Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I'll Praise You In This Storm

I wrote this blog a few weeks ago, right after all the storms but wasn't ready to post it until today so anywho -

I realize the title of this post could win in "most un-original" especially in the last few weeks. A few weeks ago, I watched our state suffer something terrible. Sadly, this isn't the first time I've seen this happen and even more sad it is far from the last time I'll see it. What I saw was a tornado rip through people's homes. Living in Oklahoma my entire life, this is no stranger to me. Fortunately enough I have never been personally involved with one of these monsters, but over the years I've seen their devastation.

The only difference was that this time my heart ached. It ached because I saw families lose their earthly possessions. I don't meant televisions and computers but I mean valuables - pictures and stuffed animals. I understand that these are just things but as you see them scattered in trees and ponds - it's heart breaking.
I couldn't sit idle, continuing my life when people just a few miles from me lost everything. I had a hard time picturing my Memorial Day weekend lounging by a pool and enjoying good barbecue when it could have just easily been my house and my life belongings could have been thrown all across my yard. So, Saturday morning I put on my work clothes and headed to Cashion, OK. {I love that Facebook can connect you with people you haven't really been around in years - which is how I re-connected with my former Super Summer mom to help at her church!}
When I first arrived I was sent to get a tetanus shot. I hate that I had to wait in line for that when I work at a pharmacy and could have easily taken care of that Friday. {For those that know me, I like to plan ahead!} I then went into meet the rest of my group to find out exactly what we'd be doing. We were informed we would go to a lower income neighborhood, that once used to be home to my trailer houses. Many of the occupants had little to no insurance. We were supposed to inform them of several updates in information. {Phone lines were down, transportation was hit and miss -most were in borrowed vehicles- and they had little access to reliable information. There was a lot of "hear-say" and many things were misconstrued.} We also were able to  offer help in any way they needed it. With the first family it was help with gathering valuables. This lady had lost not only her home but also the family business that sit on the same property, but yet she had outstanding hope. She talked of rebuilding and her husband was already back to work because the family couldn't just stop working. I found that same hope in many of the tornado victims. Some how, many of them stood with smiles on their faces, cherishing the few items they found, and most of all their loved ones. 

Other families just needed water,  Gatorade, or food. So I spent the rest of the day helping keeping people from getting dehydrated and running errands for them. Overall, it was a very interesting day. I hate to say fun, but I did have fun - not in the funny, laugh, good time, but I loved getting to talk to people and hear there stories and try my best to help them! 
This is my favorite picture from that day- it is poor quality because I took it on my phone. You can see all the items they have found in the foreground and they also found that American flag in all the mess. What a great way to say Happy Memorial Day!
An enormous "way to go" goes out to Cashion Baptist Church and my sweet "mom" Michelle. You are living what God called us to be. You are being His hands and feet in your community. I heard so many times on Saturday - that the church had helped tremendously{in ways that you probably don't even realize!} I applaud your call to serve and your quick action in helping your community. I will continue to pray for the hurt and the broken that are left with much confusion and questions. I pray that you will have renewed strength to help with the long road to recovery. I pray that the needs to both victims and volunteers be met, because the task of clean-up is far from over. 

Disclaimer: I did no write this post to be "self-praising" or "criticizing" I am just merely sharing and reflecting on what the Lord has placed on my heart.

1 comment:

  1. Jennifer, this is great. I am so glad that you were able to help and I love reading your blog. You always have a positive message brewing! Hope you're doing well, miss you!-