Last week, much of the central, southern and northeastern parts of the United States were hit with a severe snow and ice storm. Arkansas has been hit especially hard. The Brothers and Sisters of Charity, a monastic community headed by well-known Catholic performer and recording artist John Michael Talbot, is in the thick of this disaster as their hermitage is located in near Eureka Springs. You may recall that last year, the main buildings of the Hermitage were destroyed in a devastating fire and the membership has just started rebuilding. John Michael details what happened in this letter:
Brothers and Sisters,
Little Portion Hermitage has suffered the full weight of the recent severe ice storm. We have been cut off and without power since around 10 PM Monday night. The weather is now clearing and warming, but we are still without power, phones, and internet until mid to late next week according to "reports." There is little information available.
Currently we are low on diesel for generators to run limited electric for lights, water, and some heat. We do have small propane heaters for places without adequate heat. We only wood heat in a couple of places.
Our mountain road is still impassible for anything but farm trucks with chainsaws to cut their way out due to fallen trees. At least tire chains are no longer necessary. We will be seriously clearing this in the next couple of days. Then cars and the diesel trucks can come and go. But fuel is in low supply, and at best that will only provide minimal electric.
We are considering evacuation of some of our 35+ people as a last resort, with a skeletal work crew left at the Hermitage. Hopefully it will not come to that.
This has made us painfully aware that old backup systems were not maintained and updated. We will be correcting that as soon as we are out of this immediate crisis.
Please pray for us that power will be restored, or minimal provisions can be supplied and maintained. Pray for those even harder hit. I cannot imagine facing this alone without community. We are blessed.
He followed up with another note when asked how people could help:
The Hermitage has been hit by the largest natural disaster to hit northern Arkansas in recent history. We have been told that it could be up to three weeks before power is restored to our area.
Many have asked how they can help us. People have offered places to stay, propane and heaters, and volunteered labor.
We could really use donations for extra generators and the thousands of gallons of fuel we are, and will be consuming to keep the monastery, our ministries, and the farm going.
Please pray about a generous gift to help us through this overwhelming natural disaster.
Using your credit card, you can send your donation to http://www.troubadourforthelord.com/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=415.
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