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CENTRAL CITY, Ky. (8/25/14) — Last week the sunny Sunday afternoon on Aug. 17 quickly turned into an enormous flash flood and EF0 tornado in Central City.

In many parts of the town, reports came in of more than a half a foot of rain in less than an hour. In many cases, the amount was more, much more, depending on where you lived. Downtown stores suffered some flooding, and many homes and roofs were damaged.

Living Word Church, located on Phillip Stone Way in Central City, was having a singing practice for a large group of young people at the time the flash flood hit. They made it out safely, according to the church's pastor, Enoch David Rich, but just barely.

"That was the first of many miracles we experienced in the past seven days," Rich told SurfKY news. "After sustaining flood damage from well over fourteen inches of water inside the church building, church members and total strangers have literally walked in off the street and asked us what they could do to help. The church is now open for the business of God's love, thanks to these people. That said, there is still much to do, The water literally came in like a wave, and washed through the entire church building in minutes. The parking lot got much more water than we did inside. We lost more than six thousand feet of carpet, flooring, water soaked dry wall and at least four vehicles were destroyed, including both of our church vehicles. But we are still here."

SurfKY News visited the church this past weekend, just a week after it was under water. There were nothing but smiling faces, and people busy cleaning up, and preparing for the Sunday, Aug. 24 services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Services went on as scheduled. That in itself, Rich said, was a miracle.

"We can't say enough about our members, the community, the county, and total strangers who have helped," Rich said. "We had a couple walk in and tell us they were going to the mountains for a vacation, but they couldn't go knowing the Lord's house was in disarray. They were not members here but they handed me $500. This was their vacation money."

Rich noted that special thanks need to go to Ray Stanley, Dwayne George and Terry Amos at Amos Supply, Tri City Lumber, Pace Tire, River Church in Nortonville, Awakening Church in Powderly, and a lot of people and businesses I am probably leaving out right now. It has been a long week, but we are amazed to have come this far, this fast. God is at work in this. We had talked about pulling out the carpet. Now we'll have to. But we now have youth gatherings called Craves, and the carpet has been one area we looked at changing. Now we'll have it replaced with decorative flooring that is much cheaper than carpet, and more durable for our purposes. This will make us more efficient."

At this time, Rich said it doesn't look like insurance will cover much, if any of the damage.

"I still don't really know if insurance will cover anything," Rich said. "But one thing I do know. I have had time to look back over the past week now, and there is one major thing that jumped out at me. There has not been a single person who has come in this church wringing their hands, going 'What are we going to do?'. People have come in here on their own time and spent fifteen plus hours a day since Monday pulling up thousands of square feet of carpet, carrying almost two hundred chairs in and out of the sanctuary, and totally cleaning everything with bleach. Yes, it has been a lot of work, with a long way to go, but It's been very uplifting in its own way to go through this experience. There's one thing I can tell you for sure. This church has never been so clean since we moved here."

Sunday's 11 a.m. service at the Living Word Church was packed. And the more than two hour celebration featured words of comfort for the congregation.

"I confess," Rich said. "When I came down here and looked at the water surrounding our church last Sunday, I really wondered how you all would feel, and what I would say to comfort you. We will make it through our church's flood. But every one of you is going through your own flood. If we stay close to God, the enemy will never succeed."

The service ended with live music featuring a band made up of largely young people. All ages were dancing in the aisles, brooms in hands, singing and laughing. It was hard to believe that just seven days earlier, this church was under water. The next big task is going to be dry wall installation, according to Rich.

"Anyone who knows about dry walling would be a big help to us know," Rich said.

Monetary donations can be made at First National Bank in Central City. Checks should be made out to the Living Word Church flood damage account. Call (270) 754-5108 to find out how you can help.

Paul McRee
SurfKY News
Photo by Paul McRee

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