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Relief Headed to Flooded West Virginia, AG Church Impacted

Assemblies of God relief efforts are headed to hard hit areas of West Virginia following heavy flooding that left death and destruction behind.

Torrential rains of up to 9 inches in just a few hours in portions of West Virginia on Friday have left more than two dozen dead, hundreds of homes and businesses damaged or destroyed, roads washed out, and thousands without power — and more rain is in the forecast.

Tony Raffa, the Assemblies of God Appalachian Ministry Network (AMN) secretary-treasurer, says so far only one AG church has reported damage due to flooding — Laurel Creek Assembly in Charmco, West Virginia, led by Pastor Keith Delatte.

“Tomorrow [Tuesday, June  28] I will meet with Pastor Delatte and I hope to link-up with some churches who have volunteered to assist with clean-up of the church," Raffa says. The basement and fellowship hall of the church have all been reported as experiencing flood damage. Although Raffa believes the small church had insurance, he is doubtful that it also had flood insurance, so he’s unsure as to what extent the damage will be covered. "From the pictures I've seen, it looks like the church is in the middle of a river," Raffa adds.

Raffa has heard of one related fatality due to the flooding — the uncle of a minister’s wife. “It’s very tragic,” Raffa says. “He was a former soldier, a survivor of the [World War II] Normandy Invasion. He was in his 90s.”

Convoy of Hope, the disaster relief and compassion affiliate of the Assemblies of God, has already reported that it will be working with its local partners to deliver and distribute relief in the form of flood buckets, cleaning supplies, food, and water.

However, the AMN is not sitting idly by. Superintendent David Dillon will be taking an offering from the AMN Church Emergency Fund to help Laurel Creek AG meet clean-up related expenses, and Assistant Superintendent John Jordan is already headed to the community to take donations to a local relief center. 

In a note sent to network churches, Dillon responded to requests to help: “Several of you have contacted me today wanting to offer help in some way, fashion or form. The best way to do this at the moment would be to receive a special offering this Sunday for Convoy of Hope . . . . to help the vast number of people in that portion of our network whose lives have been drastically impacted by this weather catastrophe and to whom we can tangibly demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ.”

According to Raffa, after visiting Laurel Creek Assembly, he — and possibly Jordan as well — plans to drive to the southern portion of Greenbrier County to the cities of White Sulphur Springs and Rupert to evaluate the needs there as the area is considered one of the hardest hit by the flooding.

Dan Van Veen

Dan Van Veen is news editor of AG News. Prior to transitioning to AG News in 2001, Van Veen served as managing editor of AG U.S. Missions American Horizon magazine for five years. He attends Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri, where he and his wife, Lori, teach preschool Sunday School and 4- and 5-year-old Rainbows boys and girls on Wednesdays.