Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mission of Compassion report

Mission of Compassion 6, Lone Grove: Courage in the face of tragedy...
We left after church on Sunday and met up with Tom Stroud in Catoosa and then Lanny Dean & his sister Rhonda joined us in Bristow. It was a long drive down there but after we arrived, I was soberly reminded of why we do this. A town was destroyed; peoples’ lives were ripped apart. They needed our help.

When we drove into the town, the damage was obvious. We saw trees down, sheet metal everywhere. We stopped at the 1st Assembly of God to drop off supplies and saw that the church had sustained major damage. Ironically, their steeple was torn from the church and landed in the town bar across the street. One thing that touched my heart was that this church, while damaged, was providing needed help to the folks of Lone Grove. That is where the heart of the Lord is, in my opinion. They were very grateful to receive the supplies. We left them with plenty of PowerAde, Little Debbie snacks, thousands of trash bags, and some baby food.
Not long after we arrived I met the mayor. He described how everything had happened and even helped us unload supplies. That’s what I call a hands-on mayor! He described what happened as the tornado ripped through town. He called on about 40 volunteer firefighters & EMT’s and about 90-100 showed up to help search & rescue immediately after the tornado.
We then pulled in to the church of Christ. After we unloaded the rest of our supplies there the pastor offered his heartfelt appreciation and gave a prayer of thanksgiving for our efforts. Both churches were very hospitable to us and I am thankful that they are helping in this time of crisis in Lone Grove.

After this, we drove out to the south end of town and to the Bar K mobile home park that was destroyed. It was surreal. There were people walking through what used to be the streets of the park, still in shock almost two weeks after the storm. Metal, glass, insulation everywhere as you might expect. I had to get off by myself for a few minutes to take a few deep breaths and choke back some tears. As I looked down into the valley that used to be the trailer park, my heart just sank. I thought about the 9 people that lost their lives. I thought about the kids that have no toys, no bicycles now. I thought about the lost family heirlooms, the pictures, and all of the items in the peoples’ homes that were gone. I thought about 13 year old Kaylee Fambrough, who lost both parents while desperately trying to hold on to them during the horror. How does one describe this devastation? Hard to think about it, but if you can imagine a bulldozer rolling through your home, then that might be close. In the rubble I saw some interesting things, part of a wall that was splintered into what looked like a cross; a bowl with a spoon in it, another pile of rubble looked like a cross that had stuff wrapped around it, baby shoes, 8-track tapes with an 8-track player and lost of other odd items. It was hard to look at all the devastation.
While we were there, I spoke to our youth group and told them that while they had fun on the way down there, that to remember the reason we came. I looked around at these former homes and said that this is why we come. To put our arms around them and let them know that we care, and that God cares.

To the ones that went; Lanny, Rhonda, Tom, Karen, Jim, Tonya, TJ, Stenton, Chrissy, Karmyn, Mary Ann, Clay, Stephanie, Joey, Kimi, Seth, Tyler, thank you for your service. Thanks Jim, Tonya, Tom, Lanny, and Karen for driving 400 miles with us in 8 hours {:-) To the kids, thank you for taking the time to go and let these good folks know that we care. To those that donated food, drink, supplies, or money—thank you so much! The mission wouldn’t have been possible without your caring hearts. To those who simply kept us and the victims in your prayers, thank you. Your prayers were appreciated by all.

Please hold the victims of the Lone Grove tornado in your prayers as they continue on this difficult journey.
I'll try to get some pics up tonight...

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