Our work continued on different projects on day 4.
We had the opportunity to visit with Erik Robinson. Erik and his family are from Indianapolis and came here after the tornado multiple times and ended up moving here. Erik is a general contractor and his wife runs a daycare center. They shared some stories they heard after the tornado. The associate pastor at the church they attend was driving around after the storm. He drove by the high school and noticed a drainage ditch filled with water and debris behind the school with a line of 15-20 workers. He drove closer and realized they were being baptized in the drainage ditch. Things like that help us understand why this tornado happened. Erik also shared a story about the Pizza Hut in town. The manager rushed all the people into the big refrigerator and could not get the door all the way closed. During the storm the door flew off the refrigerator and a disabled man was ripped out of his wifes arms and swept away. Erik is helping this women rebuild her house.
Erik’s wife, Jen, shared there were 17 daycares in Joplin destroyed during the tornado. The family they are staying with now was in the process of closing on a house when the tornado hit and that house was destroyed. Instead of finding another house they bought an empty warehouse to expand their daycare. The daycare they run was one of the few not hit by the tornado. She currently has a waiting list of 40. The daycare provider spent the first week after the tornado bathing and hugging children. There was one little girl terrified of the bathroom. During the storm the little girls family hid in the bathroom and she got trapped in the toilet.
As I listened to Eric’s story and he mentioned the need for grief counselors I felt the Holy Spirit flood my spirit and tears came to my eyes. That morning I was praying and I asked the Lord why I was chosen to come to Joplin, being one of the twelve. I asked him to show me my next step with him. There is a desperate need for this as the pastors are overwhelmed by their own tragedies and by listening every day to the horrific stories of his congregation. He told us that 80% of pastors who are in this situation leave the ministry. Eric went on and told me of a group called Stephen’s Ministry, a group of grief counselors who go to disaster sites and listen to the stories of the victims. This helps the people in the grieving process and starts their healing. I know this was an answer to my prayer of that morning. The Lord is so faithful to us when we pray for guidance. His work says he will equip us for every good work and I look back and see where he has already prepared me for this. Praise the Lord.
We went out to eat at Sue’s Chili Garage for supper and heard a few stories from a local woman who works at St. Johns hospital (the hospital that was destroyed). She said there were 180 patients the night of the tornado and only 6 of them died. The hospital shifted from its foundation 4 inches and lifted out of the ground, basement and all, 2 feet. The doctors and nurses were forced to make life and death decisions about who to evacuate. She also shared some of those doctors and nurses no longer work at the hospital.
There are so many stories to share, but we don’t have time to type them all out.
We would also like to inform you all that we have NOT met anyone that knows Brockett the Rocket! 🙂
We are looking forward to another full day of work!
Keep praying for the people of Joplin!!