Thursday, August 4, 2011

For Good

Yes, the title is in reference to the song from Wicked.  No, I am not graduating from high school, moving away, or anything of that nature.  Not only does this song exemplify what I'm about to tell you about, but we also broke out in song (this one, among others) many times during our trip.

The weekend before last, I went with my young adult Bible study group on a mini mission trip to Joplin, MO.  The trip was such an amazing time of fellowship for our group while being purposeful and serving others!

While we were there, we volunteered at two different distribution centers.  The town of Joplin was very blessed to receive so many donations, but it took/takes a lot of work to sort everything that came in and make sure the appropriate items get to those who need them most.  I love sorting/organizing, so this was actually fun for me - despite the heat.  We really enjoyed working and talking with other volunteers.  Unfortunately, the distribution centers were closed to the public, due to the high heat indices, so we didn't get to interact much with Joplin residents.  The little interaction we did have with the locals, though, was really great - heard some amazing stories.  There was also an article (click here to go to it) in the paper when we were there titled "22 Miracles in May."  (The tornado occurred on May 22nd.)  This article told 22 stories of survival and hope - pretty amazing...I'd read it, if I were you.  

I'll let some pictures describe the rest of our time there:
Our accommodations at a church in a neighboring community.   Such nice, genuine people and gracious hosts!
The first distribution center - we moved items from these tents to shelving in more permanent structures.
Hooray for organizing!
The path of the storm is between the curved lines.  I think the length of it was 6 miles...I think.
Former strip mall.
They've made a lot of progress as far as debris clean-up goes.  Many lots were ready for rebuilding.
It was amazing to see some houses still standing, while ones next door or across the street were completely gone.
The play place was the only part of the restaurant that survived.
High school
Do you see the books till on the shelves and posters still on the wall?!  This blew us away...stood in awe for awhile.  It kinda reminded me of things that are still in tact on the Titanic.  Strange correlation, I know, but I had a Titanic-obsessed brother.  : ) 
"Joplin High School" became "Hope High School"
Yep - that's a guard rail.  This also gives you an idea of what the trees looked like.  Sooo many were lost, and what is left of them (the trunks and some large branches) have sprouted leaves in an effort to survive.  We were told, however, that they won't make it and will have to be taken out.


A lady from the church in Lincoln that sponsored us survived the tornado in this stairwell.  The woman next to her did not.
Distribution center #2
Misti initially volunteered to do a few loads of laundry for those in need of clean clothes.  Her efforts turned into accepting semi truck loads of donations.  She plans to build a permanent, nationwide distribution center.  Look it up!
We took her some supplies she'd requested via Facebook, and also surprised her with some flowers "just for her."
This is a very small piece of the epic game of Telephone Pictionary we played on the way home.  Goooood times!  

I'm so glad to have had the opportunity to go on this trip and serve the survivors in Joplin.  I'll be honest and tell you that I was contemplating staying behind, because I had hardly had a weekend at home all summer.  As it turns out, though, God had me where He wanted me...and where I needed to usual.  : ) 

Hope your weeks are going well!  Look forward to a post about what I did this last weekend...and the crazy week to follow!  


Favorites of the day:
the break from the heat!
having a new coopmate : )

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