When tragedy strikes, an amazing spirit rises within the people. I have never been a part of such a unified body of people, all different ages and races, who are driven to greatness by one common goal-the desire to help others-then I have been in the last 3 days. I heard so many stories of survival, as well as tragedy, today. I worked through many tears today as I listened to different accounts of survival and heroism.
The workers and donations flooded in, I mean flooded in, starting early this morning. At times the support was overwhelming. Literally, I have not been able to keep up with phone calls, text messages, facebook comments, email, and drop by questions. I am sure that I have not responded to some and I hate that. Everyone is important and their heart to help deserves to be heard. We are trying to catch up.
We were receiving calls from all over the United States. We even had a group of men drive for 27 straight hours and showed up to help us this afternoon. We had groups from Kansas, Virginia, and ORU. Then, Convoy of Hope showed up with 4 semis and loads of relief. However, my favorite part of today was when a man from Georgia who was working here temporarily walked over from the apartment complex next to the church. He came into our “basecamp” and handed me the keys to his fully furnished (fully furnished meaning- towels, linens, kitchen supplies, and furniture) apartment. Then, he added that it was paid up for an entire month and he was going out of town for an extended period of time and wanted us to bless one of our families with it. He even worked out all the details with the apartment complex. Tonight, one of our church families who lost EVERYTHING is sleeping in a nice, fully furnished apartment.
Today, I also spoke with the Oklahoma City Police Department Chaplain. He had some specific requests and wanted to know if our church could meet the need. I told him that we were inundated with help right now. He was so thankful, but made a really great point. He said, “Everyone wants to help immediately. But, we will need help in 6 weeks as well. I hope they will be here then.” Thankfully, this is my first experience with a disaster, but in the past 48 hours, I have learned that he is so right. We will not be able to solve this tragedy, nor clean it up, this week. This is a long, long, long process and it will take weeks, months, and maybe even a year to fully rebuild. There will be plenty for people to do and plenty of time to help.
We ended the day with a prayer service at church. In the service, I prayed for the kids who have been affected by the disaster. I read Psalm 3:3-5, “But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. With my voice I cry to the Lord, and He hears and answers me out of His Holy Hill…I lay down and slept; I wakened again, for the Lord sustains me.” I love to rest in His Word. He is the lifter of my head. And, when I cry to the Lord He hears me. He hears our kids. He is their encouragement, strength, guide, comforter, shield, and love.
Finally, I am encouraged by the words my Pastor spoke tonight. “This tornado was not an Act of God, nor His judgement. God is a loving God! This was a natural disaster.” The Bible is very clear that it is GOD’S LOVE that leads His people to repentance. He is a God who loves and He is a God who will bring beauty from the Ashes.
My 28 Thanks:
1. The Lord is the lifter of my head.
2. God is a God of Love.
3. The Lord hears the cries of my heart.
5. Sam Walker and Brian Bobek have added some great leadership to our disaster team.
6. My friend, Holly, sits right next to me in “basecamp.” She has done a wonderful job caring for people. She spent hours helping one lady sign up with FEMA today. Holly has a big heart.
7. Volunteers flooded in from everywhere. So many teenagers wanting to lend a hand.
8. We have received donations from so many places. Wal-Mart, Zios, Johnny Carinos, Rib Crib, Mattress Firm, and on and on and on and on. They just keep coming.
9. Convoy of Hope arrived with 5 semis today.
10. We were finally able to get to the worst hit areas and delivered much needed supplies to people in need.
11. Cody Pyle did a great job mobilizing teams to go out today.
12. Scott from Georgia-he just gave his apartment away today.
13. I didn’t feel well at all this morning, but by the afternoon, I was feeling much better.
14. I have a new appreciation for google maps. It is amazing what you can do with it!
15. Judah was well taken care of today by Miss JaQuisha and Miss Mindy. It is easier to work when you know your baby is doing well.
16. The weather was really good today for clean up efforts.
17. We were able to send truck loads of supplies to help with the damage in Newcastle.
18. The countless vounteers from our church who took off work this week just to help us get basecamp organized. Jamie has rocked it in the kitchen relief. I can’t even describe the amount of volunteers who have come through the gym doors.
19. Gary was able to take 2 hours leave and be at the prayer service tonight.
20. Prayer and Praise service.
21. Greater things are yet to be done in this City.
22. We will rise up and be greater than we have ever been before.
23. After watching the footage of the storm, I am so amazed that some people survived. Thankful for every survival story.
24. People are being reunited with lost pets and pictures and other memories.
25. Judah asked me if he could help any of the “boo-boos” on people from the tornado. He has such a sweet heart.
26. Had a meeting with save the children today. What a sweet organization. They are wanting to base out of our church too.
27. Pastor was able to share messages of Hope today with media venues.
28. Judah is sleeping so sweetly next to me.