Our church sent a small group to Joplin to do whatever was asked to help out. The scope of the damage is so great, that even after spending two days over there cleaning, sorting, and raking, I am overwhelmed at what is still left to do for that community. On the plus side, thousands of volunteers have streamed into the area to offer their support. Many pounds of relief items, especially water, were on display during our visit. Here are some photos of our recent visit.
We stayed at the First Nazerene Church. This congregation is opening its doors to groups coming in to help out with the situation, and prior to our departure I learned that many other groups were calling in to “make reservations” at the church for overnight accomodations. This church was not affected by the tornado and is doing its part to aid those who are rebuilding their homes, businesses, and lives.
College Heights Christian Church and St. Paul’s Church are also making an impact. These two congregations had numerous members whose homes and businesses were devastated, and they are also living through the reality of funerals and grief counseling. I was impressed with them both for their energy and willingness to open their facilities, especially St. Paul’s whose building was literally torn in half (they lost their worship center) but they were using the part they had left.
I am grateful to the MO-CBF for its efforts to coordinate volunteers, who are coming to Joplin in the thousands. It is a good problem to have, and poses a challenge for churches and leadership to put people where they need to be. Bob and Joyce Barker are doing a great job with this, and our group benefitted from their contacts and desire to make our time beneficial.
We will continue to pray, give, and look for ways to help out in the future.