Stories: When You Pass Through the Waters I Will Be with You

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When You Pass Through the Waters I Will Be with You

When You Pass Through the Waters I Will Be with You

- by Ashley Wilkins, R.N.
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When You Pass Through The Waters I Will Be With You For as long as I can remember, one of my passions has been helping others. As the medical outreach director for Hand of Hope, the outreach arm of Joyce Meyer Ministries, I have traveled all over the world, along with our teams of volunteers, helping people by providing the medical and dental care they desperately need. 

I am much more comfortable helping others, but recently, after historic flooding swept through my hometown, I found myself on the other side of disaster, receiving help in my own time of need.   

The excitement from Christmas hadn’t even settled when the Meramec River, which runs by my family’s home in Missouri, began to swell from days of rain. There was some speculation of flooding, but no one ever thought the river would reach record heights.

Based on early reports, we calculated that the water could fill our basement and climb within 3 feet of the first floor of our home. So to play it safe, we over-prepared by putting everything we could in our attic and moving all our furniture up high onto tables. And as the steady rains continued, we were forced to leave our home. 

It was then that officials upped their water-level predictions by 6 giant feet. My husband and I tried to return by boat to save what we could, but the intense currents and floating debris made the journey way too dangerous. That’s when we began to digest the heartbreaking reality that our home, and all of our belongings, could be destroyed.

My thoughts ran to the irreplaceable photos hanging on the walls, all the memories, and all the little things that might be washed away forever. But through it all, I made the choice to hold onto hope—hope that some of those little things might survive and hope that our family would make it through the storm.

As the water began to recede, we were able to return to assess the damage. Our house had been submerged in 5 feet of muddy water, making it almost a total loss. And it wasn’t just our home, but my parents’ home and my brother’s home and many more families’ homes throughout the area, that were devastated by the flood. 

But hope came in knowing that we weren’t alone in what we were facing. Hand of Hope, Joyce Meyer Ministries World Missions, Service International, Convoy of Hope and many others helped us with the initial flood clean-up process—giving us a great start to begin again. Volunteers worked tirelessly to remove drywall and carry our possessions onto the lawn so we could make important decisions about what to salvage. How ironic, all the many times I have traveled around the world to help others in their time of need, I was now on the receiving end of assistance in my own personal disaster.  

Going through this flood has given me a whole new perspective for those who are hurting. For me, it’s hard to be the one who’s receiving help. But my family and I were amazed and overwhelmed with gratitude to watch the people of God as a whole come in and reach out to us during our time of need. We’re so thankful for the ways He uses others to surround us with His love right when we need it the most.

Quick Snapshot of Relief Efforts to Missouri Flood Victims

  • More than 135,000 pounds of relief products delivered
  • At least 6,413 families served
  • Nearly 200 volunteers helped
  • 88 properties cleaned

Hand of Hope