22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:
Wednesday, April 27, 2011 is a day that people in Alabama will never forget. It started out as a pretty normal day. There was the threat of bad weather, and facebook was full of teachers and students speculating on whether or not school would let out early. It wasn't long before we heard that we would get out around 1:00. So we worked hard to get all of the important things done before then.
At home, we watched the weather diligently. It was still sunny, with occasional wind bursts. The kids even played outside for a while. Church was cancelled, as many churches across the state decided it was going to be too dangerous for people to be out and about.
As the storms approached, my husband decided to put our youngest down for a nap. We knew it was supposed to be bad until midnight, and that she would most likely have to stay up later than usual.
They had been laying down for about 30 minutes when it started. I watched in disbelief for a few minutes, and then called upstairs to tell my husband he might want to come downstairs to watch. We were watching a real live horror movie play out before our eyes. A huge tornado was hitting the city of Cullman, Al. It was surreal. I was sitting in my living room watching a tornado literally tear across the northern part of my state.
Then almost before we could totally process that, another tornado hit the city of Tuscaloosa and tore a path across to Birmingham and beyond. Again we watched in disbelief. I could only pray, "God, please be with all those people!" I have seen the devastation a small tornado can cause, and this was a huge tornado.
As the whole state seemed to be a boiling mass of tornadoes, we decided we might better seek shelter ourselves. We have precious friends who have a finished basement, that always invite us over during tornado warnings. So we loaded up some snacks and went there. The kids played as we sat and watched the news, and monitored how friends and loved ones were doing via facebook and texts.
We were definitely blessed as tornadoes hit both north and south of us, but missed us completely. When we got home, our youngest was a little anxious about going to bed, so I told her she could lay with me. We talked about how blessed we were that we had a bed to sleep in, as many people now did not. We prayed and thanked God for keeping us safe, and asking Him to be with those affected by the storm.
When I finished praying, my littlest princess was crying. She told me we should invite the people who no longer had beds to sleep in to come to our house to stay. I told her there were so many people, that there was no way we could invite them all to stay with us. She looked at me and with great conviction and compassion said, "But Mommy, we HAVE to help them!!!" I promised her we would find a way to help.
The next day, I told my husband I wanted to do something to help. We prayed for God to guide us, and we made several contacts. We found through a member of our church, a church just outside a devastated area that was taking donations, and making meals. We called on our church members to make donations, and we called on our teens to serve.
Then Saturday morning, we loaded up a van load of supplies, and a van load of teen volunteers, and headed out to keep my promise to my daughter. We got there, helped unload, and then organize the supplies. Then we got to work making sandwiches. About the time we would get finished, another call would come in from another place that needed food, and we would start working again. It was pretty much nonstop for three hours. We stopped when they told us that they would not have time to deliver any more before the lock down.
As I came home, and ate hot food, I thought of those who were eating our sandwiches. As I got in a hot shower, I thought of those who were bathing with baby wipes. As I crawled into my comfortable bed, I thought of those sleeping on cots, and floors. As I snuggled with my
precious little one, whose compassion for others started the ball rolling for us to minister to those precious people, I thought of those who are mourning the loss of their loved ones.
I am by no means finished with my promise to her. We have helped, but it was just a very small help. I will do everything possible to continue to help. I want to do everything I can to help share God's love with them. We will also encourage others to do the same...Jude 22! You may not have people whose lives have been wrecked by a tornado living near you, but we all know people whose lives have been devastated by sin. Let's have as much compassion on them,
as we do for those affected by the tornadoes. Let's reach out to anyone and everyone we can with God's love. Let's make a difference today! We HAVE to help them!!