Alliance Church Reaches Out to Mudslide Victims

“A woman at our prayer gathering clings to the hope that her husband is still alive,” says Tim Quick, pastor of adult ministries and community outreach at Smokey Point Community (Alliance) Church in Arlington, Washington. The church is 19 miles from Oso, where a recent avalanche of mud covered 49 homes in the community of 500 residents. The mudslide claimed 25 lives, and approximately 90 people are missing.

Smokey Point members were not directly impacted by the landslide, but several have lost friends or coworkers. The church’s prayer vigil drew many people from the greater Arlington area, including Oso residents. “We ‘adopted’ a couple families who lost loved ones as well as homes and belongings,” Quick says. “We want to help them with clothing and other necessities.”

Quick received a call from a man who has been a part of the ongoing search and recovery efforts “not only because he has two cadaver dogs, but also four of his family members are missing in the mudslide,” he says. “The emotion in his voice was palpable. He hadn’t slept for 36 hours.”

Because he knows someone who attends Smokey Point, the man called to request use of the facility for a spaghetti dinner fund-raiser for victims. “I told him that we would make it work and provide whatever support he would need for the event,” Quick says. “We scheduled a time for the fund-raiser. I expressed my deep sympathy and told him we have been praying and will continue to pray for him and the other searchers. I am thankful for the opportunity to meet and mingle with the residents of Oso—another open door God has orchestrated to show the community that He cares for and is near to the brokenhearted.”

As local, state, and federal agencies continue recovery efforts, Smokey Point leaders have met with a group of 20 local clergy to assess needs and involvement with Oso survivors. “This is an opportunity for long-term impact versus immediate help. Currently, we are setting aside donated funds to help with Oso relief efforts,” Quick reports. “The needs have not been clearly determined yet. But most people will not be able to rebuild; landslides are not covered by most insurance policies. Therefore, the church will need to be there for its neighbors in the coming months, when official agencies are gone.

“The greater Puget Sound area is focused on the disaster, and we have a chance to show how the church responds. The story of God’s work is just beginning as these families walk through some hard times in the coming months and years. This is an opportunity for us to be light in our community.”

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