Pastor Michael De Luca

 Just about daily Mike De Luca, pastor of FBC Darrington, WA, dispatches an update on what has unfolded on that particular day as he ministers in the aftermath of the Oso Landslide Disaster. The following reports provide an overview of the various ways Pastor Mike has shown the love of Christ to the hurting in his community. Mike has been able to dispense significant funds because of the generosity of ABC-NW churches and OGHS monies given through American Baptist churches nationwide. As you read the report please pray for Pastor Mike, the Darrington congregation and all the people who have been effected by the landslide. Sunday, May 4

In church I announced my desire to ring the bell for Kaylee 6 times on the 6th of May for her 6th birthday. After church a mother came up to me and asked if her 5 year old daughter could draw her a picture and send it to her. Their daughters were the same age, and said that she would be grateful if she were in that situation. She had been in a similar situation and knew firsthand how much that would mean to the mother.  I said I would check with Kaylee's mother but thought it would be OK.

Then she began to tell me the story of her own life. She was in an accident when she was a child and saw her father and 4 year old brother die. She was traumatized at the time but thought she got over it. Twenty years later when she had her own son turn 4 it hit her hard. All those memories of her brother's death began to flood into her mind and she told me she began crying uncontrollably.  She said she had bottled up those feelings for two decades. She was young at the time but still knew what was going on.   But, she did not know how to handle her feelings for the long term.

It reminded me that these families who have gone through so much pain and loss from this mudslide will continue to feel the effects of it.  Even though they might show their strong side now, in the future these memories will bring them pain for years to come.

 

Saturday, May 3

Another  memorial service takes place today in Everett for Ron De Quilletes, a loving Christian, husband and father, who was working down on Steelhead drive on March 22, 2014. He leaves a wife La Rae of 31 years and a 16-year-old daughter at home.  You by your generous donations through so many churches are giving each $1000.00 and are sharing the love of Christ through those funds.

 

Friday, May 2

Tracy Franke, our elementary school principal, was in our youth group as a young person, went to camp and became a believer in our Lord Jesus Christ. She was friends with my daughter, became a teacher and then the principal. So, I have known her for over 35 years.  I visited with her about remembering one of her students, Kaylee Spillers, who was killed in the landslide along with her father and siblings. I told her I had a gift from our Baptist churches for Kaylee's class, and would like to present it to the class with the teachers permission.

I told Jonielle, the mother, and she thanked me warmly for wanting to remember Kaylee.  I told her that there was a garden planted in her remembrance at the school where I am ordering a memorial bench made.  She said she planned to see the garden, but was taking a trip out of state the day after her daughter's birthday. She would have turned 6 on May 6th.  I told her I would ring our church bell on May 6th at noon six times to remember Kaylee.  I will also try to get others to join me by "honking their horn at noon 6 times on the 6th of May for Kaylee's 6th birthday."

 

Thursday, May 1

There have been many fine Christians who lost their lives in the mudslide between Darrington and Oso on March 22, 2014. The question I am asked, or hear at the memorials is: "Where was God?" Although the answer is difficult to answer to every ones satisfaction, I answer another unasked Question.

The answer is: We need to be ready at any moment to “meet our maker.”  We have no guarantee of another day on this earth. Sometimes we think we deserve to live until we are 90 or so, die naturally in our sleep and have plenty of time to get ready for eternity. The truth is that anyone of us could have been going by the road that was covered by that mudslide and die in a matter of seconds. We should always have eternity in our heart, receive our Lord Jesus as Savior and Lord, then we will be ready at any moment to meet our Savior face to face.

 

Wednesday, April 30

The bypass road was opened for the first time, so we went up and over to try it out. What joy we experenced to be able to go to our bank, favorite stores, get our medicine, eat at our favorite place, see our grandson and great granddaughter. It has been a long 5 plus weeks.

 

Tuesday, April 29

There is one man who is of this date not found in the landslide. Steve was instrumental in getting the "Foothills Christian Academy" into our church and was chairman of the school's board. His wife was a teacher in the school, and his children were students. We have been helping the family with electricity, schooling, house payments, etc. since the slide with your generous donations.

Below is an article about Steve, A fine Christian man:

 

STEVE HADAWAY

OSO — It was four weeks ago this morning that Steven Hadaway was swept away.

Since then, 39 bodies have been recovered from the debris fields left by the massive March 22 Oso mudslide. Hadaway is not among them.

The Darrington man’s name remains on the dwindling list of reported missing — a roster that as of Friday had been pared to four.

John Hadaway likes to think that is the way his big brother would have preferred it. He always figured that if there was a fire, Steven Hadaway would have been the last one out, making sure others were safe first.

“I believe that he would want everyone to be found before him,” John Hadaway said.

The Hadaways are grateful for each scoop of earth lifted and scoured in the search for the missing.

They know how daunting a task it has been. John and his brother, Frank, worked in the rubble for a time, breathing in gas and septic fumes in the rain and swampy mud.

In better weather, they helped retrieve relics strewn far and wide, buried in mounds of dirt and submerged in flood water.

“It was so horrible,” John said. “You feel like you are invading peoples’ privacy when you come across a photo. It just tears your heart out when you see a ball or a bicycle.”

Yet he also knows the importance to families and that the belongings are like bread crumbs on a trail leading to the lost.

Their own wait has been difficult, but they celebrate each time any family is reunited.

“We are just looking for the same closure,” John said. “It’s like we are treading water, just waiting for someone to pick us up.”

Steven Hadaway, 53, was installing a cable dish at a home on Steelhead Drive when the slide hit. A track of his rig’s GPS shows he arrived at the job at 8:15 a.m. The slide hit two hours and 22 minutes later.

Two other local men were installing a water heater at the home at the same time. William Welsh, 66, an Arlington electrician, and Stephen Neal, 55, a Darrington plumber, have been found. So has the home’s owner, Amanda Lennick, 31, a nurse who had just moved into the home.

Steven Hadaway moved to Darrington seven years ago because he craved rural life. He’d text his brothers pictures of Whitehorse Mountain and the natural beauty that surrounds his adopted small town, trying to make them envious.

He loved the idea of cutting firewood for winter warmth. Christmas was a favorite time. He’d bring out the strings of lights a month early, creating displays on his roof and across his yard. His would be the home everyone would drive by to see.

As a young man, Hadaway enlisted in the Marines.

Family and friends knew a softer side to the old leatherneck. They’d call him “a cream-puff Marine.”

Hadaway and his wife, Margaret, were foster parents before adopting three children — a boy with special needs and two girls. The couple would have celebrated their 31st wedding anniversary on Wednesday.

“Blood doesn’t make a family,” John Hadaway said.

Their son, Brandon, had a short life. He could neither walk nor talk when he died in 2000. He was 6, and in the first grade.

Steven affectionately would call his son Popeye. He later got a tattoo of the spinach-eating cartoon sailor on his forearm to honor his cherished child.

“They had a real heart for the underprivileged, people who were less fortunate,” said Jim Alexander, pastor for the Abundant Life Church of God of Prophecy, the church Hadaway attended. “He was just really good-natured. He loved his kids immensely.”

Hadaway had a deep faith in God.

That gives John Hadaway some solace as he imagines his brother’s last moments.

“I wouldn’t doubt one bit if he knew if the time came and he probably smiled and told God, ‘Here I come,’” he said. “He is with his son and with my mom. He is in a better place. That’s how I look at it.”

 

Monday, April 28

Every new week I look forward to the Lord bringing wonderful and fresh new people and experiences into my life.

The search for Kris and Steve in the landslide area is officially suspended today.  They are the last two missing in the slide, but they will look for evidence of them as they continue the operation.  The 100,000 yards of material on Hwy 530 will now begin to be removed, which could take one to three months.  Also, the power line gravel one lane emergency road will be opened to local traffic tonight.  Traffic will be led by a pilot car at speeds not to exceed 10 mph for the two mile detour up and over "Slide Hill."  The Hwy is vital to the survival of our little town.