Kaselehlie! Greetings from Pohnpei!
On Friday morning, March 16, an unusually dark and rainy day for Pohnpei, my wife and I were reviewing our new prayer letter to send out. We were excited about the building project for the new church building. We wanted to tell you all about the land fill progress and how the area was nearly ready for the foundation. We wanted to share with you the details of the project and how you could partner with us in making this happen. But as we began to notice the intensity of the rainfall and began hearing disturbing reports from around the island, nearly everything was put on hold for the day. We assumed by the following day, the storm would pass and life would go back to normal. Sadly that was not the case. On Saturday morning, we woke to the sound of falling trees and realized two trees had come down on our house. Throughout the morning, we continued to keep an eye on the hill behind our house as the rain continued to come down heavier than anything we’d ever seen before. As we began to see shifts in the soil on the hill, by 11 AM we made the decision to evacuate. Just after noon, we received word from our neighbors that a mudslide had torn through our home. As the rain came to a halt later in the afternoon we made the drive back to our village to look over the damage. Nothing could have prepared us for what we found. The mudslide, along with trees and boulders had taken out the back doors as well as a window. Mud and water had flowed through the entire house, destroying anything in it’s path. The dining table and chairs where my wife and I had been sitting as we discussed our new prayer letter, was now replaced with a hill approximately 8 feet high, a water catchment, and a mango tree. Many of you have followed our journey since then on Facebook, but we have also updated our family blog with photos from the storm damage and aftermath. It has been a long and trying 7 weeks but one thing remains the same. God is faithful! He protected our family. We are all safe and for that we continuously praising God. Many mudslides and heavy flooding occurred around the island and there were lives lost. Please pray for these families that lost loved ones in this storm.
What is our current situation? We have been able to clean out and recover two rooms in the house and moved back in approximately a week and a half after the storm. As of the writing of this letter, we still have not been able to find a company that will come and dig out the house, so that has remained the same. As a result, every heavy rain brings more flooding and damage. Two days ago, the ceiling caved in on the back of the house because of this.
- We are praying desperately for an answer to getting the house dug out. We have finally found one company that has agreed to take on the project, but we are still waiting for them to give us a timeline.
- Other than moving out the mud and mess inside, there is little we can do to repair the inside until the house is dug out. We spent a great deal of time scrubbing and cleaning, only to have the house flood again.
- After the mudslide is removed from the back of the house, we will need to build a retaining wall to prevent this in the future. As of now, we do not even know 100% if this will even be possible. Please pray for God’s leading in this. We want to be able to remain in this location, but of course safety is of utmost importance.
- Doors, windows, flooring, appliances, kitchen and bathroom cupboards, furniture, and more will have to be replaced. We don’t even know where to begin with this at this point.
- As the water pipes into the house are broken and buried under the mudslide, we have not had running water in the house since the storm. This makes life “interesting” for a family of 7.
- We also no longer have a kitchen. We have been able to set up a camp stove and makeshift sink outside to make do for now.
- The septic tank is also buried and filled with mud. As you can imagine, this along with no running water makes for a less than ideal bathroom situation.
- Mold is a huge concern. Finally being able to remove the mud and trees from inside and board up the back of the house has helped considerably but we are still dealing with extreme dampness from the humidity and flooding.
- A HUGE praise is that Andy Brett from Charleston, SC will be coming this month to help!
How can you help?
1. Pray! We desperately need prayer! Each day brings new challenges, some we never dreamed we would be facing. And in the midst of the house challenges, we are continuing on with ministry responsibilities with the church and Bible institute, which often leaves us very little time to work on the house.
2. Give if you are able. The cost of repairs and replacements are going to be huge. If God leads you to give towards this project, donations can be sent to our mission board designated for Kihleng Storm Recovery. A huge thank you to those that have already jumped in and helped our family financially through this difficult time. I would also like to mention that we do not want our current housing situation to take away from the building project for the new church building. If you would like to give towards this project, donations can also be sent to our mission board, designated for Kihleng Church Building. God began this project and we know that He will provide for it to be completed.
3. Come! If you have specific skills in construction and would like to be a part of the recovery project, or even come to work on the new church building, please get in contact with us at email@example.com.
In spite of much of our life currently being put on hold due to the storm, we have a huge summer schedule ahead of us that we are looking forward to. We have several youth rallies scheduled, summer camp, a missions team coming from Pennsylvania, some Bible college students coming to help with ministries, Vacation Bible School, special meetings at two of the other churches on island, and more. It is a packed but exciting couple of months ahead! Please be in prayer for these ministries and that God will work in hearts this summer.
In closing I would like to thank those of you that have prayed for us, given financially to us, sent notes of encouragement, as well as to our dear friends here on island that have offered their time to help with cleanup, fed us, prayed with us, shed tears with us, and been such a blessing in our lives through this time. I believe God is going to work mightily through this situation and receive all the glory.
Because of Calvary,
Rickson & Susan, Kaleo, Kestra, Kyler, Katrianne, Kaylinn
Printable Version of this Letter
Printable Version of this Letter