I just had an opportunity to hear more about what churches are doing in the Joplin area. Below is some information from the pastor of First Baptist Church in Galena, Kansas, and it's more than worth your time. I need you all to take a minute and read it over very carefully. There are opportunities to help for sure.
So, tell me a little about what happened and how First Baptist Church Galena has responded.
On Sunday evening May 22nd, a killer E-5 tornado ripped through Joplin, Missouri. In response to this tragedy, First Baptist Church of Galena, Kansas partnered with Grace Baptist Church of Joplin, Missouri and Pastor Fred Vogel, to minister to our neighbors and church families who are enduring the greatest challenge of their lives. On Monday morning after the tornado, several of us met and developed a strategy to minister to the short-term needs of our community and God has touched the hearts of others to partner with us. Last week, we fed over 5,000 victims and volunteers a hot meal, provided tetanus shots to hundreds of volunteers, and collected and distributed water, non-perishable food items, personal hygiene articles, and articles of clothing. We further completed more than 400 construction projects which included sifting through the remains of houses to salvage what could be found, moving people's belongings into storage facilities, using chain saws to clear the downed trees, repairing roofs, and many other services too numerous to mention.
On day three, we developed a long-term strategy to minister to the people. We identified the “Jerusalem” (Acts 1:8) of Grace Baptist Church, their area of ministry and influence, which includes 450 houses located in and around the church. We initially surveyed these houses and identified the specific needs of each family and then we met that need. We are going back every other day to these families to identify other needs and meet those. Our prayer is that as we develop a relationship of love with these families that we will gain their trust and will have earned a hearing as we share God's marvelous plan of salvation with them.
What can my readers do to help?
First of all, please pray for us. We need physical strength, emotional strength, spiritual power, and wisdom to minister in a crisis that is in a constant state of flux—changing every day. Only God can meet these personal needs and so would you please pray for us?
Secondly, we ask that you pray about sending an offering to help us. We need individuals, families, Sunday School classes, small groups, and churches to help us with financial donations. Because we have no operating overhead, we assure you that 100% of every dollar given is invested through two local churches directly to the families of Joplin, a claim that no other national or international relief agency can make.
Thirdly, we could use your physical presence here in Joplin. If you can come, please call, email, or text me and we will do our very best to provide housing and some meals. We are in this for the long-term so we need help over the next year plus.
Some are collecting items to bring to Joplin and we appreciate that very much. However, I ask that you please contact me before you start collecting items because the needs are constantly changing. For example, last week we needed clothing and bottled water but not this week.
Where can we send money to help?
If you can help us with a financial gift, please send your tax-deductible offering to:
First Baptist Church
P.O. Box 218
Galena, Kansas 66739
Please mark your check “tornado” or “Joplin.”
There is no way that television can portray the real damage here. You can see the physical damage but we see and hear the emotional and spiritual damage to people on an hourly basis. God is all over this city and I promise that you cannot come to Joplin and not be changed. The need is great! The time is now! You are needed! Please pray about helping us!