After class on Thursday, Our great God safely guided Christa and I out of the path of a snow storm..7 1/2 hrs into Washington Illinois. In the wee hours of Friday morning a few miles before arriving at Evan and Emilys we began to notice debris all over the sides of the road, signs twisted and fallen. It was evident that out in there darkness not to far off was complete destruction.
Friday morning dawned a chilly 30 some degrees. Bundling up in multiple layers, Christa, Schmidy, Joel and I headed off to the Washington church where the Tornado relief head quarters was. I walked into the Lunch assembly room to find an enormous amount of testosterone! Christa and I were some of the only girls but that was ok:) After a talk, prayer and reading we were off.... off to our first destination. The only one for that day actually. We were assigned to the Buchers house. This was a couple from church who had just arrived home from Indiana i believe? when the tornado hit. What was once a gorgeous brick house was a flattened mess. nothing was structurally standing. All that was left was an enormous pile of bricks, boards, debris, and broken belongings. Just driving through the town and then sorting through the rubble really hit home to me. It really made me realize even more how temporary these things here on earth are. This earth truly isnt our home, its just a temporary holding place until that great day when all Gods children can go home!
I stayed at that sight until it was finished and then since it was slightly below freezing and Abi and Weston were awaiting my arrival at Emilys so i bounced out for the day and bonded with my dear sister and precious baby:) Friday evening was a relaxing one with Evan, Emily and Brielle. Abi and Joel had to get back to Mepo for evening plans so it was just the 4 of us. Im so lucky to have family all over and family that takes me in whenever i stop in:)Its like i have 4 different houses! Honestly its such a great feeling:)
Saturday Morning was round number 2 as Schmiddy, Christa and I bundled up once again for another round of tornado clean up. Wow. all i can say is wow. Walking into the church i was met with over 500 people sitting in the lunch room, standing in the coat rooms, and in the lobby/fellowship area. People from all over. People in all walks of life. It was truly amazing. Once i was out on the job sight again i was continuously in Awe at the graciousness of those effected. Even at those who werent effected but who were doing what they could to help. There was a constant flow of vehicles bringing hot chocolate, sandwiches, burgers, candy, fruit, hand warmers, chapstick, water. You name it. Everyone wanted to help! I began my day cleaning out an intact basement . There was about 20 or so of us. in the dark, with phone lights and flashlights cleaning out the remainder of these strangers belongings. it was incredible. After that we headed out to a house that was half way gone. here we cleaned out debris, swept it out, packed up the ladies kitchen, cleaned off their book shelves, boxed up their belongings and piled them in an intact bedroom. The top of their house was completely Gone. In 20 degree weather this can be quite exciting let me tell you..but as long as we stayed moving we were fine. God gave us some sunshine that helped with the warmth:) The last place of the day that i had the opportunity to impact was the rubble of what once was an old couples home. Since the couple was unable to walk over boards, and shattered belongings, a group of strangers headed up a team of us to dig. Dig for anything that could be of any significant worth to these old folks. And man...what treasures we did find! we picked up over 2 rubbermaid totes of baseball cards from the old mans enormous collection. We found family heritage books, old old photo books with black and white photos...I even found 2 rifles. Perfectly intact. We had to move a wall to get to them but it was an amazing find!
Words cant even explain how wonderful the experience was. If the Lord allows i would LOVE to go back and help once more.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, let me share with you a few million.....
There is nothing better than walking into your house after 108 days of being gone and smelling the warm aroma of home, Rediscovering how comfortable your bed is while relaxing in its enormousness in comparison to your tiny one at school, or seeing pure Joy in the eyes of your pooch when you walk outside the next morning. The mountains, the green and Oh the smell...the Oregon smell, aint nothin like it:) It is GOOD to be home. Ive missed this place. And so my prayer now is that these next 6 days go by extremely slow....:)
Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving, There is SO MUCH to be thankful for!