Once in a while you have a life experience that leaves an imprint on your soul. An imprint that will never leave you the same as you were before the experience. On May 22, 2011, as an E-5 tornado ripped across the town of Joplin, Missouri, thousands of lives were changed forever. Not only were the people who lived in Joplin physically left in ruins and emotionally changed forever but on that day the people of Joplin were about to realize how resilient they were and just how loved they were.
I have been honored to be a ground zero volunteer since the first week following the tornado. I work with others to help victims of this tragedy be able to quickly replace items that were necessary to their survival. We have provided hundreds of items so far and the list of needs just keeps growing each day. The generosity of this nation is overwhelming!
In the midst of all of the destruction, what you will see in Joplin is the beauty of those who have gathered from all over this nation for a common purpose. What you will see is a place where political parties play no part, ethnic background, or religious affiliations aren't relevant. It is simply people helping people, families helping families, and those who were once strangers and might not have ever crossed paths in this lifetime, that are now considered family. God has blessed Joplin in so many ways. In a time when the world seems to be falling apart because of the things I mentioned above, there sure is a lot of humanity happening right in the middle of it all! It is shocking when you see Joplin for the first time but when you look beyond the surface, you being to see the hope and strength of its people. Joplin will never be the same but not in the way that most may think. They are forever changed. They mourn for the people who were lost but support those who are still here. They lost material possessions but are finding out that the true meaning in their lives don't amount to what they had in their hands but what is now in their hearts. They have one another.