Pastor Perry Noble's NewSpring Church in South Carolina has put out a call to their multi-campus faith community to #FloodSCWithLove, after days of torrential rain has flooded entire towns and claimed many lives in their state.
"Our state has been hit with one of the worst natural disasters in its history. Flood waters are causing severe damage, and it's our desire to help with relief efforts. Please join our effort to make a difference in the lives of those affected and lets #FloodSCWithLove," reads the description on the new action-oriented campaign page launched by Noble's NewSpring Church, which has 19 campus locations throughout South Carolina.
The campaign page #FloodSCWithLove lists three concrete ways concerned members of the public can assist those adversely affected by flooding:
DONATE: Many people have experienced tremendous loss and many basic items are unavailable. These families need bottled water, non-perishable food items, blankets, and travel size toiletries. These items can be dropped off at your local campus during regular business hours.
GIVE: You can financially support relief and restoration efforts by giving to the #FloodSCWithLove fund. All money given to this fund will go directly to helping with relief and to people in our state who have been affected by flooding. Give now at https://newspring.cc/give and select #FloodSCWithLove
SERVE: Many people have been forced out of their homes from the result of flooding. You are able to serve on a disaster relief team in the communities most affected to make these homes livable again.
Although the page was only launched on Monday, various NewSpring campuses have already been seeing donations roll in. For example, the Columbia campus received 20 pallets of water from the Coca-Cola company.
At least 14 people have died and entire towns flooded since the rainfall began on Saturday, according to The Weather Channel. Several dams have breached or failed, putting millions of residents at risk. President Barack Obama issued a disaster declaration on Monday, at the request of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, which will allow affected counties in the state to receive federal assistance, including grants for temporary housing, home repairs and other provisions.
"Haley said after speaking with the president that she had asked the federal government to declare disaster areas of 11 counties, including the tri-county area that saw more than 26 inches of rainfall in spots during a four-day span," The Post and Courier reported on Monday.
"For some locations, this historic rainfall qualifies as a 1,000-year rain event, meaning in a given year there is a 1 in 1,000 chance of observing rainfall totals of this magnitude," The Weather Channel reports.
Amid the relief campaign Noble has been asking God "why" about the deadly flooding.
"I know people say you are not supposed to do that!" Noble writes in a Monday blog post. "I suppose if my faith were stronger I might not ask that question."
The NewSpring pastor adds that in such "times of pain, uncertainty and doubt our go to is 'why?'" He notes that Jesus even asked God "why" when he was hanging on the cross, citing Matthew 27:46.
But there are three things people should remember in turbulent times, according to Noble: 1. despite the chaos, God is in complete control; 2. you may never get your questions answered; and 3. the best is yet to come.
"I don't know why, out of all 50 states this tragedy fell on our state," Noble writes. "However, I do know what some people call an obstacle I see as an opportunity! I do know our state will recover from this, and believe we will ultimately be in a better place for it."
For more information on how to help those affected by flooding, visit the South Carolina Emergency Management Division website: http://www.scemd.org.