Friday, June 3, 2011


Yesterday Justin went to Joplin with a work crew from our church and another church here in town.  They left at six o'clock in the morning.  He spent his morning unloading supplies from trailers and putting them on palettes to be distributed as needed.  He then ate a free lunch provided by some grateful citizens in the parking lot of the destroyed high school.  Next he spent the afternoon hauling away debris at a couple of different homes.  And finally, he came home to us at seven that night tired, dirty, and even a little sick from breathing in all of the smoke and dust. 

He didn't have a lot to say about what he saw at first.  I think he was having trouble finding the words to describe what is really like in Joplin, what the citizens of that community are living and struggling with everyday.  I'm not sure it can be explained - I'm beginning to think it must be something you have to have seen in person to ever really understand.  I'm beginning to believe that the pictures on the news and the pictures he took on our little point and shoot only begin to scratch the surface of what has happened and is happening in this town. 

At first he showed me the pictures he took (most from a moving car while traveling between job sites).  Then bits and pieces of stories came out - good and bad, hopeful and discouraging.  There were hundreds of volunteers lined up waiting to be sent somewhere they could help -so many in fact that some groups were turned away.  And then there was law enforcement and military everywhere;  looters being arrested on the street as they passed by.  There were groups of people providing free meals for any worker and before the workers could even get a thank you in the people providing the food - the people who had just been through a catastrophic event - were sincerely thanking them for everything they were doing!  And there was the overwhelming job of clean up - an entire day spent working and yet it seemed like so little was accomplished, like there was just so much left to do.

Our church is planning another trip down in two weeks.  And another trip after that.  And another.  And another...however long groups will be allowed to come down and volunteer.  However long there is work to be done and hands to help.  Justin will go back as often as he can.  Maybe I will go too...though I'll admit it scares me to see this all up close and real, but I want to help too.  I can't help but want to help.

These are a few of the pictures Justin took on his trip.  They're SOOC (straight out of camera), and like I said earlier, mostly taken from the back of a moving vehicle.

For the Camino folk out there - in the distance you can see what is left of the steeple at St. Pauls UMC

Justin told me this is the high school...I love what someone did with the sign in the picture below...

These are just a few of the pictures...I'm hoping that as we continue to travel down to Joplin to help we can continue to take pictures and be witnesses to the amazing recovery of this town...and then continue to share it with everyone else.


  1. wow.... just COMPLETE destruction... so good of everyone to go help!

  2. Omgsh Kass! Everytime I see pictures like this my heart aches for the people whose lives have been turned upsidedown! I can't help but think how I would feel if it happened here.

    And I completely agree that I want to help, but I dont know how much I could focus on helping, while I'm standing there feeling so sorry for the people who lived/ are living there. It's great people like Justin have the compassion, energy and time to help them!