Wash. Church a 'Beacon of Healing' after Mudslide

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The Oso Community Chapel held Sunday services for the first time since the deadly mudslide last weekend in Washington state.

The congregation is the only church in the area, and its members have been working non-stop to help with relief efforts.

The community came together Sunday to worship and console one another as they shared stories of God's grace in the midst of their pain and loss.

CBN's Operation Blessing staff are working with the church to help those affected by the tragedy.

The aid group made a cash grant to the church and is giving spiritual support to victims and community leaders.

The ministry also set up a communication post to help residents connect with family and friends on the Internet.

Oso Community Chapel Pastor Gary Ray said the church hopes to be a beacon of healing to the community.

"We have a heart to be a blessing now to area residents," Ray said.

"There's no way we would be able to do that effectively if it were it not for the support of great partners like Operation Blessing," he said. "They have come in, came quickly, provided love and prayer, financial support, material support, held our hands up, helped us move forward in a more organized and effective way, and I appreciate the ministry very much."

Meanwhile, the official death toll has risen to 18.

Authorities say they've recovered more than two dozen bodies but they won't add them to the official tally until a formal identification is made.

Thirty people remain unaccounted for.

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Charlene  Aaron

Charlene Aaron

CBN News Reporter

Charlene Aaron serves as a general assignment reporter and helps anchor for the CBN News Channel.  Follow her on Twitter @CharNews and "like" her at Facebook.com/CharleneIsraelCBNNews.