A place where thousands live and over a hundred have died, where no words can describe, no pictures can depict and no news program can broadcast the magnitude of what has happened. A place where I spent countless weekends with friends in high school, where I went for several youth group events is no longer recognizable in such a vast area.
Andrew, Jonathan and I left Saturday morning headed toward Joplin to start on what we knew was going to be a long work day. But it was so much more. Yes it was exhausting, but not just in the sense that we were physically exhausted. To help and see these people face to face adds a whole other level to what you can't get across in a photo.
There are so many generous people that can't tell you enough how grateful they are of the work being done. There are others who look at you and just stare. Not because they are angry or bothered that you are there, but because as they look around at what they used to know as their life they have no idea where to go or how to start over. Its already been a week but this will be something that will never leave the people of Joplin.
The boys helped with debris removal which is more difficult than you would think. Not in the sense of labor, but you can't just start removing things/trees from any home until the appraiser has come by. There are also places where they don't allow any workers because its too dangerous and the next step is to bulldoze what is left.
Amazingly through all of this it seems as though countless people are still seeing the good that comes with each day. There are so many uplifting messages that survivors have painted on their homes making you take a step back and reevaluate what's important in your own life and where we all agree is that is GOD and not all the stuff we think makes us who we are.
Here are a few pictures Andrew took on his phone while he was out.
I stayed at the church and helped to organize all the donations. This is where you REALLY see how amazing God is. The entire building was full to the brim of donations. There were 6 pods full of stuff and someone donated 3 large sheds from Lowe's that were also full by the end of the day. On top of that they put up a large tent and within a couple hours of it being up it was also full. Another amazing thing is by the end of my shift we were actually having to redirect people because we were F-U-L-L!!!
All the waters!
(Everything under the tarps is water too.)
This sweet little boy was helping bring in cleaning supplies from his parents car.
After our last donation I began walking around the parking lot looking at license plates.
Among the ones I saw were:
Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Florida, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah
(Click here to read another friends heart-wrenching Joplin story.)
This is one of many trips for Andrew and I to Joplin as this process will take most likely years to "finish." I will keep you updated on when we might be going again incase there is anyone close by who would like to caravan or meet up.
Thanks for checkin' in!!