as i mentioned in the previous blog post...my mom and i (plus two friends) took an impromptu trip to serve in joplin, missouri for three days. i cannot tell you what i have seen these past few days. such devastation and damage. but one things they have...is hope.
pictured above: joplin high school. the j,p,l,i&n were blown away. h and e were added. "hope"
spending two days serving and ministering in joplin was a life-changing experience. i've never seen things like this in my life. brief snigbits on movies and the news...pictures here and there. but those could NOT have provided me with what i saw. mattresses shredded. roofing wrapped around trees. metal poles broken in half. glass broken. cars smashed. and houses non-existent. and it went for miles and miles.
pictured above: metal roofing wrapped around the bare trees.
the first morning we got to the "samaritan's purse international relief" building late so we were unable to attend orientation until that afternoon. so we were sent to work in the relief station where clothing, food, toiletries, etc were being donated by others, organized by volunteers, and given out to victims. me and my friend julie were able to work in the toy section and help take care of small children as their parents were finding household necessities. they got to take whatever they wanted home with them (there were OODLES of donations) and the sheer joy of getting toys was such a pleasure to see!
pictured above: one of the thousands of homes destroyed in the tornado
that afternoon, after the long awaited orientation, we were sent off to a team to start working in the field. we got on a bus and for the first time got to actually see the damage. it was heartbreaking. it was overwhelming. where to start?! we had been assigned a home that wasn't too terrible. as in, it had to be demolished but some was still standing. we were told the owners of the home were looking for the family Bible (very old). so we spent all afternoon clearing the front of the home and going through the house looking for anything the family might want to keep that wasn't destroyed. we ended up finding the Bible (very exciting!) and we got to give it to the owner and prayed with her and her husband. samaritan's purse also donated Bibles for all of the workers to sign and give to the owners. it was very special and we got to hear their story (they were in the CLOSET and survived!) about what happened during the tornado.
pictured above: a church not ready to give up even though completely destroyed. they're still meeting!
today was spend cleaning rubble all day. there was a lot of raking, shoveling, sweeping and picking up of branches and logs. we cleared several yards of homes not quite destroyed and the foundation of a house which had been COMPLETELY destroyed. interesting things of the day: an egg still whole with no cracks and a butterfly amongst the rubble (who loved me and would not leave me alone).
pictured above: even after all of the troubles and struggles, american flags were flying EVERYWHERE. i loved the patriotism that could be seen on every corner.
i shall end with this.
1. please keep ALL of the people of joplin (and the volunteers) in your prayers! there are so many needs and problems that still need to be addressed.
2. if you can, try to go and volunteer for a few days. there were people from ALL over the US. it was such a beautiful thing.
pictured above: a map with all the samaritan's purse volunteers and where they were from. support was coming from EVERYWHERE!