The journey to Joplin, Missouri has begun. Technically, it began at about 3:45 AM. Right now all 26 of us are waiting at the Dallas Fort Worth Airport to board our final flight to Joplin. We have had some delays though so we are resting, eating candy, and filling our bodies with caffeine for the week ahead.
We have not even arrived in Joplin and the experiences from the tornadoes are already being told and leaving impressions on us. I asked out loud to the group if anyone knew if the Joplin Airport was affected by the tornado. No one in the group knew the answer but a young guy sitting by himself chimed in and said that it hadn’t. He was also waiting for the flight to Joplin to board and I could tell he had a story. He started listing off the streets that were affected the most, including the local businesses. He also said that he had to attend four funerals that week. Even the Home Depot he worked at was destroyed. My heart broke. I wanted nothing more than to just hug him and say I’m sorry. He asked about where we were from and what we were doing. He was kind enough to thank us. It consistently amazes me how thankful people are for what we are doing. Yet, WE are the ones who should be thankful. We should be thankful for this opportunity and for being the ones who can do the giving rather than the receiving.
As the airlines had us move to a different terminal to board our flight, I overhead him say to himself, “I just want to go home.” Home. Joplin is his home. It made me think of my own home and what it would be like if I had to see it in such a state of devastation. The thought was enough to make my heart hurt. So while we begin the journey to help rebuild we should remember that Joplin is not just a town that has a tornado touchdown in, it is home to so many. It is a place of comfort, a place of serenity, and a place that they can go back to everyday and be who they are.We have the chance to bring a little piece of that back to them and we are so appreciative.
Thank you Joplin!