Here is an e-mail that I sent out last night....just to keep you up to date on things.....
After talking to several folks today, it looks like the mission is a go! The scenes that I have heard of are terrible. This mission is going to have a little extra meaning to me. I read where a storm spotter/fireman lost his life while out watching the storm in southwest Missouri. Before you think anything about him as far as being crazy to go out & watch storms, the story that I heard is that when he arrived at his assigned intersection, there were several cars with people panicking and one fellow even changing a flat tire. He warned the people to leave immediately but the tornado caught up to him and swept his vehicle away, critically injuring him. He passed away today. He saved several lives that day and paid the ultimate sacrifice and left behind a two year old baby girl.
I have had a few donations but we still need much more. We need things like diapers, baby food/formula, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene items, gloves, and possibly water. I am holding out hope for another big donation of water. You can drop off items at New Life Baptist Church--but call me first so I can make sure somebody will be there to accept your donations and thank you!!
The plan as of now is to leave early Saturday morning and return Saturday evening. After delivering our donations, we will hopefully spend time either volunteering in a shelter or helping folks clean up. Our destination will be Picher and to go into southwest Missouri and then back home. I have yet to make any solid contacts in these areas but I know that I will. I have heard of several churches open as shelters in & around the Seneca, Mo area. I also know that it's unlikely that Picher will rebuild, but that actually makes the pain that these folks are going through worse and they need to see the hope & love that we can share with them. They will need these supplies, especially water they can drink while picking up what is left of their belongings and lives.
If you would like to help either donate items or to go with us, please call me at 918-808-4683. It would be a blessing to see us carpool up there with 20 or so people like when we went to Coffeyville last year!
Thank you and God bless,
Jeff Smith Children & youth director
New Life Baptist Church