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Worshipers refused to let Florence’s floods stop them. They took boats to church

Flood waters rage over Hwy. 9 in Longs

The Waccamaw River surges over Hwy. 9 in the Longs Community. Friday, Sept. 21, 2018.
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The Waccamaw River surges over Hwy. 9 in the Longs Community. Friday, Sept. 21, 2018.

The congregation that worships at Living Water Baptist Church in South Carolina has given extra meaning to the church’s name.

Since Hurricane Florence hit South Carolina more than a week ago, they have been living with the water that has risen and flooded parts of their community in Longs, S.C.

It has forced them to adjust their lives in many ways. For some, that meant taking a boat to church Sunday.

Many neighborhoods and homes have been affected by floods caused by the deadly storm.

Others have been affected by flooding that has closed sections of major roads, including Highway 9, one of the area’s heaviest traveled roads, the Sun News reported.

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The Waccamaw River overflows it’s banks at Hwy. 9 in the Longs Community. Water began flooding the small community of Longs late in the week touching some homes that did not expect to suffer the flood’s wrath. September 21, 2018. Jason Lee jlee@thesunnews.com

That has limited travel and cut off parts of the community — including Living Water Baptist Church. Much of the congregation was unable to get to the church because of the flooding on Highway 9.

In the early stages of flood evacuations, Living Water Baptist Church was used as a shelter, WMBF reported Sept. 20. But those plans changed when it needed to be evacuated because flood waters could reach potentially the church’s door.

On Sept. 22, the church posted on its Facebook page that it was “PRAISING the LORD our church building survived the Hurricane & Flood!”

Along with that good news, the church also invited followers and congregation members to attend planned services Sunday.

The only issue with that plan was that many people were still unable to drive to the church because of the flooding. That did not deter all the parishioners.

A number of them used boats to get to the Sunday morning service, and try to re-establish a sense of normalcy to their lives since the hurricane.

“When we saw that the water wasn’t in, we knew we had to do something,” said Scotty Jacobs, who took a boat, along with his, wife Tara, through the Waccamaw River and flooded streets to get to the church, according to WBTW. “It was a matter of we’re gonna do it. It may take us a little while, we may have to start early, but we’re gonna be there.”

Travis Lee and his wife and two children also used a boat to get to the church, WBTW reported.

Both families said they were thinking of others who have suffered a much greater impact because of the storm, per the TV station. That was the theme of Sunday’s service at Living Water, which posted on Facebook “this will be a time of prayer for our community.”

After the service, the church’s Facebook page had a post of the turnout, along with two messages.

Praising the Lord for His faithfulness and protection in bringing us through the storm,” and “Praying for all those who have lost their home or been displaced.”

The Facebook page posts were filled with comments from people showing their appreciation for attending the service, or grateful that the church and its congregation are maintaining their faith after such a devastating storm.

That included Barbara Canipe, who owns a candy store and lives across the street from Living Water, all of which were flooded.

“We will be out of business for quite some time. It’s a real stressful thing,” Canipe said, according to WBTW. “I couldn’t do it if I weren’t a Christian and had faith. If it wasn’t for that, I couldn’t make it through this.”

The level of flooding caught many residents of the Wampee community in Longs off guard. The Williams family, who live off Collins Rd. in the Wampee section of Longs, rushed to get furniture out of the path of the flood on Friday.

Follow more of our reporting on Hurricane Florence

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