For Leon Weder and his wife LaVonne, the 2011 flooding of the city of Minot flooded their memories of vivid images of their first flood and evacuation 42 years ago in 1969.
The couple, who resides in the 1200 block of Sixth Avenue Southwest, attended A Service of Prayer and Sacrament, a prayer service held at the Zion Lutheran Church on Thursday.
"The process of evacuating was similar, but our perspective had changed because of our age," LaVonne Weder said. "It wasn't quite as traumatic as it was the first time. The first time, our children were three and five months, and it was just a feeling of total loss. Now, we know what is important is our family and friends. Homes can be fixed."
Jason Blasco/MDN • Several Lutheran churches gather at A Service of Prayer and Sacrament at Zion Lutheran Church Thursday in attempts to mentally and spiritually heal from the flood.
The couple vividly remembered that Easter Sunday when they had to evacuate after they returned to Minot from a visit to LaVonne's parents in Tioga. The weather dramatically turned and caused the snow to melt, which caused the Souris River to rise. However, this time, Leon said it was quite a different sequence of events.
"The first one was such a surprise," Leon said. "This time, we knew because of the record, there was a possibility in December of the flooding to occur with snow at record levels."
The Service of Prayer, which was an event coordinated on Tuesday night, was designed to bring everyone affected by the flood closer, according to Ken Nelson, pastor of First Lutheran Church.
"The flood affected me personally," Nelson said. "I had to evacuate my home twice, and our church is on Fifth and Broadway."
Because of the demanding position of his job, Nelson claims he is struggling to find sleep.
"I am getting six hours a night," Nelson said. "But it's not good sleep, and it's kind of surreal. I have a wife and three daughters, and really know what life is going to be like on the other side of the flood."
Pastor Michael Johnson of Christ Lutheran Church in Minot has possessions scattered all over.
"On Wednesday, we had people in the church tell us 'we had to leave.' Personally, I had to evacuate my apartment across the street from the Arrowhead Shopping Center," Johnson said. "I got all of my stuff out Tuesday afternoon, and we moved our stuff out of the church."
The service lasted for about an hour and Bishop Mark Narum, of the Western Synod Evangelical Lutheran Church In America, said the whole point is to unite the human spirit.
"Events like this help pull us together. People need to be together, and remember what grounds us," Narum said. "We are going to confront fear, anger, and all sorts of things, so again we need to be reminded of who we are, and who we care about."