In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
Thanks to everyone who has helped in some way either with my recent trip to Joplin with my Church and/or assisting through other organizations and ministries.
I’m thankful that we were able to go and offer HOPE to hurting people who I’m confident God can and will heal over time. I’m thankful that not just my Church, but the entire Kansas City community pulled together to help our efforts. This trip wouldn’t have been possible without the community. Two news stations covered the effort which increased awareness. A local rental van company donated a cargo truck to us and mentioned to our pastor as they picked it up that numerous Churches in the area have called with requests and they just can’t do it and my Pastor mentioned, “You do know that we are a Church right?” But for whatever reason, they donated the truck to be sent, that is so amazing! Over $4500 was donated in cash contributions in addition to a LARGE moving truck and one cargo van full of baby products, water, hygiene products, flashlights, food, dog food, toys, etc. I know this trip was a HUGE blessing to those who will benefit as well as all who were able to give and help if even in a small way.
I’m so thankful that I was able to go along on this trip to Joplin on Memorial Day along with over 30 others. Ths trip made and impact and left an impression on our hearts and I know that it helped the people affected by the devastation in Joplin. The best way I can sum up our trip is “successful.” We went to serve and serve is what we did.
When we got there, you have to register and they send you where they see fit. We first unloaded our two truckloads at Ignite Church which is overseeing a lot of the relief efforts along with Convoy of Hope. The Church has completely destroyed their parking lot and removed everything that made them your typical “local Church,” in order to actively work and serve the community and I loved seeing that. What used to be a Sunday school room is now filled floor to ceiling with diapers. The entire back of the Church has become a storage area full of toilet paper, paper towels and dog food. What was a sanctuary is now a food pantry and they’ve driven huge metal stakes in the parking lot (literally ruining it, it’ll have to be redone when this concludes), in order to set up tents where they’re serving free meals, providing needed items to families and medical assistance. That really, really said a lot to me.
After unloading the items we brought, (and me getting a tetanus shot that I later found out I didn’t really need – I only add this because if you know me well, you know that I am TERRIFIED of needles…but I did it J), we were sent offsite in a neighboring city where we unloaded, sorted and reloaded 3 semis jam packed with stuff…I never realized how large a semi was until walking the length of one, inside the truck, repetitively, for hours with loads of items in my arms.
By the end of the day, we were all tired and exhausted but everyone responded in almost the same way, “I’m tired, but in a good way.” The dread is taken out of work when you know you are SERVING with a purpose, it becomes hard work that is well worth it. Our 1 day trip is nothing compared to what will be required over the next months to even years to rebuild and help those in Joplin, Mo. We worked non-stop for nearly 7 hours sorting donated items and organizing things and that’s 7 of who knows how many more.
It was easy to just consider it a normal work/serve day and forget what we were really there doing and whom we were actually helping until we drove through the devastation site before leaving. The best I can describe it is unreal! After spending all day in an area completely unaffected, it was easy to think that things just aren’t as bad as they were portrayed on the news until we drove through to witness the most unreal thing I’ve ever seen. In the car I was in, we all said almost simultaneously, “OH MY GOODNESS!” Then there was just a hush! It just seems unreal to grasp and really wrap your mind around.
Can you imagine, we live in the Midwest, tornado alley, where we are used to hearing tornado sirens regularly throughout this season. I was telling a friend that we’ve grown so used to it that it almost feels like the boy crying wolf. We hear sirens and don’t pay it much attention and honestly, as a Kansan, most of our initial responses are to either 1. Go outside to look, or 2. Get in the car to find the severe weather. We don’t take these things nearly as seriously as they are. So imagine them doing like most of us are used to doing, going to their basements half-heartedly and not really expecting much to come from it. In a matter of minutes, lives are lost, livelihoods are forever changed and nothing is the same. These people crawled up from their basements, through rubble, to find nothing left but destruction and likely images that will forever be embedded in their minds. Horrific sights. I cannot imagine.
Keep the people of Joplin and those who’ve lost loved ones in Joplin in your hearts. If you are able, I encourage you to help however you see fit. Easily, this could’ve been or could be us.
|Loading a truck with donated items at Church|
|Unloading items in an assembly line at Ignite Church in Joplin|
|Our group from Lifepointe Church that went to Joplin, MO for tornado recovery work - Memorial Day 2011|
|Just one image of the devastation caused by the deadly Ef-5 tornado that struck Joplin, Mo on May 22, 2011|