“We had a bed, carpeting, paneling, desk, bookcases—a lot of stuff stacked down there for storage—and all of that went out in the garbage. It was all ruined. Everything.”
Mary Stroik lives with her husband, Frank, in the rural Wisconsin township of Spring Prairie, about 40 miles southwest of Milwaukee. Like many other homes in that part of the state, her basement flooded in July as several inches of rain poured down during a middle-of-the-night thunderstorm.
She first recognized something was wrong when she woke up at 6 a.m. and heard a familiar yet unexpected sound. Their sump pump—a standard fixture in many Wisconsin farmhouses that lifts water out of the basement and away from the home—was running nonstop.
This was a troubling sign for a piece of equipment that will often run for a matter of seconds and then automatically turn off.
Mary went to investigate and saw that their basement was totally flooded.
“I woke my husband up and I said, ‘We need to get this water out of here,’”she recalled.
To make matters worse, the electricity soon went out as well, meaning that even the pump—the only means for moving such a large amount of water out of the basement—was no longer working.
“We had a really, really hard time,” Mary said. “We didn’t know how we were going to do it because of our age, by ourselves.”
Mary and Frank are active and resourceful, but at 86 years old, Frank wouldn’t be able to overcome this metaphoric ocean in his home.
Help was on the way, however. Volunteers with Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team soon showed up on their doorstep to offer physical, emotional and spiritual care.
“Samaritan’s Purse sent a team of wonderful, wonderful young men,” she said. “They just went down there in the dark with no electricity. Helped us get everything out of there, the water out of there, everything. We can’t thank them enough. What a blessing!”
And when the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains encouraged Mary to tell her story, she was all too happy to talk about her Savior.
“I can’t tell you enough about our God. He’s an awesome God,” said Mary, tears forming in the corners of her eyes. “I’ve been saved for 42 years. And God has never, ever let me down yet. He’s always been with me. I’ve felt His hand; Him right by my side through this whole thing.”
“I can’t believe those who don’t know Him, how they could make it through this because I know I couldn’t do it. I depend on Him. He’s my refuge, my rock, everything.”
A smile crossed Mary’s face as she recounted visiting with the chaplains. “They just prayed with us. They were so great. It just brightened my whole day.”
Mary and Frank’s home is just one of many that was impacted by the storm front that brought struggle and sorrow across a wide swath of Wisconsin and Illinois. The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains will be on-site for the foreseeable future as they seek to bring the comfort and hope of Jesus into difficult days.
Please continue to pray for those who are still being affected by the disaster, and for the volunteers who are helping in the recovery.
“Where two or three are gathered, God is there in their midst,” said Mary. “I take prayer constantly. Even at church they wanted to know what I needed, and I said prayer. Just prayer. God answers prayer. I’ll take prayer any time, day or night.”
Thank you for praying!