“It was just the right thing to do,” Hester said. “This is part of what it means to be a church here, to be part of the Gallatin Valley. This is our backyard.”
Hosting the Red Cross shelter coincided with vacation Bible school at Hope Lutheran, but church members and school leaders pivoted to accommodate the shelter, too, and helped haul in supplies for the Red Cross.
“It’s important to give people shelter, physically, emotionally, and spiritually,” Hester said. “We aim to live that out.”
Red Cross disaster volunteer Linda Racicot of Bozeman said it was a challenge finding a place for evacuees with the usual location in Livingston under flood risk and many other churches tied up with vacation Bible schools.
“What a relief to have a place where we could open, and how generous of them to make room for us,” she said. “They were flexible and generous.”
The unprecedented flooding has caused heartache throughout the region and around the world among people who love the Yellowstone area.
“It’s just heartbreaking to hear the stories of loss and devastation, the loss of homes, the displacement of people and animals,” Linda said. “We were grateful we could provide a safe place to nourish people, a place for them to clear their heads and decide what they’re going to do next.”
The church also accepted donations to for the Red Cross response and for the Montana Synod Disaster Response Team, and, of course, offered prayers for those affected “people, animals, all of creation – and for those who stepped up to help in times of trouble.”