All Twisted Out
It is really hard to compose a blog when you spend every evening of the week sitting in front of the TV with the phone next to your hand and your purse and cat carrier by the door, waiting for the weather man to say, “Take shelter now.”
Since Sunday night, the evening the devastating tornado hit Joplin, my corner of Arkansas has been under one warning after another. One storm, one hail storm, one flood after another. We are tired, we are worn out, and we are thankfully done with this. My portion of the world came out pretty well, but not so far away, a different story. You know of Joplin, only 45 minutes away, devastated and partially destroyed. They lost, among others, some teenagers who graduated that night, only to come home and meet the end of their journey. A family member, who lives only an hour away, lost everything, including her beloved pet. I am incredibly grateful for the wholeness of my home and family.
All week I've listened to Joplin radio, where they've suspended the normal programming of Lady GaGa, Kesha, and Cee-Lo, and are doing 24 hour storm outreach, where people call in begging for information about missing loved ones or call in with offers for housing or some other form of assistance. I've heard the story of the manager of Pizza Hut gathering folks in the food cooler where the door wouldn't shut. He tethered it closed, but the tie wouldn't hold. So he held it himself. Until the wind proved too strong, and he was pulled out the door. This father of two sacrificed his life and saved a restaurant of people. There is the quirky story of the horse that was sucked into the tornado, only to land into a pool. . .and live. There is the Joplin church where the youth group was meeting when the warning sounded. They were right in the path of the massive EF-5 tornado going 200 mph. They began to pray together, and miraculously, the killer tornado skipped right over them and then continued its assault. I've visited this very church. It's a Healing Room location and opens up its doors once a week so their trained prayer warriors can pray for any who will come. The stories abound this week. As does the sorrow and grace. The hope and the tears.
If you would like to contribute to these devastated towns, from Arkansas to Missouri to Oklahoma and beyond, you can give to Samaritan's Purse, text donations to the Red Cross. (Go to Red Cross for your specific location you'd like to give to.) You can donate blood. Joplin currently has all they need, but that is because they've taken from local states who are now lacking. This week O negative has been a critical need. And finally, you can donate to Messenger International, a ministry of John and Lisa Bevere, who will give 100% of funds donated to disaster relief. You can read about their trust-worthy mission HERE.
And you can pray. As the DJ said on the Joplin radio station today, “Remember us three weeks from now. When everyone else has forgotten.” As my family was reminded a few weeks ago, life goes on, even when it's radically changed, forever altered, when the things that were. . .are no more. And that's when you need the prayer the most. These towns will need ours.