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BC Flooding

Update from our local Diaconal Ministries' staff & Coaches:

December 22: Here is a quick update from our friends at Gateway CRC in Abbotsford:

Gateway's Donation Centre was on CBC's "The National" last night. (Watch the story HERE.)

It's been a joy and a privilege to serve our community and to discuss these matters with reporters. In the last month Gateway has been on CBC, CBC National, CTV, Global, BBC International, and more. We have seen this as an opportunity to mobilize others across Canada to help in the relief effort.
Without fail, there is one question reporters always ask us - "Why are you doing this?" And, without fail, the answer we give to that question doesn't make the final cut.

Since November 15th, we have been reminding ourselves of the same two words to keep us grounded - HELP and HOPE. The reason why we are so motivated to help our community in their time of need is because of the hope we have in Jesus! He is our hope and our peace! And during this Christmas season when we reflect on the arrival of Jesus in human form, who took on flesh and dwelt among us [John 1:14], and who later endured the cross, scorning its shame [Hebrews 12:2], with gratitude in our hearts we endeavor to live as beacons of hope in the world [Matthew 5:15], as we pray that God's Kingdom will come, and his will be done, on earth as it is in heaven [Matthew 6:10].
So, that's why we serve. That we might decrease and Christ may increase! And even during a very difficult time like this, that Christ's light might shine in the darkness.

Follow Gateway on their Facebook page HERE.

Also, Diaconal Ministries' staff, local church leaders and community agencies are working hard to create a Disaster Response Team in order to assist in the future. Discussions are being had and there is a desire to bring the right people together with the right skills and expertise in order to respond if and when a disaster like this strikes again. Please keep this in your prayers!

How Can YOU Help?

For those still wishing to help, below is a list of relevant organizations who are receiving money and goods right now. There are also individual churches working hard as well and who are collecting donations listed below.

Community Agencies:

Food Banks BC - https://www.foodbanksbc.com/donate-fund

Salvation Army - https://salvationarmy.ca/blog/help-the-salvation-army-in-canada-respond-to-british-columbia-flood-relief-efforts/

Hope Community Services - https://hopecommunityservices.com/

Princeton Crisis Society - https://my.charitableimpact.com/charities/princeton-crisis-assistance

Merrit Flood Donations - https://www.merritt.ca/flooddonations/

Chilliwack Community Services - https://www.comserv.bc.ca/christmas-sharing/

Abbotsford Disaster Relief Fund - https://abbotsfordcf.org/grants/disaster/

Local CRC Congregations:

Gateway CRC (Abbotsford, BC) - https://gatewaycrc.org/flood-response (Visit their Facebook page for updates as well!)


From November:

Thank you for all of the outpouring of concerns and prayers. This has been a very trying week with many sleepless nights and days.

Those of us who are local are hard at work every day sandbagging and sharing food and supplies. Schools have been closed all week so this also presents difficulties having younger children at home. The church I (Rachel Vroege) attend is housing and feeding over 100 stranded migrant workers at a local camp. I've been cooking up many pots of soup!

The military has been called in to help build a levee to help stop the flood water as it is spreading from Abbotsford area towards Chilliwack. We are not out of the woods yet.

Many people are using their boats and private helicopters and planes to transport people, food and supplies to those stranded.

There are serious gas shortage issues in Chilliwack and likely other areas. Supplies/groceries are also low in many surrounding areas due to road closures and other variables. 

It is estimated that 10% of the dairy cows have died. As this is my (Gary Veeneman's) livelihood, the dairy industry, it hits close to home. I know a lot of the affected farmers personally and it has been especially hard on them as well. As of right now many farms that are able are milking again but there are concerns of shortages of feed and fresh water for livestock. I have been helping out where I can as far as some service work goes as well as delivery of essential parts to get things up and running again. There have been issues with road closures, even some of the major routes/highways, but praise the Lord things are slowly getting back to some type of normal.

We are thankful for the communities involved that have really stepped up to help their neighbours. Truly a blessing to see. We are doing okay overall, but just overwhelmed with what has transpired this last week. But there are many stories of emergency rescues and people just stepping up where needed.

  • Sandbagging done at the pump station that controls the water level in the prairie. Over 300 people showed up on Tuesday, and a 40 foot long, 7 foot wide and 5 foot high wall was built around the pump station, so it wouldn't flood and shut down. All of this was done from midnight till 3 am;
  • Dairy cows being herded in waste deep water to higher ground

Truly amazing! A blessing to see and hear. For now it is a bit of wait and see what develops in the next few days. We are working with the local churches and deacons that have families that have been affected and asking them to keep in touch.

Thank you all, for prayers and asking for God's presence during this time!

Gary & Rachel

Latest Updates (Nov 22):

  1. 500 soldiers arrived in Abbotsford last night to help with the clean up.
  2. Rachel's sister, Erin Stellingwerff, is the MCFD team leader for the Agassiz-Hope area. She was on the front lines of the Lytton evacuees in the summer as well. She went with another social worker in a helicopter loaded with food and supplies to Boston Bar on Saturday. This is to directly support the Yale Indigenous Band. She is talking to the Chief there to assess any needs that can be met through Community Services.
  3. Though the Sumas Prairie farmers are receiving the most press coverage, let's not forget the cities of Princeton and Merrit who have been very hard hit by this flooding. Some Princeton people are back home, but most are still evacuated to Kamloops and Vernon. These communities are not as wealthy as the Fraser Valley and are isolated.
  4. The migrant workers and other evacuees not staying with friends and family are being housed at Camp Charis. Now that the camp staff is there, those of us helping with food aren't needed as much anymore. Donations can be made directly to Camp Charis for the continued care of those staying there.

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NewGround Sunday is May 2, 2021!

Diaconal Ministries Canada exists “to inspire, empower, and equip deacons as they animate their churches to join in God’s transforming work in communities across Canada”. We want deacons to know they are not alone as they serve and equip their churches to love and bless their communities.

Our NewGround program (formerly Operation Manna) is a tangible way we help churches love their communities.

Churches love their communities by getting to know them (Community Opportunity Scans).

Churches love their communities by working WITH them to create holistic ministries so that every person can thrive (New Ministry Support & Grants).

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Visit our NewGround page for more information!