Joplin ERT BLOG
Joplin Day 5
Matt Laurin and Nathan Welch secure robe tie down for Calvary Chapel's new tents, which have been brought in to provide relief for tornado victims.
We started the morning with our devotional time by reading I John 3:16. This is how we know what love is: that Jesus Christ laid down His life His life for us. And we ought to lay down lay down our lives for our brothers. If we have material possessions and the ability to meet the needs of others, and if we love others as Christ loves, then we should demonstrate that love by our deeds. For example, Romans 5:8 points out Christ demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. If our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask...because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him. His command is simple; believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ. We live in Him and He lives in us.
After breakfast at Fire Station One, we learned that the searches of the affected areas had been called off and there wasn't a task for us to do. We determined to return to one of the houses we had seen during our first day's search. They had a tree come down over their swimming pool preventing us from seeing all of the pool. We used chainsaws to remove the tree limbs that covered the pool but because we were on task to search a large area we had to move on. We told the people who lived there (and were assisting us in pulling the branches to the front of the house) that we would finish cutting up the tree when we got a chance. We went back to the house today and found they had already finished the job.
Just down the street we saw some people loading their household goods in a box truck. We asked if they could use the help of our 10-man team. They agreed to have us help them. Pictured above is Jamie Zuker loading their couch
With Jim Powers effectively leading the loading team and Kit working for 1 1/2 hours in a sauna like enclosure in the back of the truck, we got it all loaded in a couple of hours.
Halfway through the job, we were joined by a family from Texas, who had been looking for people they could help. The couple, which owned the house, Herb and Vera, had been completely buried in their church during the tornado, with only Herb's arm exposed. It took rescuers an hour to free them. We drove across town to Vera's sister's (Donna) house, where they fed everyone a full lunch they had picked up on the way. A half hour of unloading the furnishings into a barn and the job was finished. The discussion during lunch was on spiritual topics and a thorough explanation of FFC’s ministry and goals. We prayed the Lord's blessings on them and that their recovery would go smoothly. The team split up after we left Donna's house. Some went to find a retired firefighter they had met earlier and some to visit Joplin firefighters in their stations. At Station 3, we were surprised when F/F Chris Johnson pulled from his wallet his FFC membership card. The five firefighters in the station were interested to hear how the FFC/ERT worked and asked a few questions. The visit went well. Then we left to go to Station 1.
At Station 1, we learned that they needed people to go to Station 4 (which was destroyed in the tornado) and salvage the contents of the station. We joined with a six-person team from St. Louis County and went to the station. We spent a couple hours removing the weight machines and kitchen appliances (being careful not to open the refrigerators) and talking with the county firefighters. When that task was done, we returned to Calvary Chapel for dinner and a Wednesday night service.
Our day was filled with many personal contacts, helpful labor, and Jesus was glorified through His servants. We are asking the Lord where He would have us go tomorrow. We want it to be a place that is right in the center of His will.
Tuesday morning another team picture was taken before David Weimer from Prosper, Texas headed for home. Jim Haney said they prayed for his safety and thanked the Lord that David was able to serve the Lord with them. Lt to rt top row: Jim Haney, Pat Kitrantnee, Craig Poulson, Jim Powers. Middle row: Jamie Zuker, Casey Clark, Matt Laurin, Danny Caldwell. Front row: Nathan Welch, David Weimer, David Ledwitz. Please pray that the Lord's purposes will be accomplished through each of these firefighters' lives.
Matt led the devotion this morning and talked about the leadership differences of Moses and David. The main point of difference being, "Are you listening to God or are you distracted?"
Moses, even when confronted with the burning bush that wasn't consumed, questioned God's decision to make him the leader of Israel. Several times he contended with God about his qualifications to be Israel's leader, even to the point of causing God to be angry with him. We often don't trust what God is leading us to do because we are distracted from God's purposes by what we see as a lack of abilities to do what God asks. But God equips those whom He calls and enables us to carry out His mission. Exodus 3
David, on the other hand had a deep-seated conviction, even in his youth, that God could use his talents, no matter how little they were, to fulfill His purposes. He stepped out in faith with a sling and defeated Goliath with a single stone even telling the giant ahead of time that by the power of the God of Israel he would kill Goliath and cut off his head. His leadership at a young age was full of trust and confidence in God to accomplish all His plans for Israel. I Sam. 16:6-13
Matt then had us go around the room and tell how each member came to the conclusion that they were to come on this trip to Joplin. It was not too surprising that a few said it was because their godly wives encouraged them to go.
Danny and Nathan spent the night last night with a Calvary Chapel outreach station in the destruction zone. This gave them time to minister to the police, EMTs, and military personnel that work during the quiet times of the night. They reported that they were able to spend a great deal of time in conversation with the personnel and thought it was very worthwhile. They got in just before morning devotions.
After breakfast we assisted a Dr. Hany Mikhail move his office from a storage facility and his destroyed office to a new office. He was greatly moved (no pun intended) by the outpouring of help and support for him when 10 firefighters showed up and easily made the move. I cannot tell you how many times he thanked us and insisted he would come to the church after dinner just to continue fellowship with our team. Hany (he refused to be called Doctor) is a Christian who was raised in the Coptic Church in Egypt. After dinner we swapped God stories and gave praise to the Lord for His goodness. He stayed for about an hour before leaving.
This afternoon, after seeing Craig and Pat off for their trip back home, the team went to Redings Mill Fire Department, in a small town south of Joplin. These firefighters responded to Joplin the night of the tornado. We spent a couple hours speaking to the chief, his deputies, captains and firefighters. Although the conversations started slowly, we were soon talking like old friends. It was great fellowship and the chief made a point to have us connect with their chaplain tomorrow. We were glad we went and so were they. Well, it is time for bed and we need our rest.
Lt. to rt.: Jamie Zuker, San Diego City FD and Nathan Welch, Fresno City FD Explorer, are part of FFC Emergency Relief Team in Joplin, Missouri. On Wednesday, some members worked with firefighters from St. Louis County, Missouri. Together they helped salvage some of the contents from Joplin's Fire Station 4, which was destroyed by the tornado. Other members visited firefighters in their stations. Their prayer is for God's perfect direction for each day.
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