all citizens were instructed to only use water for drinking. For obedient citizens this means paper plates, hand sanitizer, dirty laundry, no showers, greasy hair, minimal toilet flushing, etc.

But that’s ok, it provides a good excuse to buy pop/coffee at Panera… 🙂

Now the city is running at a 50% water capacity and citizens can use water every other day.

On a personal note, our family is doing very well and thankfully we have experienced no damage due to the flooding. Right now we are approaching another, well, we call it “crunch time” 🙂 …we are gearing up a “Strong in the Lord” and “Radiant Purity” conference in Bemidji, MN. We leave this Sunday.

As you can imagine, Stephen has been keeping very busy out there with his camera! And he tans super easy so he looks kind of like a Mexican now. 🙂

I’ll keep you posted as much as I can. Thank you for your prayers. Please pray that Christians would continue to be a light in this city, and that the Lord would bring many to Himself through this tragedy.


  1. Wow–we really feel for you here in WA! In December we had a whole lot of flooding too, but it was a couple hours away.

    I have enjoyed watching your blog for a while now! I am so grateful for Sarah’s book, Before You Meet Prince Charming, and for your siblings book. They have been such a blessing and an encouragement! Momma every now and then holds up Sarah’s example in memorizing the whole New Testament to encourage us in memorizing!:-)

    I am continually amazed at your family’s willingness to be used of the Lord as I see the amount of conferences and trips you make to help others! I think I would grow a little weary:-P But the Lord’s grace is sufficient!

    Thank you again!
    Laura, 2nd oldest daughter in a family of 10 children

  2. Hi Grace,

    We know a bit of what you’re going through since here in MS the same thing happened when Katrina hit. The volunteers poured in and did SO much to help everyone here!! Even though our house had almost no damage (we live ~6-8 miles inland) it wasn’t fun with most of the Coast shut down.

    Praise the LORD for what He has done!


  3. Hi Grace, wow the Lord is really putting your town through a huge test. I have been trying to keep up with the knews! I think my dad is tired of questions. Although he is very concerned.
    Blessings and Prayes,

  4. Dear Grace,

    I just wanted you to know that I am praying for your family during this flooding. I haven’t e-mailed lately because I’m sure you are very busy. I’m looking forward to visiting with you at the Bemidji conference. GOD BLESS!


  5. Hi Grace!
    I just found your blog through a friend of mine. I’ve been reading and re-reading Making brothers and sisters best friends and Before You Meet Prince Charming for the past few months and they are AWESOME. Your family has blessed mine so much! Thank you! The flooding looks really bad…My family and I will be praying for you all! I hope you don’t mind if I put a link to your blog on mine, I would love to be able to access it easily.
    Joy and Blessings,

  6. Hi! Grace, I’ve been reading your blog for a little while now. I just want to let you know that I’m praying for you and your family – may God protect and strengthen you in the midst of the flooding and may He propser you and bless others at the conference! 🙂

  7. I am glad that everthing is turning out for good. I have been praying for you and your family.

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