Mission Team Journal:
On our day trip, we had two assignments. The first was on a side of town that seemed less destroyed. The family had their windows boarded up and their (what I assumed to be) pet ducks in “temporary housing” behind their home. They had writing on their boarded windows leaving me to believe that looting was a real issue. We sorted through their minimal rubble and went to our next assignment.
I hadn’t seen the hardest hit area of town yet, because we entered on the other side of town. As we drove to our second assignment (the roads had been cleared of debris), everything I had been seeing on the news came to life. The high school was destroyed and the hospital was blown to pieces. How does the town prioritize where to start? Where will the kids go to school, where will they all live and where will the sick people go?
Our second assignment was in the heart of the massively destroyed area. 19 of us stood in what used to be the entry way of a 96 year old woman’s home. We looked as far as we could see in every single direction. Nothing is left for miles and miles–except a lot of huge piles of rubble, broken trees, and smashed cars. Each pile of rubble used to be someone’s home. It’s hard to comprehend. Imagine this happening to your subdivision and all the surrounding subdivisions. What would you do? Where would you go?
The homeowner’s sister and brother-in-law were there with us. The home owner is in a nursing home and wasn’t in the house the night of the tornado. Thankfully, the nursing home was not hit. We all put on our gloves and masks and got to work. We sorted through pictures, dishes, books, clothes, shoes, cleaning supplies, furniture, wood piles, and many more personal belongings. Many of the items, the couple didn’t recognize. They thought some things probably blew into their area during the storm.
Perhaps the most touching part of the day was when the neighbor stood on the damaged porch next door, somberly watching us. Her house was just as damaged. She just watched us all as we started making piles on the curb. Eventually, she grabbed a rake, came over to where we were working and started raking the insulation and other debris off the grass. She was helping us….even though her house needed just as much work.
These families need so much more help. The ones I met were so humble and grateful for the help. I was humbled and grateful for them allowing us to help. Isn’t it interesting that we find ourselves (as the helpers) thanking the victims for letting us help them? I did! I was truly touched by this experience.
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”