I type words, then I erase them. I don’t quite know how to use words to express the events of the last 48 hours. I remember the vivid images of the May 3, 1999 tornado. However, I was a college student and lived 3 hours from the impacted area. Now, May 20th, 2013, I live about two miles from some of the area hardest hit.
Yesterday, we knew that there was a possibility of storms. However, I was still caught off guard with how quickly this storm developed. From the time I received a text from my mother-in-law and a phone call from my husband, both telling me to take cover because “this is for real,” I had 15 minutes to get Judah and the other kids to the choir room at the church. Once there, we turned on the TV and watched the utter devestation of a violent, slow moving, F-5 tornado. What took several minutes to pass, seemed like an eternity in time. Homes, businesses, schools, signs, a theater, a bowling alley, banks, gas stations…anything that was in its path, destroyed. When I was finally able to go home, what usually takes about 10 minutes, took an entire hour. On the way home, I watched a man performing triage in the back of a pickup truck that was speeding down the road to a hospital.
My husband spent the majority of the afternoon/evening searching for victims. Thankfully, he didn’t have to pull out anyone who didn’t survive. Today, we had the honor of helping organize disaster relief efforts through our church. Hundreds of donations poured in all day long. We idetified all the families in our church who suffered substantial loss. All of them are safe tonight. My heart is broken for the ones who have lost not only posessions, but precious loved ones. There is still so much shock, but also a resolve to move forward. And, that is what all Oklahomans will do…Move Forward.
My 28 Thanks:
1. I began my morning reading out loud Psalm 34. Once again, it gave me great Peace and Comfort during a time of utter despair.
2. Over 100 people were found alive in the wreckage over night.
3. All of my kids are accounted for and safe.
4. We were able to identify all the families within our church who have suffered substantial loss.
5. The database we have that helps us identify and keep track of 100s of families.
6. I saw Ali Hatton today. She was pulled from the wrechage at Plaza Towers elementary.
7. She was smiling. She had no broken bones.
8. A little girl, probably 5 yrs old, brought in her piggy bank change and donated it to the relief efforts today.
9. Even though many many homes were completely destroyed, our church family didn’t lose any lives.
10. We had porta potties at the church. There wasn’t a working bathroom within miles. But, we had porta potties.
11. We had so many volunteers show up to offer help today.
12. Pallets and Pallets and Pallets of water were donated.
13. Today, people brought over $2,000 dollars in giftcards to purchase supplies.
14. Over 800 boxes were donated.
15. 25 mattresses were donated by Mattress Firm.
16. The storms today were not as bad as one might have feared.
17. The attitudes of the people of Oklahoma are beautiful.
18. First Responders are heroes.
19. Everyone wants to help. People just want to do something to meet a need.
20. People are sending supplies or coming to Moore from all over the United States.
21. My family was able to house a family who lost everything last night.
22. In disasters, people put aside their differences and unite for the greater good.
23. Social Media has made it really easy to contact people and check on them.
24. People are being the hands and feet of Jesus today.
25. We took meals for an entire nursing home facility today. They had no food and no power. Our team showed up and they were well fed.
26. You can always start over.
27. The Righteous suffer many afflictions, but the Lord rescues them from it all!
28. I am an Oklahoman.