I was at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers’ Conference in North Carolina when lives were overturned in Oklahoma. An announcement was made during a large group meeting that a massive tornado tore through near Oklahoma City.
My first thought was of a thought I had the last time I made a delivery with a semi in that city. It’s going to be very catastrophic when a large tornado goes through here.
I just returned home from a two-day mission trip with our church to assist in cleanup in Moore, Oklahoma. I want to record my thoughts while they’re fresh in my mind.
The call to go came in an email on Friday, May 31, 2013. 28 people were needed to go and do whatever needed to be done. We needed to be ready to go the following Thursday.
My knees hit the floor as I sought God’s direction about whether I should pursue this. He knew my heart. By faith I filled out the application and did what I could.
I had just enough paid time off accumulated to go. The first question was whether my employer would allow me the time on such short notice. I had to wait until Wednesday to discover they would.
We left by personal vehicle caravan Thursday evening, June 6. I rode with two people I never met. We became quick friends in pursuit of the same goal: to help the helpless and give hope to the hopeless in any small way possible.
Our troupe ranged in age from twenty-something to over sixty. God’s love shone through us all as we neared the disaster. Our first sign of the aftermath was the Moore Medical Center, or what was left of it just west of I-35.
I learned they had 16 minutes to get all their patients to a safe place before they were hit. They succeeded. Thank You God.
Our contact church was Journey Church in Norman. We expected to see a 20,000 square foot tent being used as a warehouse. We discovered it was blown away by the storms that blew through a few days earlier.
So, where was God in that? You ask. He was breaking the hearts of a group who had an old airport hanger. The 30,000 square foot building is being utilized to the max to meet people’s needs. Supplies from here are being sent to other agencies to fill shelves.
I walked the parking lot during our lunch break to find that God had arrived from Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, California and Missouri, also.
I saw God in other church lots as meals were offered, water and food were handed out, and love was being dished out in large helpings.
We received our first assignment on Friday morning after an orientation. 913 W 15th Street needed us to take the debris in it and place it at the curb so crews could haul it away.
We narrowed down which lot was ours because 912 was still standing across the street. The side walls were blown away and the core of the structure was leaning to the east, but it was there. Somehow.
Somebody found a sign and hung it on the garage door frame: “PRAYER When life gets too hard to stand…kneel” I did. Right there in the driveway.
Fortunately, we had to wait for the homeowner to show up before we could do any work. This allowed us time to walk around and let the force of the wind take our breath away on that calm day.
The writer side of me recorded the physical impulses that arose: the shortness of breath, the tightening of my chest, the weakening of my knees and the tears that found my cheeks.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, standing in the midst of a scene like that is worth a lifetime of pictures. And it leaves you speechless.
I counted six blocks running north to south with only slabs remaining. East to west was pure destruction. The trees were completely stripped of their bark.
A boat looked like somebody took a bite out of the bow. Vehicles were everywhere,but, going nowhere.
If God were a God of justice alone every square inch of planet earth would look like that neighborhood. Yeah, God’s power was on display in a mighty way.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but, disasters are coming at a quicker rate and they’re getting more intense. Any good Bible student recognizes this as prophecy coming to life.
Jesus calls these birth pains in Matthew 24 as He tells His disciples what to look for at the end of the age before He establishes His kingdom. I highly suggest we get as many people invested into Jesus Christ Eternal Life Assurance as quickly as possible. Remind them that the premiums have been paid in full by the carrier.
There’s a revival beginning in Oklahoma. I hope the winds are strong enough to spread that spirit around the globe.
The greatness of our country is in our God. God is at work in His church. He moves His people much quicker than any government bureaucracy can.
The government to come is the one I’m most looking forward to: Jesus’ Kingdom on a new Earth. Let’s concentrate our energy on filling that one as best we can. The rest will take care of itself.
Some of us realized we picked up very few 2×4’s or shingles in the remaining debris. The resident of the second lot we cleared told us they were told there was so much material in the 200+ mph winds that everything was pulverized.
They found some of their possessions in three different directions from their lot. The two boys each got a toy back from our efforts, a slingshot and a small globe. We almost threw them out. You never know what value something holds to another.
God watched out for them by having them all away from home at the time.
They still have each other and Jesus. They have the essentials for a new start.
I’ll see you later. Wade