Update on Hurricane Ian

Photo: Living Faith Church in Cape Coral, FL, following the hurricane
(This message was originally posted on Facebook in the CLB Group)

Dear Church,

Thank you for your ongoing prayers and concern for our congregations, pastors, people and their neighbors impacted by hurricane Ian.  Much more of the devastation of this terrible storm of course is to be known; we pray and wait to hear of the safety of our brothers and sisters there, and impact on their lives and homes.

I have been in contact with Pastor Jeff Olsen of our Wesley Chapel congregation, who has indicated that damage in their area inland and north from Tampa appear to be less than may have been if Ian had tracked further north to landfall. Jeff texted, “…please share [to the greater CLB] our thanks for God’s protection and focus prayers and help toward Living Faith [Cape Coral congregation] as needed.”  We continue to pray for Jeff and his family, the church family, and their neighbors.

Pastor Pat Thurmer (Living Faith Church, retired) has texted that he and family were kept safe.  We will wait to hear more.  Pray especially for Pat & Karla’s son, Nick, who has a home closer to the shore, and was/is hospitalized following a significant surgery prior to the storm.

Pastor Ed Nugent (pastor of Living Faith Church, Cape Coral) has also been in touch, and recently texted me the following that he asked to be shared with the wider Church:
“We are all in one piece but a little traumatized. The surge water came up to our front door, but that’s where it peaked. So our house is dry and liveable. Praise God! We are cleaning up here and planning to head over to the church soon to assess what the damage is there. I’m afraid it will be extensive since the steeple fell over early in the storm. This was far worse than Charlie, which we lived through in 2004. Cell service is sketchy at best and seems to be going in and out, so I have not heard from anyone in the church yet. Prayers appreciated. God is good!”

“I’ve been to the church and there is damage to all three of our buildings. Thankfully, the damage in the sanctuary is not as bad as I expected. The steeple came down completely, but the interior structure stayed intact. There is water damage and the roof is exposed to bare plywood, but I expected to find collapsed drywall and huge puddles when I walked in so that was a pleasant surprise. The damage around town is catastrophic and the presence of Blackhawk helicopters flying west to the barrier islands is a constant reminder that there are rescues happening right now. We are blessed and thankful. We don’t have a plan yet for the church. Everyone is just trying to pick up the pieces at their own homes and communication is not easy. As soon as we have the resemblance of a plan, I will be in touch. Thanks for the prayers and support.”

We continue to pray for Living Faith Church, for Pastor Ed and family and church family.  We pray asking for the good reports of safety and health and provision for our brothers and sisters there, and for their neighbors and community. We will also be seeking and considering other tangible ways we can provide support for those affected by this great tragedy.

Our hearts always but especially in times like these turn to the Lord and His sure Word.  The promises of salvation for God’s people includes every trial and rescue from all marks of our fallen world.  May God provide and assure of His love and care, and for the love and truth of the Gospel to be present to and through His people.

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you…” Isaiah 43:1-2

- President Paul Larson

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