Des Peres Church Brings Hope to Joplin, 9 Months Later
Red, White, and Renewed
A diverse group of thirteen members from St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Des Peres spent Presidents’ Day weekend 2012 bringing hope and renewal to Joplin, MO. Even nine months after it was obliterated by an EF5 tornado, aid workers are still in high demand.
Under the auspices of Lutheran Church Charities and blessed by the hospitality of the fire chief and his family, the St. Paul’s team experienced three distinct areas of the continuing relief efforts.
Saturday was spent doing “salvage recovery” at Joplin East Middle School, a three-year old structure that was hit hard by the twister and is slated to be demolished.
It didn’t take long before they could remove the partitions from a bathroom in under half an hour. After worship at Immanuel Lutheran Church on Sunday, the group was given five addresses at which general debris removal was needed. The first and last were most memorable—helping an extremely grateful local man clean up his backyard in the aftermath of losing his garage and beautifying a dirt lot across the street from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’s 7 houses in 7 days.
Monday the group divided in two: half sorted donated books bound for local school libraries, and half assembled kindergarten registration packets using donated school supplies.
As the youth participants studied piles of waterlogged binders and textbooks in the school hallway on Saturday, they were hit with the realization that the events of May 22, 2011 were utterly unplanned. They will not, however, be forgotten. The rebuilding process will take decades, but our Lord’s promise in Revelation 21:5 reigns supreme: “I am making everything new!”
This was the second time St. Paul’s has sponsored a Joplin trip. The church plans to be a continued presence throughout the rebuilding process. Visit the St. Paul's website at www.stpaulsdesperes.org.