A Bit of My Story

A while ago Amanda asked me if I lived in Joplin during the EF5 Tornado. I was living in Joplin, so I decided to tell a little bit of my story. We lived in the path of the Tornado. Technically, while we were in the path we weren't in the direct line of total devastation. We were two blocks away. Which meant we had broken windows, a whole in our roof, one totaled car, and nearly all of our trees were up rooted. However two blocks down there was nothing. We were very blessed and I believe God's hand was over us.

I decided that today would be a good day to share since it marks 3 years since that day. When you read this, please don't apologize, because these moments I'm sharing have healed and passed. Here is my story.

I was living with my mom at the time. It was Sunday evening and I was cooking dinner. My mom had just finished some yard work and we watched the storm roll in. I went outside to let Zoe in and then went back to cooking dinner. Storms are no big thing in Joplin so we didn't think much about it. The lights started to flicker and my only response was, "the power better not go out until I finish cooking." Like I said, no big thing. So the power went out and my mom and I started to pay a little bit more attention to the weather. I cracked a joke and asked her if she remember where we were supposed to go in a tornado. Her response was wrong and I replied in a joking snarky voice. Our tornado room was my mom's closet. It was in the center of the house and the safest place. We decided that we would at least put the dogs in her room to be prepared so that if something did happen we wouldn't be looking for them.

We headed into my mom's room with the dogs and as we entered I went to look out the window. "If there was any time to get into the closet, it would be now." I couldn't see past our shed outside because of the debris. We sat crouched in the closet holding the dogs and waited. Debris started to hitting the house, we could hear the windows shatter and I heard all the trees hit the ground. My mom and I started to pray and kept waiting for it to be right on top of us. Which, thankfully never happened. The tornado passed and we exited. I called Tyler and all he heard was... "A tornado just went over our house, a tornado just went over our house!" Then the call dropped. He was living in Tennessee at the time.
A lot happened on that day. My brother who was living across down was not affected. He drove over, but had to park a couple of blocks away because nearly all the streets were blocked. I remember things so vividly. Once my brother arrived we walked two blocks dow. The photos above are what I saw. I have many pictures; cars upside down, people searching for others in the debris, people broken and crying. I didn't want to post any of those photos... that was the hardest part, taking those photos. 
Below is a photo of my mom's house. When I see this photo I think about how blessed we were and I think about how Jesus was really with us. Every house surrounding us took on more damage then we did. Every house around us was full of debris. Many people were unable to stay in there homes, but my mom and I still had our beds to sleep in and a roof over our head. We were without power for 9 days and the section of the city we lived in was under curfew because of all the damage and lack of power. When you drove in my neighbor at night it was pitch black. I was stopped a couple times driving home for a vehicle check to confirm I lived in that area.
Over time things started to look up. People came from all over the world to help Joplin rebuild. It was one of the most amazing things I had ever seen. People helped us clean up our yard, people helped us board up our windows, people dropped off food and supplies. The photo below is a wonderful representation of how many people came to help. So many of them signed the inside of this home.
I wanted to end this post on a happy note. So I've include photos from when Extreme Home Maker came to Joplin to build 7 homes in 7 days. I have tons and tons of photos from the tornado and from when Extreme Home Maker was there, but that's TOO many photos. It was crazy, it was amazing, and it was so fun to see!
If you  have made it to the end, you rock! That may have been one of the longest posts I have ever done. Props to you my friend!

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