- EF5 Tornado (200+ MPH Winds) _ Now they say there may have been multiple vortexes in the tornado.
- Deadliest Tornado in the US in over 50 years
- Death toll is 154
- 990 People were injured
- Possible cost to rebuild Joplin is estimated at $3 billion.
Words cannot describe the amount of devastation we saw while we were up there. As far as the eye could see there were homes piled up in rubble. We saw personal belongings 30 feet up in the air on a tree. We saw photographs of memories frozen in time yet torn apart by the storm. We saw whole houses destroyed except for the spaces where the people were hiding for shelter. I remember the plagues of Egypt in the book of Exodus and how much damage the plagues of hail did and I thought about that as I walked up and down the streets.
The first house we went to belonged to a lady named Laura who was a single mother of seven. She came up to me in tears and all I could do was hug her as she wept in my arms. As the teenagers brought rubbish within ten feet of the road her she was looking at everything she owned being placed in a pile to go off to a trash heap somewhere. I dared not tell her “I understand what you’re going through” nor did I tell her that “everything was going to be alright.” Somehow none of that seemed important as I felt a longing to simply hug her as she wept. All she could say was, “Thank you…thank you…thank you!”
We spent another day putting a roof on a house and then another day cleaning trees and shrubs at a location that was going to house mobile homes for people who were displaced. It was tiring, back-breaking work but it felt like only a drop in the bucket. I shared with then teenagers about a story with my children. In our living room there is a section that has books where they can read or ask us to read them should they choose. Often they decide to throw the books all over the floor and then pile up other toys and it is not long that our living room looks like a disaster. Now, we always ask them to clean up and their response (usually Madelyn) is: “There is too much to clean we can’t do it!”
Now kids are prone to exaggeration but admittedly to a three year old a pile of books and toys seems like an insurmountable achievement. When they respond to me like they did I usually tell them, “Start with this book. Start with that toy.” I told the teenagers this story because I wanted them to know that their work was not in vain. No, we did not fix Joplin over night and we didn’t even finish cleaning some of the houses we started. But…we started with that pice of trash and then did what we could.
Joplin needs your prayers, your help and your assistance. Below is a YouTube clip of a person experiencing the tornado first hand in a gas station. It is well worth your attention. Blessings.