Today was our first full day in Joplin, MO, and what an amazing time we all had! After our morning Starbucks trip we drove around the path of the storm. We saw so much destruction and devastation. Homes were destroyed, rubble piles were packed high in the middle of the vast flat grasslands, roofs were disheveled and hanging onto the houses by a thread, bricks were thrown about and badly weathered, and in the midst of all this nothingness there was hope. As corny as it sounds, the spirit of Joplin truly amazes me.
After traveling to Joplin High, now Hope High School, we saw wooden stars posted to the fences of the construction site reading "God is bigger than any 'monsters' we face", "Always remember" and "No place like home: 5/22". These people lost everything that they possessed, their homes, their personal belongings, some of them lost their children, family and friends, yet they still have their faith and find true happiness being together, supporting each other and helping each other move past this disaster. Looking through the papers strewn throughout the ground within the work site where Joplin High once stood I thought about the history within those walls--people attending school dances, passing their high school crushes in the hallways, making friends, playing sports, mastering a subject they never thought they could because of the help from a great teacher, and I got really emotional seeing the destruction the storm had caused.
Since arriving we have gotten so many thanks-from the airline workers to the man who paid $100 for our dinner at Pizza Hut to the waiter who told us we're touching his heart by helping restore because he lost so many friends and coworkers to the tornado and it really grateful me happy to be a part of this effort to restore some sense of Joplin. By working on a few houses we are putting our work and talents into improving someone's future just a little bit. It means a lot to me to be spending another spring break working in disaster relief.
Other events today included the purchase of a plush snuggie, stepping into a huge puddle, and making first of many ventures to SONIC! I'm running out of steam, or else I would totally write more in-depth.
Til next time!