Saturday, August 27, 2011

In Joplin...

When we signed up for the Joplin mission, we were given some instructions, one of the most important one--be considerate about taking photos. Although the destruction is incredible, these are peoples' homes and lives. We tried to be as discreet as possible when photographing. I did not take my Nikon, we brought a point and shoot. Most of these were taken from inside my car, so the colors may be off.
St. John's hospital, from the North. The lady we worked with said they found a dead deer on the 3rd floor, blown in by the tornado. This entire building was moved 3" off its foundation. The medical personnel tell stories of throwing their bodies across patients on the operating table, trying to keep them from being sucked out the window by the storm. 
This tree has no bark on the west side, the side the tornado hit. It is refoliating, incredible!

A building to the east of the high school. As long as we looked, we couldn't figure out what this was.
Joplin High School. A total disaster. It will be 3-4 years before the kids there have a high school of their own again. They are scrambling to find places for teams to play and practice, something that struck my kid because she plays volleyball and basketball.

I cropped and blew up the sign so you can see. 
It used to say "JOPLIN"
The J, L, I, N were torn off in the storm. 
Someone came by and sprayed the H and E. 
It is now HOPE High School. 
One of our dinner tents. There are a couple places in town that serve meals to volunteers. These folks are volunteers, as well. By the 3rd day, Cass didn't want to eat in these anymore. Though they do their best, flies congregate here, biting constantly. Some residents come here, we met an older couple that were eating lunch one hot afternoon. As we began our grace, they asked if we would ask for a blessing for them. The Bible belt is properly named. Folks are more stoic about their faith in the Midwest. 
It is eerie, you can see for miles. There isn't a tree standing for miles upon miles.
Medical clinic. Here you can see the stand of trees that are refoliating. 
written: Thank you, volunteers
We luv u
You are our heroes!
written: We will be back.
God Bless America,
The Fosters
Lee, Julie, Missy
(I guess Julie decided she would not be back???)
East side of the high school
Some parts of town were starting to come back and even some homes were almost finished. But they were the exception. Some families left, there was nothing to stay for. Some remain in campers in their back yards. There are holes in the ground where homes used to sit, there are partial walls everywhere. At the point where tornado touched down, for 13 miles, there is not a tree. Nothing to block the view of the destruction. It is there, for the residents to be in and around, all day, every day. By Thursday, I was ready to get out of there. It was overwhelming, I cannot imagine how the residents who live in it every day, keep such a positive attitude. I have to believe the residents here are traumatized in some way. We didn't speak to anyone that didn't lose someone! Whether a neighbor or a family member, loss is everywhere. 
There is even a smell in the air, that isn't right. I don't know that they even smell it...
I am so glad to be home. I thank God for my home, my family. I thank God for this opportunity. 
I am proud of my daughter, she responded so well. She worked hard, did what she was asked and tried to be compassionate to the people we were helping. She worked in the heat, tried to eat the food, and rarely complained. The others with us complimented me about her, saying she was far more mature than 17 years. 

Believe it or not, we did a fair amount of yard work while in Joplin. 
More about that, tomorrow.  In the meantime, there are weeds sprouting in my new Deer Bed. I have to get out there with a hoe and hope it works. 


  1. Anonymous10:09 AM

    Man those are some pictures. The destruction is horrible and will be years for repair and rebuilding. I know crews going out there for rebuilds that plan to be there for a couple years. Thanks for the information.
    Craig Ohio Outdoors
    Ablaze Home Improvement

  2. So devastating--I can't even imagine trying to live in that.

    I can see why they are so grateful for volunteers like you and your daughter.

    Right now I am watching Irene in North Carolina and I wonder when all of this devastation will stop!

  3. I can't believe the destruction. Unreal............

  4. You are doing a wonderful thing. I heard on the news that Joplin folks are very close and working hard to rebuild. Guess there was an NFL fundraiser for them this week.

    Here's hoping we won't have more rebuilding over East with this storm!

    Keep up the good work!

  5. Thanks for sharing your experience and for all that you're doing.

  6. How wonderful that you went out there to help. The photos make the rest of us realize how lucky we are though.
    Cher Sunray Gardens
    Goldenray Yorkies

  7. Sissy, thank you for sharing these. What devastation. These people all deserve our prayers and your family has gone so far beyond that. I think about the insurance companies. Are they/did they fulfill all their responsibilities? And is federal aid still coming in? I hope most people can get back in their houses before winter at least.

  8. I don't think I can adequately wrap my mind around the devastation in your photos. How wonderful that you felt called of God to go. And you went. I admire you for that. I don't know if I could have done it.

  9. Anonymous10:43 AM

    wow.... i think thats awesome that your daughter was able to help with you - my son helped at a mission retreat this summer , hes 15, and i could tell it really hit home with him - our young need those real life experiences - thank God for helpers like you guys!


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