Relief Work Finished in Columbia

November 2, 2015 • United States

Volunteers complete flood-related work in one South Carolina location

While Samaritan’s Purse continues to assist homeowners in the flood-ravaged Andrews, South Carolina, area, a three-week deployment to hard-hit Columbia has come to an end.

Historic rainfall in early October pummeled South Carolina, triggering dams to burst and creeks to overflow, sending raging torrents of floodwaters across the Palmetto State.

Samaritan’s Purse U.S. Disaster Relief deployed first to Columbia, before fanning out next to Charleston and, finally, Andrews.

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Volunteers pray at a job site.

Nearly 1,650 volunteers from around the country rushed to the aid of 199 homeowners throughout Columbia, serving them in Jesus’ Name. Wearing gloves, boots and masks—and protective gear if necessary—these volunteers removed debris and mud from homes. They tore out waterlogged carpets, drywall, and flooring. And they helped to dry out and clean up what belongings could be salvaged.

“Our deployment in Columbia was very successful, as God granted us favor in the community and blessed us with a great number of volunteers,” said Bruce Poss, program manager. “We averaged 195 [people] per day, and that helped us to get through faster than what we anticipated. These volunteers brought a high level of expertise and professionalism to their work. And a heart to share their faith in Jesus Christ.”

Shandon Baptist Church hosted Samaritan’s Purse throughout the Columbia deployment.

“We couldn’t think of a better way to use our facility, our grounds and our people than helping to outfit an organization like Samaritan’s Purse, knowing how they’re helping the residents of our city,” said executive pastor Brandon Petersen.

Once their physical work was completed, the orange-clad Samaritan’s Purse volunteers put down their tools and ministered alongside the blue-shirted Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains. Together, they showed and shared the compassion of Jesus Christ.

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A volunteer hugs a homeowner.

It’s never too early—or late—for someone to commit one’s life to Jesus. At one work site, a Samaritan’s Purse volunteer was conducting a Bible study with four children. They wanted to know about salvation. A chaplain joined in and led the youngsters through the children’s version of Steps to Peace with God. All four—ages 13, 12, 9, and 7—made a decision to accept Christ. While this was occurring, another chaplain was walking their mother through the adult version of the booklet. She, too, received the gift of salvation and confessed Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior.

On another day, a 90-year-old man was talking with a team of chaplains after Samaritan’s Purse volunteers finished working on his house. The chaplains asked the man, who had escaped the flood when a neighbor pushed him by wheelchair through neck-high waters to safety, about his relationship with Jesus. When asked if he would go to heaven, he responded by saying, “I think so. I don’t think I’ve been that bad.”

A chaplain asked the man if would like to know for sure and he stated, “Yes!” After going through the plan of salvation, the man prayed a prayer of repentance and asked Christ to be his Lord and Savior.

Please continue to pray for our team members in Andrews as they work diligently for Christ. The deployment is scheduled to continue until November 21.

U.S. Disaster Relief Samaritan's Purse mobilizes and equips thousands of disaster relief volunteers to provide emergency aid to U.S. victims of wildfires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. In the aftermath of major storms, we often stay behind to rebuild houses for people with nowhere else to turn for help.

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