Friday, February 27, 2009

HOOOOORRRRRAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!

Ashlea is awake AND talking!!!!!! Thanks all for the prayers!! Keep praying for a speedy recovery!!!!

Ashlea is waking up!!!

I just heard thet the doctors are waking Ashlea up slowly!! She is responding to stimulus--Alan speaks to her & she squeezes his hand!! Praise the Lord!!! More updates later!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Surgery went well for Ashlea...

Ashlea's surgery went well, and the doctors are confident in a full recovery. It will be a long haul, but with all the support that she has, and the Lord's hand, she will be just fine. Please continue to pray for her and the family. Please leave comments and prayers for Ashlea and I will make sure that she sees them.

Update on Ashlea...

Please keep her in your prayers. Ashlea will undergo surgery to repair a cracked vertebra in her neck today. She has been heavily sedated and the doctors will try to wake her up tomorrow. Her blood pressure & heart rate are concerns right now. She had a bit of a fever yesterday also. Please pray for the Lord to be near her today and also for Him to guide the doctors and to hold up Alan & Melonie & the other kids during this crisis. If you wish to reply back with a prayer, please do so as I will save them and let Alan show them to her when she wakes up…..

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...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

MOC 6 update Sunday am

Loaded up, ready to go! I'll post a report later! Thank you for your support and prayers!!
Keep praying for Ashlea! I don't have an update but as soon as I hear and I am able to post, I will....

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Urgent prayer need.....

My niece was in a car accident today. She will need several surgeries and several weeks in the hospital. She had a collapsed lung & a broken vertebrae and a major cut to her head. She came through one surgery today and faces more. She may have eye damage but docs wont know until she wakes up—she is being kept very sedated as of now. Please pray for Ashlea Smith, my 16 year old niece.

Trip is still on….I am going to visit Ashlea early, then be at church for Sunday School & church, then leave for Lone Grove. Please pray for us…

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Misson of Compassion 6 update...

A little disclaimer about this article I found:
This article will stir your heart, and you will cry…
http://www.newsok.com/lone-grove-families-honor-those-lost-to-storm/article/3346032?custom_click=lead_story_title

I have just read this, and it gives me focus and resolve to help these victims. Let’s all band together and make this a mission that the Lord can be honored through…..

I still need someone to go shopping for me tonight or tomorrow morning……if this is you, please call me asap….918-808-4683 or 918-317-6822.

Let’s focus our efforts on getting trash bags, work gloves, plastic totes, new socks & underwear for the victims.

Plan still is to leave from New Life Baptist Church this Sunday at noon. Channel 2 will be there to do a quick interview, and then we will be on our way. We will eat sandwiches that are being prepared by “Mom” (Karen Leath & crew)…thank you!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mission of Compassion 6: Lone Grove

Ok, details are starting to come together! Looks like the mission is a GO!

First let me start by stating the needs at this time. I have been in contact with several folks in the area and the common need is trash bags, work gloves, and workers. They have plenty of clothes, so no clothes are needed. I spoke with one of the coordinators at the Lone Grove Assembly of God and he told me that there will be a need for non-perishable foods (canned, etc.) and water. Diapers and baby formula could also be used. So, basically I would like to bring with us:
Large trash bags
Work gloves
Diapers
Formula
Large plastic totes with lids for storage
Cleaning materials for damaged homes (brooms, paper towels, etc.)
Water (I am working on securing some water or sports drink…details later)
Canned food items

I spoke with the pastor at the Church of Christ yesterday & he is making plans to distribute food & water to relief workers and residents on Sunday, and he mentioned that he could use some help. When we get there, we can help in this area after dropping off supplies.

I feel that we should also organize a toy drive for the kids that lost everything. Maybe we can collect new or almost new toys for a few weeks, and return to distribute them. I have an idea for distributing the toys, but I cannot share details yet but trust me, it will be unique and the kids will be blessed by this effort!!

As of now, plans are to leave Verdigris from New Life Baptist Church at noon Sunday, and return Sunday night. A Saturday trip would not be practical at this time.

If you feel that you can help by donating, or coming along, please let me know ASAP!

Lone Grove statistics:
Feb 10, 2009 an EF-4 devastating tornado tore through the community at 7:30pm. Sadly, 9 people lost their lives in this tragedy.
The official numbers for Lone Grove is 118 homes completely destroyed, 28 with major damage, 26 with minor damage, and 16 affected.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

YOU make the call!!!!

video

Ok, last Tuesday as I was driving into Cleveland, Ok. on a chase, I see this. Time is about 5:15pm. The storm is tornado warned, with a nice little TVS signature east of Blackburn, Ok. I am looking north/northwest, straight towards Blackburn, the area of interest. To me, it did look very interesting. What would you call it? Your opinions please.....

Friday, February 13, 2009

Mission of Compassion 6....Lone Grove

This is the text of an email I sent out tonight....please let me know if you have any ideas, or can help....

Good evening,

As you all know, a strong EF-4 tornado tore through the Lone Grove and northwestern Ardmore area Tuesday night. The current death toll is 9. The most tragic, in my opinion, is the 13 year old young lady that lost both of her parents in the tornado. The story stated that they were clinging to each other when the tornado hit, and they were torn from each other and thrown from their home. Both parents perished. You all know my heart for kids, and this just breaks my heart.

Several have asked about Mission of Compassion. I am now certain that we need to make an effort to help in some way. I am thinking of the usual items of water, non perishable food, industrial trash bags, baby formula, diapers, gloves, etc. are going to be needed but I have an additional idea…..

There are many children and youth affected by this tragedy. How can we plug in here? Could we possibly host a toy drive to replace lost toys, stuffed animals, bicycles, etc? These are certainly not needed immediately, but maybe as people get settled down a bit, we could help in this area…..

Please shoot me an email with any ideas that you may have, and above all, let’s surely keep these people in our prayers. I will be trying to contact churches & shelters in the area to get details on needed things and how we can help. I will update you with any additional information.

Isaiah 6:8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I. Send me!"


God bless,
Jeff Smith
Children & Youth Director
New Life Baptist Church
Verdigris, Oklahoma
918-808-4683
http://jeffsmithphotography.blogspot.com

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A very hard update to my earlier post...

...I had to edit my post from last night..I stated that there were no fatalities.....

As I went to bed last night, exhausted from a crazy race chase, I heard about fatalities in the community of Lone Grove. There were three at that time, and I said my prayers for the people in Lone Grove, and collapsed. I awoke this morning as my wife said that there were eight fatalities. Now I learn that there may be as many as 15. What a terrible night! I feel awful for the victims & their families. I need to get my thoughts together..a whole trailer park is gone!! I have already been asked if we are going on a Mission of Compassion.....

Sometimes I hate what I do....chase storms.....but I realize that my reporting of these monsters may save lives......or does it? Hopefully it does....I'm rambling, sorry.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bust? maybe....maybe not:-)

video

Well, 300 miles, no tornadoes, a bit o'hail, lots of rain, and some pretty clouds.....

But, the equipment got a workout, and almost everything worked great....

My original target-Ardmore got two tornadoes tonight, albeit they were after dark. Still a volatile situation in Arkansas---pray for those folks!

1st official chase o' the year!

Not much time to update.....I am leaving work at noon to prepare for a nader fest. Things are looking impressive for February!! I will leave Verdigris at 3PM (TJ gets out of school at 3) and head southwestt towards Stroud or the Chandler area.....I know there is better ingredients south but I am limited on time today and also I want to stay relatively close to home.......
More later....

Monday, February 2, 2009

Chaser-fest was a HUGE success!!

Well, it's over!! Successful? You bet it was! We had 15-20 folks, as some came & went during the event. Lanny challenged us to prepare for the inevitable--being first on the scene of a tragic event like Greensburg and having to be a first responder. Sean followed Lanny and offered to train us chasers in a first aid class, free of charge! After discussing this with the chasers, we all agreed that this would be a great idea. Thanks Sean! And thanks Lanny for sharing your personal experience--I know that was not easy!!

The video that was shared was awesome as well! Lanny Dean, George Flickinger, Justin Teague, Greg McLaughlin, Bob Rohloff, and myself all shared video & pics from previous storms. Great job, guys!! Stay tuned, you will be hearing more info on ideas that were shared Saturday!!