Friday, May 27, 2011

Tornado Tragedy and Hope

    I woke up early Monday morning and decided to check my Facebook page before going to work. I noticed some of the chatter coming from my nieces’, living in the Mid-west, seemed to be about finding missing friends. Horrified, I learned about the devastating tornado that wiped out ¾ of the town of Joplin, Missouri. I called my sister-in-law, who lives north of Joplin and was reassured that they were OK but a nephew barely survived, as he worked in the Joplin Walmart that was now mainly rubble. He lost his home and cars, but was safe and reunited with his family. The only one unaccounted for was a great-nephew who lived in a 3-story apartment which was flattened. We learned that he was not home at the time the tornado struck, which was an F5 tornado, one of the strongest deadliest tornados.

Great nephew Jay searches for belonging after tornado destroys his apartment.
The only thing found was his late dad's baseball glove, something to treasure.

His story is reported here.

   God is good. We had some stories of hope in this tragedy. One great-niece was to be married this weekend in Joplin. She had her wedding dress in the town Bridal shop. Although the shop was destroyed, there was one lone wedding dress hanging on a hanger. Lo and behold, it was hers. Her story with her fiance as they search for his sister right after the tornado is on video via this link, interviewed by Anderson Cooper of CNN. Be sure to see the video from this link.

    Another great-niece was to be married the week after. She was staying with her parents until the wedding and unfortunately, her parent’s home was destroyed. Nevertheless, she was able to recover all of her wedding stuff. When one goes through an ordeal like this, it makes us ask “Why, God?” “How is one to celebrate happiness when so many are so sad from this type of devastation”. She had thought of cancelling her wedding. However, many reassured her that it would give hope to see a new marriage start in the midst of tragedy. I believe it will strengthen the family bond and God will bless this couple as they go on to commit to one another in love.

     There are so many untold stories that show what the spirit of the heartland is all about. We Americans pull together in times of tragedy. This heartland is well known for its strong faith in God and well anchored Christian values. There is no second thought to acting on God’s commandment to “Love one another”. My niece, who is a Nurse Practicioner, has been volunteering her time working at the a local church performing first aid and helping to meet the needs of those who are now homeless or injured. There are many more volunteers that are unsung heros and have chosen to make a difference in this tragedy. I thank the Lord that he loves us and has put a spirit of love in us. May God always bless us all.

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