Well, not sure how many of you know but I spent about a week in Oklahoma helping to rebuild from the tornados, and I just got back last night. I teamed up with an organization, a couple youth groups, and a handful of other people that came on their own.
This was my 7th mission trip that I’ve been on, it was however my first disaster relief mission trip. I don’t know how to explain it, but there’s a distinct difference between serving people who don’t have anything, and people who lost everything.
I was blown away by how much damage there still was even months after the tornados hit. Entire neighborhoods leveled. I couldn’t begin to tell you how many roof shingles I picked up from parks, yards, gardens. Debris was everywhere, even still. I heard multiple people say they feel they need counseling, months later people still can’t talk about that day without crying.
One of the guys on our team shared that he had talked to a young man who pointed to a cloud and said, “You have no idea the destruction one of those can cause.”
I helped rebuild a woman’s shed in her backyard and I had the chance to open up her new tornado shelter she had invested in. I opened the heavy metal door to the 6×6 concrete shelter in the ground and the idea of having to use this to save your life floored me.
Heard a story from a man who lives right by the elementary school that was hit who ran into the school after the tornado before ambulances could get there and he got 4 children out but couldn’t save another little boy, and he watched him die.
In a phone call before coming on the trip my trip leader had said that disaster relief trips are a whole different kind of mission trip, and it was very true.
One day me and a couple of guys took trash bags to a shut down park and filled up several bags with debris. As I cleaned up the park I found someone’s glasses, and a child’s backpack, I found children’s toys. Things that were once in someone’s home. It’s different cleaning up litter that you know punks have thrown around, but to clean up items that a tornado ripped through a home and sent things flying… There’s a different feeling to it.
It was a sobering trip. With a lot of hard work and a lot of good done. And I met some amazing people. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.