LAKE MURRAY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH – A FLOOD RELIEF STORY
On Saturday October 3rd and Sunday October 4th, eighteen inches of rain poured into the Midlands of South Carolina, overflowing dams, closing 260 roads and 180 bridges. Twelve thousand homes were flooded out in what the governor called “A thousand year flood.” The National Guard would knock on the door and tell people in the middle of the night to get in their truck and go to a shelter immediately- with just the clothes on their backs. The shelters had cots and dry roofs but the city water had to be boiled and most shelters couldn’t boil it. They had no food, pillows, blankets, or basic hygiene supplies.
That Sunday night one member of Lake Murray Presbyterian Church started a Facebook group in order to link people with needs to people who were willing to donate. It started small. Today it has over 6,600 members. People were willing to donate and people were willing to pick up, but they needed a big place to do so. Lake Murray Presbyterian opened its gym.
The gym filled up in one day. Within ten days the gym filled up and emptied twelve times. Over 4,500 people donated supplies. Over 600 volunteers, 75% of whom were not members of the church, helped sort the material. Youth groups from other churches would just show up along with student councils, soccer teams, cheerleaders and more (school was out). They delivered diapers, clothes, food, water, blankets, pillows, hygiene kits, and later, flood buckets to shelters, churches, parks, and the flooded neighborhoods. Over 25 shelters were served. Most were around 40 minutes away, but the farthest was near the coast—a three hour drive.
As word spread, people from a much wider area started to donate: Statesboro, North Carolina; Jacksonville, Florida; Charleston, South Carolina; but the farthest truck came from LSU’s chapel In Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Ben Sloan, the Lake Murray’s pastor, said “We would give all of our water away and before the truck could get out of the parking lot another truck would come with more water. The Lord was in this. We could have filled the whole gym up with water- and given it all away by the time two weeks was up. We gave to a Hispanic church we were helping to start whose building had been flooded. People in that neighborhood were charging $10 for six bottles of water, but that church wanted to give water away for free to their thirsty neighbors.”
Lake Murray is now preparing to host out-of-state mission teams at the church and to do flood relief work ourselves in cooperation with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. And, they want to adopt a couple families and see them all the way through the rebuilding process. One of the verses that keeps standing out is Psalm 124:1, 4: “Unless the Lord had not been our help, when the flood waters came, they would have engulfed us.”