As I blogged about the other day, this weekend we made the trek to Joplin to help out with the devastation from the tornado that swept through the town Sunday May 22nd. We arrived Saturday morning and reported to one of the Universities in town, and were taken by bus to the devastated area. It was the most eery feeling as we crossed from the area that was untouched, to the area that was just completely destroyed. You could tell it kind of came over everyone on the bus at one time. Everyone was talkative until we hit a certain point, then it was complete silence. I can't even begin to describe to you the things we saw. I was shocked, and all I could think was 'Oh my gosh, Oh my gosh' over and over. Thinking about what would we personally do if that ever happened to us. Thinking about what all the people must be feeling/going through. People that have no where to go, no clothes to wear, no food to eat, no jobs anymore, nothing. There were houses that were almost completely destroyed but a room or two, but yet there were still clothes hanging in the closet, WHAT?! We found multiple homes with no outside walls, their stuff scattered all over the yard, but yet there were still cook books lined up on a shelf in the kitchen. SO crazy!
We helped sort through debris all day, the guys brought their chainsaws and just went to town cutting down debris, while all the gals carried it to the curb. We also sorted through peoples belongings who hadn't been back home since the tornado, and tried to keep their personal items together somewhere on their porch/driveway/near where the house was or would have been. There were quite a few homes that had things spray painted on them, a few of their words shook me to my core, 'God is with us' and 'God bless us all' etc... Even through this total devastation, it's so amazing to see people keeping their faith. If you and your family are OK, your 'stuff' is replaceable. I know some keepsake items aren't replaceable, but the lives of your family are the most important. I really felt those words touch me. Gerrad's mom and I had a few conversations when we passed homes that had things about God written on them, how amazing it was to see that.
Our youth pastor at church took a few teens/leaders, and his son down to Joplin for a few days last week, and made the most amazing video. It's about 9 minutes long, but totally worth your time to watch it if you have a second!! I kept it together the whole day, I know God was giving me the strength, and honestly I was just so overwhelmed that I don't think it hit me until I saw this video at church the next day, then the flood gates opened. Please be in prayer for the people of Joplin, MO as they have a LONG road ahead of them. They are still in need of volunteers, and I would strongly encourage that if you live anywhere near Joplin, you make the trip and lend a hand. I know it touched me deeply, and made me feel great to help out. The residents were SOOO very thankful to all of the volunteers.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16
Even if you're not able to help directly, could you say a prayer for those who lost family members, and everything they own?