On May 20, 2013 an EF5 tornado
(The largest category there is in strength of a tornado)
Ripped through Moore, Oklahoma.
An elementary school directly in its path was no exception to the destruction.
6 children and 1 teacher- victim to the violent storm.
A total of 23 fatalities and injuring around 377 others,
Moore was again faced with loss.
In 1999 there was an even deadlier tornado that had struck the area.
This was a reminder of how quickly life can shift and move us from the security of day-to-day monotony
to appreciating just having our love ones near us.
This is Moore before the tornado-
The neighborhood around the school and the school itself.
The area after likened to a bomb going off.
When my friend asked if I would like to join a mission going to help Moore in July,
I said “yes” with no hesitation.
By the time we arrived most of the clean up was complete and they were starting the rebuilding process.
Volunteers and churches and organizations joining together rapidly to meet the needs of a desperate community.
Homes, schools and businesses all looking at the blank slate that once held dreams and hopes and love and memories and valuable possessions.
Now…it held rubble and shattered lives.
The stories told today are about hope!
There are families who are eager to come to share with volunteers and the community these valuable lessons and messages.
An amazing organization gathers these
Survivors and families of victims
To spread word of the good that has come and the everlasting hope only they can effectively pass on.
They come out in the evening to give love to the same people who
Come from all over the states
To donate time and money and a shoulder …
But the thing is,
The volunteers and missionaries
Are the ones receiving hope.
From people who have lost children and homes.
That organization is one of the most profound I have been privy to.
Then there is the heartbeat of all the volunteer effort,
This is a group of churches in the community that joined together to organize all of the volunteer efforts and donations.
A major undertaking,
I feel this was key to making sure the clean up and re-building is most productive.
Moore is in need still of volunteers when it comes to rebuilding.
This will be a major effort because of the fact that so much has been destroyed.
I was most touched by the people who are able to take the time to really get their hands dirty and don’t ask anything other than “where do you want me?”
There is so much to be learned from these disasters.
First and foremost is the fact that
the “stuff” in our lives is just that -
When it comes down to it,
you would want to know your loved ones are safe.
Love is the most important part of life
And the thing we most often take for granted.
Moore is just one area of our world that needs our help,
This was eye opening in how long it really does take to get back to “normal.”
So if you have time to help somewhere
(Anywhere) that has been touched by
I encourage you to look into the needs of that community.
If there was a voice to speak on behalf of Moore,
I believe it would say
“Don’t define me by this tornado.
Look at our community coming together as an example.
We will re-build and keep moving forward.
We will mourn our losses
but we will also look at their lives as shining beacons- no matter how short.
There is a message here-
It’s one of hope and love and
Strength in coming together for support and that shoulder when needed.
But ultimately in giving our gifts away to help someone else in need-
Even when we are in need ourselves.”