Tornado Recovery

Two years ago my family made two trips to help with tornado recovery in Joplin, Missouri. I saw devastation like never before.

We spent our days collecting household items and important papers that had been strewn all over the city, hoping to somehow connect the item or important papers with their owners.

I particularly remember picking up a drawing that had been obviously drawn by a preschooler and had most likely been posted proudly on the refrigerator in the kitchen.

1466060_361785650625093_891568815_nNow there was no refrigerator and no kitchen.

Never did I think that we would experience this kind of devastation in my own back yard.

On Sunday, Mark and I headed to East Peoria to worship at Harvest Bible Chapel.  It was extremely windy and the clouds were rolling in.  Just as we arrived at church, the rain started pouring.

We ran into the building and just as we got inside, the electricity went out.  They began asking everyone to move into the worship center, away from the windows in the lobby.

Within minutes we knew this was serious.  Many people were crouched on the floor with heads covered, praying aloud.  We heard the freight train sound of the tornado and my ears began popping.  I honestly thought that the roof above us would be peeling away at any moment.

But it didn’t.

The tornado ripped through the parking lot of the church, but not the building. No one was seriously hurt.

We worshipped in the dark. Pastor Harkness preached in the dark.  We prayed in the dark.

After our time of service, we headed out to find our cars.  We had driven my car…the tiniest little car that I was just sure had been picked up and thrown into the next county.  But there it sat.  Every car around us had their windows blown out.  Many cars were pushed into each other.

My windshield was cracked and broken in over 10 places, but it was intact!  The car hadn’t moved!

1461714_361817710621887_1349869111_nAs we drove home that day, little did we know the devastation that had occurred just miles away in parts of Pekin, Peoria, and Washington, IL.  These are communities where I speak at moms groups. There are friends and the family of friends who live there.  My friend Mindy’s parents lost their home.

Now the clean up begins, one piece at a time.  Their lives will forever be marked by “before the tornado” and “after the tornado.”

Please join me in praying for the families who were affected by these tornadoes.  We have many women from these areas that come to our Hearts at Home conferences and are part of our Hearts at Home family.

Our prayers and our support for relief efforts can make a difference.

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3 Responses to Tornado Recovery

  1. Barb Winters says:

    Thanks for posting. We live two hours west of this area and know some living your way. My heart and prayers go out to those affected by these tornadoes and storms.
    http://inthemidstof.wordpress.com/

  2. Robin Schick says:

    I had wondered how close to you the tornadoes were, we will be praying for the recovery and clean-up to those effected by the tornado

  3. Susan says:

    My heart has been broken as I’ve seen the pictures of devastation- total devastation!- that so many families suffered on Sunday. I have been through such hard times in my own life over the past few years, times where I didn’t think I would make it. I think it’s because of those experiences that I feel such overwhelming compassion for those whose lives and homes have been destroyed. I know that there will be many amazing testimonies later about God’s faithfulness through this season of difficulty, but sometimes- when you’re in the midst of such despair- it can be hard to see anything good at all. We are right there with you, as a family, praying for those involved. Washington is a wonderful community, and I am looking forward to seeing how the body of Christ responds to this event over the weeks and months to come. And we’re praying that God will use this as a sobering reminder to all of us about what truly matters in life, and what does not.
    Thanks for this post, Jill!

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