Joplin 2011

Now That I’ve Had Time To Think: November 1, 2011

Two months ago I was spending my first day in the sweltering heat in Joplin, MO.


Wow, how time has flown by.

I realized I never really gave a low down of all we did during our stay, I figure someone may come across this page and hopefully be inspired to volunteer there for ALL the work still left to do.

So, here is the low down…

After landing, we made the couple hour drive from Kansas City to Joplin. (And had an excellent breakfast at the Cracker Barrel). We got a tour of the church (Calvary Chapel Joplin) and put our stuff away before being introduced to the distribution center. There were multiple distribution centers in Joplin, but the one the church put on was unique in the fact that they were the only one who did not require FEMA papers to get supplies. If the family or individual could show they were in the disaster zone, they were Tornado Victims and got a big bucket to fill. If they did not reside in the disaster zone, they were Benevolence and would get a small bucket to fill.

When working the distribution tent, you, as a volunteer, would take them around the tent that was set up with tables full of food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc. Once the buckets were full, they would be done (there’s always room for grace though…) and we would bring the items back to their vehicle and send them off. While making the rounds with the families, we’d get the opportunity to hear their story – most people were very willing to talk about their experience with the tornado, some even brought newspapers they were in to show us. We’d also get the chance to pray with them, which they were all very willing to do, too. I can’t tell you how many people shared their gratitude for us coming to serve in Joplin, Christ was GREATLY glorified through this ministry. I heard some amazing testimonies…and some very, very sad testimonies, too.

This tornado didn’t just take away the homes of the residents, it broke apart families. I heard multiple stories of mothers and fathers leaving their family after the tornado. One dad was left with two kids – one was just a baby.

With that being said, they needed Christs love in their life, and I am so thankful I was used in doing so.

We did the distribution center three times in our ten day stay, I wish we could have done it more.

On another day, we helped a single mom move into her FEMA house. She was a renter whose home was not completely destroyed, but damaged…however, her landlord decided to demolish the house and she had to find a place to store all her stuff. Much of it was rained on after the tornado hit, so there was a lot of rain damage and mold on the furniture. She told us that she wishes she had lost everything so she could start over fresh. We also came to find out she was working three jobs just to provide for her family. Amazing. You could tell she was exhausted, but she kept on keepin’ on for her family. Very inspiring.

We also go the opportunity to help a family move in after their house had been repaired. They had a daughter around our age, so it was really fun hanging out with her…and hearing her perspective on the tornado.

On another day we cleaned up three lots of debris. VERY TEDIOUS work, but worthwhile nonetheless. We were so good at our work, that the work crew leading the job told us to not be so perfect. That’s a good compliment 🙂

ANNND on another day, we went to the Salvation Army and sorted diapers. THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of diapers. We sorted them by size and stacked them into gaylords (HUGE BOXES…we came to find out). It was a really fun experience, actually. Think of fifteen or so 20-something’s yelling numbers and throwing diapers half way across a warehouse. Fun. Heck yes. We rocked at that, too….

We also got to go on a mini-vacation. One of the guys in the group, Shane, grew up a couple hours from Joplin in Kansas. We got to go to his parents ranch in Grenola, Kansas. It was one of THE most beautiful places I have every been. So much land, cows, horses, friends, blue sky for as far as the eye can see. Lovely. We went to Shane’s parents church for “Singspiration” where an older couple lead hymns acapella. It was amazing…and afterward we got to have amazing food that tasted as if it was from my grandma Donna’s kitchen. Delicious…and amazing. Amazing times were had there. Shane (our pastor, and the other Shane’s brother-in-law) was uneasy planning this vacation during a mission trip, but realized while there we went to bless a newlywed missionary couple, Travis and Vicki. They got married and flew to Joplin the day after – never sleeping in a real bed until we got to the ranch.

to be continued…



Update:  October 4, 2011

I just want to give another shout out to everyone who made this trip possible for me. I cannot tell you just how amazing of a time it was, life changing. It was exactly what I needed and I feel so blessed to have been a part of the “A Team” that went. There are pictures on Facebook my friends posted, BUT I figure I would post some of the ones I took with my phone. Enjoy 🙂

Update:  August 12, 2011

I have my entire trip PAID FOR! Praise the Lord! Thank you family and friends, it means SOO much to me 🙂 If you would still like to donate for materials, please do so. Thanks!

Update August 1, 2011:

I cannot begin to fathom just how blessed I have been by my friends and family. All I can manage to do is say, “Wow!”…God REALLY does provide! I have just $125 to raise, not including what I have saved up for myself. I am blessed, and I just want to say a big, “THANK YOU!” to all who have helped me come this far :)

You have blessed me greatly and I am amazed.

thank you, Jesus

…and thank YOU!

Original Post July 7, 2011:

When the tornadoes hit Joplin this past-May, the thought of a mission trip briefly crossed my mind. I didn’t think much of it until I overheard Shane talking to AJ about a plan to go a couple weeks ago. (I’m a middle child, i’m nosey!) I interrupted him (woops!) to verify what I heard was true…and it WAS! I was SUPER pumped about it – especially to go with many of my closest friends!!! But then…the dates were announced. September 1-9. And I was torn.

My older sister is due with her second child that same week. Right smack dab in the middle. September 6.

Sure, you can never really plan when to give birth (naturally). She can have it a week early or two weeks late. My sister wants me there, and I want to be there.

I also have my first family reunion in 11 years that same week.

I love spending time with my family, being around my own flesh and blood who love me. I want to be there, too!

But the passion to serve in my own country where people are in need was too strong to ignore and forget about.

I need to go where He wants me. And the Lord is calling me to Joplin.

With that being said, I need YOUR help.

I wholeheartedly believe that where God guides, God provides. And sometimes His provision is through support from others. I have been super blessed the last couple years I’ve gone to San Vicente, Mexico with the youth group as the timing of the trip is around the same time I get my tax refund check. But this time, it’s different and I am relying on God to provide the way for me to go. I will be saving as much as I can, but I know I won’t be able to do it all myself.

So, if you feel called to do so, please pray and if you feel lead to donate, please do. Even if all you can do is pray I will receive the funds, I will be just as thankful! Seriously!

I know how great and big our God is. The total amount for the trip is not for sure yet. Shane mentioned something in the area of $700-800. I also am taking a week off work, which is a pretty good chunk – especially coming off such a busy Summer. With that being said…my goal is $1000, ALL extra money I don’t need will be given to the Calvary Chapel in Joplin or to victims of the tornadoes directly.

I am excited for the opportunity to serve the Lord in the United States. Having been through natural disasters at my own house growing up, and being super blessed by my churches serving the Lord and helping my family, I am thankful to do the same for others.

Please pray for this trip. That all details will fall into place. That we may all be prepared to serve the Lord wholeheartedly and genuinely. That all funds for everyone will be provided, and if this trip is not the Lord’s will for me (or someone else), that we will be okay with that, too.

If you would like to donate to my trip fund, please click the image below. I am doing it through my Paypal. If you would like to send a donation in the mail, please email me at

Thank you.

In Christ love,



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