Saturday, August 19, 2017

Joplin Mourning, But Resilient

June 3, 2011 by  
Filed under Monthly Articles, World News

From AG.org

Funerals are in progress but chain saws also are buzzing in Joplin, Missouri, as the May 22 tornado victims mourn their losses and begin taking uncertain but determined steps to rebuild their lives. Pastor Anthony Crane of Oak Street Assembly of God in nearby Carthage, Missouri, is one of many finding ways to help.

“We’re now lining up for funerals. I did one today. There’s more to come. It’s the process of grieving and mourning but these people are incredibly resilient,” Crane said, adding that the people of Joplin are gaining momentum for rebuilding and are refusing to give way to discouragement. Still, a sense of shock hangs in the air. “They’re finding it hard to grasp that this really happened to them.”

The pastor led his own congregation to the church basement as debris from Joplin blew by and calls began to come from loved ones digging out of the wreckage. After the first day of search and rescue, they joined teams distributing supplies and beginning cleanup.

Crane works through Convoy of Hope, the compassion partner of the Assemblies of God. Convoy of Hope has distributed more than 20 tractor-trailers of food and supplies since the disaster.

Although he is overwhelmed by the destruction, Crane sees something good happening.

“This is what the Body of Christ is supposed to look like. Joplin is getting to see this. No denominational glory, just Jesus. It’s a beautiful thing,” Crane said. He calls the outpouring of response amazing. People are going to Joplin with chain saws and equipment to help in whatever way they can. Teams cut trees and stack logs in the streets then someone shows up with a tractor and front end loader. “I must have seen that repeated a thousand times,” Crane said.

Needs in Joplin are changing almost daily, according to Crane. Victims are mourning losses and the injured are focusing on healing, but the city also is looking ahead. With 8,000 structures destroyed or damaged, debris removal will be a big job for a long time. A steady stream of relief supplies will be needed for the many still displaced. Convoy of Hope is monitoring evolving product needs as survivors begin to transition to debris removal and cleanup.

Crane’s current project is collecting box fans. Even where structures remain, air conditioning is often gone. In fact, electricity and gas services remain uncertain in some areas. With 90-degree summer days at hand, Crane said the need is desperate. To help provide relief from the rising heat, Convoy of Hope volunteers have been distributing cold water and popsicles to people removing debris in some of the hardest-hit areas of Joplin.

For more information on Convoy of Hope’s efforts in Joplin, visit the organization’s website.

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