Thoughts from Oklahoma: Day 9-Meeting Needs at the Point of Need

Today, I met a wonderful lady at the Little Axe Multi-Agency Resource Center. I have been doing emergency disaster assistance casework. I asked her if I could share her story.

May 19th was a special, but ordinary day for her family. Her husband was in Shawnee with the grandmother getting ready for the birthday party for their 16-year old. While they were away from their home, disaster struck! A friend called her from a storm cellar and told her that everything was gone!

Path of May 19 & 20 2013 Oklahoma Tornadoes

Her husband tried for two days to get back to the site of their home but was not allowed. When they finally got to the site, they saw that everything was gone. It was a total loss!

Newalla, OK is a small rural community in east Oklahoma County, south of Oklahoma City and near Norman. Sandy has lived on that property for 14 years. Each and every one of the five children was born and raised in that home. She has lived in this area since the 4th grade. This was her home!

She said that when she returned she was horrified. Everything that she knew and everything that she owned was takes away but the storm! They were worried for their pets. The Bibb family has four dogs, a cat, and a bird. Fortunately, the dogs and cat have been located, but all they could find of the bird was the smashed cage.

What makes this family’s situation even worse is that the danger is not over!Right now, they are not in danger of tornadoes taking whatever is left. Their fear right now is the looters that have been going over their property taking whatever they pleased. A local church brought them some tents, cots and toys for their children. When they returned, the only thing left were a few toys!

The family is trying to make the best of it and staying out on their property. Their three-year old has not returned to the site because their is still broken glass and dangerous debris.

“I don’t have a home. Tornado came and ‘blewed’ it away!” – three-year old disaster survivor

The family has been working on clearing their property. They have been hesitant about allowing groups to help because they are unsure of their intentions.

The three-year old is still maintaining a good outlook on the situation. If you ask her about going home, she will look at you and say with a smile, “I don’t have a home. Tornado came and ‘blewed’ it away!”

When I asked this lady if I could share her story, she said that I could, but she began to tear up a little!I asked her what she was feeling and she said this:

“I just want a home for my family! A nice place for them to live!”

This family has been working with FEMA to make that happen. The Salvation Army was able to offer her financial assistance to help her family with their emergency needs. She was extremely grateful and thanked me over and over.

Although she declined to have her picture, I wish I could show you the look of resilience in her face. After meeting her, I am beginning to understand what #OklahomaStrong really means!

We had prayer together before she left for which she was very grateful for! She said that was one of the first times that someone offered to pray with her during this experience. She said that prayer was the best thing! I agree!

#PrayForOklahoma

Soli Deo Gloria!

Understanding God’s Environment

Psalm 36:6 – Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,  your justice like the ocean depths.  You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.

I have never been a great lover of nature.  While I appreciate the beauty and majesty of creation around me, I cannot help but only see dirt.  I do not like the beach because of sand.  It just gets everywhere.

I am thankful in these moments that God did not just stop with dirt and sand.  He made beautiful mountains, deep oceans, breath-taking landscapes, and gorgeous flowers.  And, He made it all for us.

While I am wondering about the beauty of nature, I always come around to thinking about how it is a reflection of God’s very own nature.  The psalmist shares that God’s righteousness, His idea of right living, is like a might mountain.  His idea of what we should be and how we we should act is a tall, strong, immovable symbol.  His justice is likened to the unfathomable depths of the ocean.  How he cares and the lengths that He is willing to go for you and me are of the deepest ever known.

To the early perspective, a mountain would be the tallest thing, the largest thing around their world.  An ocean, well an ocean would be the deepest place that would have ever seen.  They would not have had the equipment to scale the tallest mountains or explore the deepest oceans.  It was beyond their reach.  It was other to them.

I believe we need a little of that otherness in our understanding of God.  Who God is and what God can do is beyond what we know and understand.

Soli Deo Gloria!