PDA Trip 2012 to Joplin Missouri  

February 18th to February 25th a team of 13 will be serving with PDA in Joplin MO. to help rebuild homes destroyed by the devasting tornado that hit in May of 2011. The teams is Sarah, Josh, Liz, Cathy, Ron, Marshall, Jess, Peggy, Duncan, Joanna, Jason, Stephanie and Glen.

Be praying for them as the step out in boldness to demonstrate the love of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.

May God be preparing the hearts of those they will meet and minister to this week.

Pray also for safe travels, and divine appointments.

Scroll down below to see updates on the team during the week.

Here is a picture of the team being commissioned during last Sunday's service.IMG00994-20120212-1044

Saturday-  February 18th 2012

It is a beautiful day to fly.  I do this often and it is always a time for me to see from a different perspective the awesomeness of our God.  His creation, while glorious by all accounts, is never more so than when one can see it from the air.  Perhaps it is the sense that we are somehow closer to Him from up here.  Of course, that is not so, but I prefer to just go with that.  It is my special time and I savor the moments.
 
As for the roadwarriors, they are on the road and all pumped up!  We pray that they are still so after 26 hours in the van.  Of course, from their perspective they will see the Creator's work from a much different perspective.  Not only will they see the beauty in greater detail, but they will see what man has done to it.  Some good, some not so good.  However, together they too will have their special time togther and savor the moments.
 
Finally, we ask for your continued prayers; particularly for those who had to cancel their participation for various reasons.  We know that the decisions were difficult but well prayed about and deliberated.
 
In His service,

Ron

 

 Sunday- February 19, 2012

The rest of the team has arrived safely.  After a hearty meal and some time together we are settling in for the night knowing what the plan is for tomorrow.  Our complete team is to finish a home that is long overdue for completion, according to the project manager.  We will do some finish carpentry, interior and exterior painting and some siding.  Once done we will move on to another site, time permitting.

The force of an EF5 tornado is incomprehensible and the devastation incomparable.  While we see the almost mile-wide and 13 mile long scar that has completely bisected Joplin(pop 45,000+) and neighboring hamlets, it is extremely difficult to comprehend how one can actually endure the event and aftermath.  One can stand in the middle of this scar and see the tree lined residential neighborhoods on both sides and then look down the length of this scar at a barren landscape, scoured clean by nature's fury.  However, the rebirth of the area is well underway, and it started with the business district which shows little of the devastation a mere 9 months after the fact.  The resilience of this town is quite remarkable.

PDA 2012 photo 1

 Monday- February 20, 2012

As we continue to pray and devote as to the breadth, depth and significance of good discipleship, we are being given the gift of opportunity to live in this experience.  Nothing really goes according to man's plan and today was no different.  We had the ripples and twists that come with inadequate access to some tools, supplies and guidance, but we adapted readily and accomplished a lot.  We have completed most of the assigned tasks and have identified others needing to be done. Another small team of men doing final electrical work are here as well.  It has been fun sharing in this fellowship with them.  These men do several missions a year, including long weekends with wives and family.

 
The neighborhood is one with several new and repaired homes, mixed in with still empty lots and homes under construction in a suburban setting.  There is a buzz of volunteer activity and energy.  In speaking with one neighbor and learning of his experience, one can tell that the harrowing experience is still a raw recollection, even though his home is repaired.
 
We have been blessed to have met with the owner of the home we are working on.  She is a woman of 83 years who lives alone.  Her son accompanied her on her visit.  Only some walls were left of her two story home after the tornado.  Her new home on the same site is a one story ranch and nicely laid out for functionality and purpose.  One can tell in dealing with her that she is easily overwhelmed and a soft approach and understanding tone goes a long way to providing her comfort.  The Lord helped us with this meeting in giving some comfort to them as to the direction of the project and the desired outcome.  We pray that while we are here we can continue to bring the project to fruition by having it ready for the final flooring work.
 
... what we want to know is not, what would this or that man, or this or that Church, have of us, but what Jesus Christ himself wants of us.-Dietrich Bonheoffer

PDA 2012 photo 2            PDA 2012 photo 3     

PDA 2012 photo 4           PDA 2012 photo 5

 Tuesday- February 21, 2012

We arise in the morning and prepare for the day, pray and have breakfast together, make lunch and hit the road.  We have become a well oiled machine.  Tomorrow we will be split the team and start working on a second home as some of the team finishes up with additional items we have been tasked with or have identified as needing to be done on the first one.  We were joined again today by the volunteer electricians as well as by others doing plumbing in the crawl space and digging for the water supply to the house.  The world shrinks each time we meet volunteers with connections to our current communities or native hometowns.  One of the electricians is a retired pastor.

 
We took a jaunt tonight to see some sights. We had supper in Kansas and dessert in Oklahoma.  The goal to include coffee in AR was not realized as the trip was another hour's drive.  This sounds like more of an accomplishment than it is.  Joplin is only several miles from the Tri-state monument which marks the point at which the MO, KS and OK meet.  We ate at the "Cafe' on the Route" in Baxter Springs, KS which has all things Route 66.  The nostalgic twist was nice.  Also refreshing was the fact that that the area businesses are closed on Wednesday evenings because "it is a church night." The evening was not only fun but was a great time of fellowship and we set aside time for the evening devotion as well in Oklahoma. 
 
While we eagerlyy look forward to the coming days' service, we are also preparing for our Ash Wednesday service.  It is very meaningful to be actually serving as we enter the Lenten season.
 
We thank you all for your continued prayers and e-mails to let us know that we are not only serving here, but back home or wherever folks are following the mission from.  God bless you all.
 

 Some Pictures:

502pearl-duncan = this is where we're staying, and duncan is in the kitchen preparing yummy food for us, as usual!

acrossthestreet = looking across the street from the yard of the house we are working on - gives a perspective of the neighborhood

devestation = driving to our site
highschool1 & 2 = the high school
the tree = I love trees and am in love with this one across the street from the house we're working on. it is clearly damaged and naked, but is covered with little, tiny branches reaching out and growing, almost like baby hair! This tree is really full of life and will!!
liz_glen1 = working on the back of our house - painting and rebuilding
dinner in KS = we drove 14 miles to have dinner in Kansas, on old route 66
 
502pearl-duncan acrossthestreet dessert in OK devestation dinner in KS highschool1 highschool2 liz_glen1 the tree

 

 Wednesday- February 22, 2012

Today we were a bit sluggish getting out the door but that did not diminish our energy at the sites.  We prayed for renewed energy to draw us from our mid-week slump and He saw fit to grant it.  We no longer have work for all eleven of us at the first site so we split our resources as members go back and forth between two adjacent sites.  The work now includes helping to dig a dry well and water supply lines; this is no easy feat as the earth is laden with limestone and it is backbreaking to get a few inches down.  But we labor on and have high spirits.

 
Our host congregation, First Presby-Joplin invited us to share in their weekly fellowship dinner.  We each sat at different tables and shared food and stories.  This was a nice way to conclude a day and we appreciated the opportunity to interact and share.  This congregation does their main service in the noon hour for Ash Wednesday.  The Pastor provided us with ashes for our own Ash Wednesday service, even though we were welcome to an ad-hoc service this evening.  
 
Some may not know that a focus of mission trips is to be in the Word and to encourage mission members to step out of their comfort zone and to develop as brothers and sisters in Christian fellowship.  To that end we enjoyed having team members participate in our service.  Our service followed the general outline of that which was conducted at First Presby Quincy.  It was nice to know that we were sharing with First Presby as we worshiped. Having the participation of Sarah Ahola and Cathy Callahan (on guitar), Marshall Greenwood and Jess Magdalena (readers) and Peg Neidhardt (ashes) in the service was particularly nice.
 
We hope you are enjoying these posts and pictures.  
 
All teams are special to me and this one is no different.  I find my attachment to each of the wonderful people grows as we work and pray together side by side.  God truly is great.
 
In His light,

Ron

6-ft hole digging ash wed singing group                  liz_glenn on roof workingtogether
 

 

Thursday- February 23, 2012

What an extraordinary day it has been.  At Glen's suggestion, we had breakfast early at a local eatery so we could be at the job site earlier. We chose a place close by. Coincidentally, the Chamber of Commerce was having a meeting in the restaurant and were immediately approached by a member who expressed appreciation for our presence in Joplin, etc.  As we were leaving a chance discussion, followed by introductions to more members of the Chamber, led to our asking if they had a lead on a backhoe operator to relieve our team and another one of the burden of digging the trench for the water service.  A phone call later and one was arranged.  As the trench was being dug, we pointed out the poor guys laboring to dig a dry well on the next street.  By 2pm both were completed and the amount of rock piled next to the holes was staggering.  There was no way this work would be done with hand tools. Then the Chamber contact stopped by and we introduced the Catholic Charities coordinator to her and following another query and an on the spot phone call, arrangements had been made to have the debris from a demolished home removed from another site.   All because of a random decision to go out for breakfast.  The Lord DOES work in mysterious ways!

 
We have completed all of the original work assigned and have moved into some more detail work at the first home.  Once the water and gas are turned on and the flooring done, the home is ready for occupancy.  Some of our team did more work on an adjacent property and some worked at the distribution/donation center.  We said goodbye to our electrician friends today as they have completed their work.  It was fun to have them around and share the week with.
 
The obvious satisfaction and affection of the owner and her son for this and other teams that have come through is heartwarming.  As we spent quite some time with them this evening, the stories of the day of the tornado and the aftermath are graphic and moving.  We have had similar moments with others and it brings a whole new dimension to the evening news; one you cannot get by watching the evening news.  
 
Lastly, we had a wonderful time this evening sharing our meal with Ruth from nearby Kansas.  Ruth is acquainted with Faith Willard's ministries and was scheduled to travel to Bangladesh with Carolyn Thompson recently but could not due to illness. Our time with her was a blessing for all as we shared together what the Lord is doing in our lives.
 
The Road warriors are packed and ready to roll at 7am Friday.  We pray they are blessed with travel mercies and we look forward to being with them on Sunday.
 
Your continued prayers for this mission and the people of Joplin are greatly appreciated.
 
In His service,

Ron

 Friday- February 24, 2012

Today we said our goodbyes to our brothers and sisters from First Presby as they left for the drive home.  We returned to the work site and did clean-up inside and out and the home will be move-in ready once the floors are installed and utilities are turned on.  Once again we had several opportunities to learn more about the tragedy that befell Joplin and the miracles that followed.  More conversations reveal the spirit of the people and certainly the Holy Spirit at work here.  And the residents are not at all hesitant to talk about "angels" that appeared from nowhere to help and when the victims looked up to thank them the angels were gone.  Angels that were clad in only shorts and no shoes on a cold and damp evening.  What is interesting is there are apparently numerous such reports from townfolk of all walks of life.  The Joplin Globe is publishing a book about this.

 
The Lord is most certainly at work in the Joplin area.  As always with these mission trips, we have learned much about another part of the country and how their faith helps them and drives the restoration of a town and of hearts and minds.  Christian fellowship is experienced at every turn.  This for us can be quite revealing as we often are not open to others about our faith as we go through our daily lives.
 
As we bid the local people good bye with a "God bless you..." they usually reply with a ready "God bless you..." back.
 
There are some that believe that too few Christians actually serve the Lord through service to others.  I am not so sure.  For if they live as the bible instructs they will not advertise their service.
 

Mathew 6
1 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 
   2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.-NIV

 
We hope that you have enjoyed following our updates on this site.  Many of you support our efforts in so many ways and this medium is a way to remain connected with you as we serve.
 
In Christ we serve,

The Team

backhoe1 backhoe2 catholiccharitiessignBIG jeff-jo our family jesscarpenter1 jessthecarpenter liz birthday pictureinpicture pool game roninkitchen

Go

 Here are some interesting links for more information related to the trip:

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

Map of Joplin MO

Video from First Presbyterian Church Joplin

Rebuild Joplin Website