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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Joplin Trip Day 2

When we last left our intrepid Joplineers, they were horsing around on the Illinois/Missouri border.

To recap, car troubles kept us from making Joplin on Day 1. A good friend of mine whose family runs a ministry at a place called Cornerstone Farms, put us up for the night. In the morning of Day 2 some helped with the chores before breakfast.

After breakfast and a short devotional, we prayer walked around the property asking God to continue to use this place and people for His kingdom.

After that, we hit the road once again hoping to reach Joplin by day's end. The thing is, this time we actually did.

Just a little sidebar about delays: Delays are what we call them, I am not sure that God calls them that. When we left Faith Ares on Monday, few of us had heard about Cornerstone Farms, and none of us planned to stay there. We planned to travel 1 day, work 4, and return on Saturday. I think God wanted us to experience being helped when we were in need just prior to helping others in need.

Perhaps you feel like you should be doing something different in your life and God is somehow got you on a holding pattern. As many of you know, I would rather not be the one home schooling my kids. Amy is more suited to it, but I have been unable to find a job that would allow her to stay at home and do the job she loves. So often I feel like our family is in a holding pattern.

After we took off from Cornerstone Farms we came to the Missouri/Illinois border. This of course brings two things to mind: the gateway arch and marshmallows. Well maybe not marshmallows. We have a family tradition of shouting marshmallow as we cross state lines. We made the other vehicles aware of this "fun" little eccentricity and marshmallow was yelled by many.

The rest of the trip there was relatively uneventful except that we were driving in 110 degree heat and the bus AC decided to break down. Windows, it turns out, are more than just a computer platform. You can open windows up in a vehicle, and a cool breeze will circulate in said vehicle. I guess they do have an app for that.

We arrived at our destination late on Tuesday afternoon. Lighthouse First Christian Church in Carthage, MO. Carthage is a neighboring town of Joplin. FCC housed us and fed us breakfast and dinner on the trip.

After using amenities like showers and ping pong tables, we had dinner. Then the pastor's wife took many of us to see the tornado affected areas of Joplin.

Team members who were there in June attested to how much had changed since they had last been there. The devastation was still palpable. We drove by the Joplin High School that had been hit hard by the tornado. You may have already heard this story but it is still worth repeating. The sign on the high school was ripped apart and the O and the P were all that remained in Joplin. After the storm someone duct taped an H before the O and an E after the P, so the sign now read HOPE HIGH SCHOOL.

I did not get a clear picture of that sign but did get one of this.

One of many signs encouraging faith in the midst of disaster.

We stopped our car and saw a team just finishing work for the day.

Then we visited a church that had major damage done in the tornado. Here is a video of me explaining the damage . . .

While we were there we discovered 1 banner and several hymnals including the pianist's hymnal that were just sitting there outside in what was once the inside of the church. While we were there, a family who attends the church came over. They told our team a little more of what happened that night. There were people in the church that night but no one was killed or I believe injured. We gave the hymnal to that family, who said they would give it to the pianist.

As we drove back to our home for the week, I had a feeling of being both overwhelmed and inspired by what I saw. I debriefed with Spider Droid on the way back to see how he was feeling by what he saw. The church we saw had made an impact on him as had many of the other sights. He tried to describe it to his sister on the telephone but the words didn't do justice to what he had seen. Tomorrow,I thought, we could start putting some of those words into actions.

Next Time: Perception and Reality

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