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But it was also a strain on a young marriage.
"This was something I wasn't prepared for as well," Jesse Krusemark said. "Being newlyweds, I didn't know how to console my wife in that situation. That's where I felt a lot more helpless."
Ministering to the pastor
Elizabeth Krusemark said that month was "a test." But she added that she and Jesse have a strong relationship and had endured a long separation while both were in school.
"In that first week, people were ministering to me, too," Jesse Krusemark said. "They were very encouraging to me as a young pastor."
With the minister in a shelter in Winona the morning after the flood, Sunday services were canceled. But a week later Grace Lutheran was open for worship. In his sermon, Jesse Krusemark spoke of building on the rock of faith, then helped clean the aisles and pews of muddy footprints.
By last Sunday, things appeared mostly normal at the church. The lights were on, the new furnaces were running and about 30 people were in the pews when the bells chimed for the 9 a.m. service.
But effects of the flood were still in evidence. A state Lutheran crisis consultation representative announced that she was there to help people dealing with grief, loss and other anxieties. Churchgoers were reminded of the free clothing, furniture and other supplies available at the Winona County fairgrounds. On the table next to the coffee percolator was a stack of Styrofoam cups labeled "Salvation Army."
In the basement, a complete overhaul has already cost $10,000 and isn't half done, Krusemark said.
But Saturday night, he had been able to carry wedding presents back into the parsonage basement. He's thankful he and Elizabeth won't have to be stepping around the boxes any more.
And there is the matter of perspective.
"This was not 40 days and 40 nights of rain. This was perhaps 40 hours," Krusemark said. "There were many people praying for it to stop raining, and that prayer was answered. So God is still listening and is still there as a comfort to us.
"We ought to give thanks for everything, because he has provided everything."
Bill McAuliffe 612-673-7646
Bill McAuliffe firstname.lastname@example.org