Day 1 – Highlights of traveling to Joplin:
*Gary (our driver) asked for directions
*Don (a man) had to go to the bathroom first
*The back of the van is the worst place to sit when going through construction (bumps)
We arrived at Westside Christian Church at 6:40 PM local time (7:40 PM at home). It was getting dark and we all piled in the van to drive around and look at the devastation. We went past the High School and Hospital and couldn’t believe the damage. Once we returned to the church we unpacked and settled in.
Day 2 – The work begins:
Derrick (our chef) made a wonderful breakfast of eggs and bacon. After breakfast we had a short devotional lead by Gary.
After the devotional we split into three groups and went to different parts of town to where help was needed. Group one moved a shed to a new location. This might sound like an easy task, but this shed was 12′ x 16′ and weighed almost three tons. The process was tedious but in one day we were able to move the shed onto a trailer.
Group two went to Tara and Richard McDonald’s house and installed bird boxes, redistributed a gravel driveway and started installing an HVAC System in their home.
We spoke to Tara about her experience in the tornado. She said the family of five was in an area about 3×3 when it hit. The tornado picked up the house and moved it roughly 25 feet (with them still in it). She cried out to Jesus to save them. They felt the presence of the Lord as a shield around them. They felt a calm peace come over them and their fear melted away. His protective arms were around them. Later their daughter said “Mommy, I saw Jesus during the storm and he assured me that everything was going to be ok”. Both her and her husband said they were glad they had the experience of the tornado because they felt the Lord’s presence in a way they had never experienced before. What a powerful and beautiful testimony of the faithfulness of our Savior.
The third group started building a shed for a family. A previous group put up the framing and our group put up the walls and enclosed the shed. This shed is for Cindy and she is a widow and lives with her two dogs. During the tornado she was in the bathroom with her dogs and her house had significant damage.
We all gathered back at the church around 5:15PM and cleaned up and ate supper at 6:00PM. After supper Don led us with an awesome devotion and we sang a few praise songs. After the devotion some played euchre and others read and talked.
Day 3 – The work continues:
We had the same routine with breakfast and a short devotion, this time by Derrick. The same three groups from yesterday went back and finished their jobs. Team one finished moving the shed from one yard to another and then started building a shed at Westside Christian Church.
The group at the McDonald’s kept working hard to finish their house. The third team went to the McDonald’s to help in the morning and then went back to building the shed they started yesterday.
We have just finished a wonderful spaghetti supper prepared by Derrick and we are ready to relax for the rest of the night.
We are looking forward to another full day or work tomorrow.
Blessings from Joplin