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Be On Mission: Second full day in Joplin, MO

July 28th, 2011 at 8:28 am

On May 22nd, an EF5 tornado struck Joplin, Missouri resulting in widespread death and destruction. In response, Texas Baptists is sending a team of about 160 volunteers to meet the needs of residents there. Follow the team by reading field reports from Elizabeth Biedrzycki on texasbaptists.org/share, Facebook, and Twitter. This mission opportunity is the first in a series of projects soon to be available at beonmission.org, Texas Baptists’ online global missions locator.

Yesterday was eye opening. As our volunteers sorted through the rubble of an almost destroyed low-income apartment complex, they uncovered children’s toys, jewelry, bill folds, legal documents, high school class rings and many other personal things of the previous residents. It was an emotional experience to see these uncovered treasured objects of these families. As the teams of volunteers found these items they placed them on the curb in front of the complex, so that they could be collected and given to those to whom they belong.

It was going to cost this apartment complex roughly $600,000 to sort the rubble left by the tornadoes. However, the help of volunteers has alleviated $500,000 of that cost. That number isn’t a pat on the back. It’s a call to action. The community will be in need of volunteers for many years to come. Some are saying that things won’t get back to normal for another five years. It has been encouraging to see the amount of church vans and buses driving these streets. May God continue to convict the hearts of his people to reach out and serve.

Today, some of the volunteers will be going to visit a location in Joplin where groups of those who lost their homes are residing in tents. So far, all of our conversations with Joplin residents have been extremely humbling as they express their emotion and concern for others around them. Please pray for our interactions with these survivors.

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