Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Help continues in Joplin

Did you guys get to see the Extreme Makeover Joplin? I had already seen the houses because my friend Jay had taken pictures of them and posted on Facebook. I REALLY liked the beach house and we're thinking of how we can duplicate that look on our own house. I think it was the fencing that did it... I felt like I was walking down the boardwalk and the ocean was just over the next dune. Loved it!
 Joplin is still taking time to rebuild and our church still goes every other week to help. This week they had to take 2 van fulls. It gets expensive, but it's worth it. They've led many people to Christ.. 2 weeks ago 9 people gave their hearts to the Lord! We were able to go in the summer so I wanted to put this video on here of our testimony. Joplin holds a sad and special place in our hearts. It's close.. we've been there often and it's between our house and where our Grandparents used to live in Oklahoma. We were always glad to see that we were getting closer when we came across the Joplin turn offs!
 On the Sunday the tornado happened Ben and I had just started mowing our huge yard after church. I'm always the one saying that it HAS to get done. The sky started looking really weird... light and pink to the east and dark to the west. We knew a storm was setting in and we knew it would be a hard one. Then Ben got a call from the radio station in Springfield that he worked for at the time, KTTS. He stopped me on the mower and told me that Joplin was just hit by a tornado.. a big one.. and he was being sent there. I started praying. Praying for the people there and praying for my husband's safety.
 While Ben was driving there the storm was making it our way. I wasn't worried and I really wanted to keep mowing so before he left I told him to call if the weather got bad and Aybrin would come tell me to get off the mower. He called and said it was moving our way so I'd better go in. I tried to stay out but the sky gave me a clue and I went in. Then my brother-in -law (who lives in Forsyth, south of us) said they were already in a tornado shelter and I'd better get to safety. So I decided to run the kids over to Mom's basement. Almost stepped on a huge 6' snake getting out to the car but we made it. We stayed in the basement until it passed then headed home thankful for God's protection.
 I couldn't get in touch with Ben. We heard people couldn't get through because there was a leak at the hospital so I didn't even know if he made it or not. I stayed awake until about 4 AM waiting to hear from him.. waiting to see if he was OK. He finally made it home. I was so relieved but his face was so sad. The things he saw while he was there was devastating. He was driving over electrical power lines just to get through the town. It was horrid.
 We were back in Joplin the next weekend because we went to a family reunion in Joplin. We heard amazing stories of how God protected our families and friends. Then about a week after that Janiece and I headed up there with the kids to buy a copy machine. We had been talking to an office about getting it before the tornado and it was still intact. By this point Joplin was looking a little better but still speechless. It was so sad seeing all the homes leveled and blown out by the wind, to see huge 100+ year old trees with their roots stretched skyward instead of their branches. It was indescribable. 
 Our church immediately put forth relief efforts to help. We were excited and had wanted to go! We were finally able to in the summer. It was stressful with the kids in 100+ degree weather but it was awesome. We're so glad we were able to go and help. We restocked and organized shelves of toys, books, diapers, clothes, anything we could do to help. We're hoping to go back soon. It's a great experience for kids to think of how they can be a blessing to others instead of just being self centered.
 So that's our Joplin story. It's lengthy but I know in a couple of years when I look back on this blog I'll be so glad that I recorded it!

If you would like to help with the continued efforts of Joplin you can visit www.fwcbranson.com and then contact Helping Hands or call 417-335-8555 to speak with someone from Faith and Wisdom Church in charge of Helping Hands Ministry.

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