So in my last post I mentioned that I hate house hunting (which I do) and that we probably would never find a perfect house well not more than a couple days after that post we FOUND A HOUSE! Its awesome! 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, its on 5 acres of land and has a dishwasher AND a fireplace! I love love love it! And I am more than likely going to end up buying it in like 5 years or so! So we set the move in date for Memorial Day weekend however, on May 22nd life changed as we all know it here in Joplin!
It started out an awesome and amazing weekend, my parents showed up Friday morning for a surprise visit! I was beyond shocked and so so excited because I had been missing them so so much and I wanted so bad for them to come see the new house we were about to move into! It was so great having them here! It was a busy weekend but I just made them tag along to everything :)
May 22, 2011
Sunday comes around and it was a nice Sunday, we had church and lunch with the church family and then my parents and I went to a few places in town before they left town. My dad loves Buffalo Wild Wings so we had to get an early dinner there before they left and before I needed to be at Solace for our show that night. After we ate my dad and I went outside to wait on my mom who was still inside we heard the tornado sirens going off and then they stopped and it started to rain a little we said our goodbyes pretty quick (they are easier that way) and went our separate ways (still completely unaware of what the weather was holding in store for us). (5:30pm) They headed towards I44 to go to STL and I headed down Range Line to 15th street to Solace. It started to rain a bit more and then as I pulled up to Solace on 16th and Main it started to hail. Everyone was outside watching the storm come in because that's what you do in Missouri! We were standing outside as the sirens went off again 3 of my friends were across the street watching it come in from that direction and then we heard the sound the sound (5:41pm) that everyone says a tornado sounds like a sound of a freight train. We RAN to the middle of the building unsure what the outcome would bring. We watched out the windows of our church as it was darker than the night and as rain was moving in a circular motion and debris was being tossed down the street. Scariest moment of my life! As soon as the tornado passed, we looked got closer to the windows and looked down the street it looked bad but we had no idea how bad it was. A group of us went outside and started down Main St. towards 20th and when we got to the 17th block windows were blown out we were pulling roofs and trees out of the street to allow traffic to get through it was utter chaos! We headed West on 20th for a bit and up another street (not sure what street the signs were gone) somehow we ended up by 22nd street and didn't even recognize where were were! Thats when we knew it was pretty bad! We heard the High School got hit good so we headed that way down 20th street and as we got over that little hill on 20th street I saw my flatted city and I began to weep! It was so unreal and like nothing I had ever seen before! My phone was blowing up with text messages checking in on us. We heard a lady yelling for people to help because people were trapped inside this church so we rand over there and started a chain of people as we helped these (mostly elderly people) out of the rubble of what was their church (a few of them did not make it out). If I close my eyes I see it all so vividly still! We were out until it got dark so for a good couple of hours and still even at this point had no idea the magnitude of this storm! We came back to Solace all of us in complete shock! What do we do from here was the question. How do we respond to our community? Love them and meet their needs is what God told us and we got started doing that the very next day! Solace Church became a city distribution center as well as a place of refuge (a safe place to share and be loved on) for those in the storm being so close to "ground zero" people would walk in and just have this look of no hope in their eyes and when they leave there was a small amount of hope restored. So many friends lost everything! This event is so heartbreaking and still so surreal. My only material loss was my back window of my van, my taillight and some dents here and there.
However, my greatest lost was my little friend Lantz Hare (16 years old) a kid from the ministry of The Bridge. He was missing for a few days and later his body was identified at the morgue. His great smile and personality will be missed greatly here on earth! You think that working in youth ministry you wouldn't have to attend so many funerals but this was my 3rd...
Thanks for reading my story. Please continue to pray for Joplin as we rebuild lives and homes and as we continue to love and hurt for our community that we love so much!