it could always be worse…

{So, it took me almost 2 weeks to write this post. Life is a little nuts at the moment. Anyway, here’s what we did with Hopeforce in Indiana.}

After we got back from Harvest, Alabama, we had one day to put our stuff in storage before we left again to help out in Marysville, Indiana. So, off we headed to get our free month of storage that was promised to us when we rented the trailer. Seriously, the place was, like, an hour away. I think they did that on purpose just because it’s free. Thank you Uhaul for your “convenient” location and for “accommodating” people like us who don’t have a place to live.  Anyway, when we opened the back of the trailer, we found a small disaster. A huge crack in the glass of one of our wedding pictures {I hope that’s not an omen}, broken Christmas ornaments, a box of broken cups… and who knows what else. It’s seriously such a terrible feeling to have your stuff, especially sentimental things, broken. My DAD got me those ornaments… stupid Uhaul!

But after I had my pity party, I realized, it could’ve been a lot worse. It could’ve looked like this:

Even though some of our stuff was broken, I’m actually thankful it happened, because it helped me identify with the tornado victims– if only in a miniscule-tiny-teeny-weeny way.  If loosing some christmas ornaments and cups was so hard, I can’t IMAGINE what it must be like to loose EVERYTHING. And yet, our new friend, Tony, said “I’m just glad my family is safe. It could’ve been a lot worse. Anything else I find is just an added bonus.”

That’s Tony on the left. We noticed him because he was walking with a cane and was asking one of the bulldozers to wait a few more minutes before they swept his stuff away. We ended up helping him look for his belongings. We found a one of his daughter’s baby pictures and her wallet/ID. You would’ve thought we gave him a million bucks when we handed him that picture. We saw Tony a few times throughout the week and he showed that picture to everyone he talked to. Ironically enough, the memory card in my own camera decided to stop working that day and so I lost a ton of amazing pictures, including one of Tony and the baby picture. It was devastating to loose those pictures and I almost cried. It seemed like God kept giving us a small taste of what it would be like to loose everything. And again and again we heard the people whose homes were destroyed say, “It could’ve been a lot worse.”

Tornados, or any disaster for that matter, are really devastating. But people are resilient, strong and courageous. It was amazing to hear their stories. And to be there for them during this time. Most of the week, we ran the food tent for the Salvation Army. Not the most glamorous job, but you’d be surprised how far a good hot meal can go. I also made tuna noodle casserole for the first time… for over 200 people and more banana pudding than you can imagine. Everyone went nuts over the banana pudding.

This is “Pork Chop”. I honestly don’t know his real name because everyone called him Pork Chop. Pork Chop is a pretty incredible guy. He postponed his surgery and drove from Memphis to cook bbq for the food tent. It was AMAZING. Comfort food at its finest.

This is Helen.

This is Helen’s home.

Helen’s husband is about to finish is 100th day in a rehab facility. He also recently stopped eating. She said she doesn’t think it will be much longer… and she doesn’t know what to do. We prayed with her and just listened to her talk. It’s a helpless feeling when someone has so much need and you can’t do anything tangible to help. However, at the Hopeforce training we went to a few years ago, we  learned about the ministry of presence. Just being there with someone, offering a hug or listening to their story is so important. Helen’s daughters were there to help and they are determined to rebuild. Like I said, these people are so resilient and courageous.

We know that we are in the right place for such a time as this. We love working with Hopeforce and can’t wait to see what God has in store!

* If you would like to join Hopeforce and become a “reservist”, then check out the trainings that are coming up by clicking here. Seriously… this training will change your life. It’s amazing. And if you come to the one in Nashville, you can stay with us… if we find a place by then 🙂

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5 thoughts on “it could always be worse…

  1. Oh, Jessica…you’ve once again captured the “heart of the story….” You have an amazing ability to pull the reader into your experience, and my heart went right there with you…. These precious people are such a joy and privilege to serve! Thank you for the selflessness that we see in you and Davey….

  2. Great to read this and catch up with you! You’ve been giving fast and I love what you are up to!!! Moved my heart and soul deeply. Thank you for giving yourselves as you are…”for such a time as this!” indeed.

  3. Great article Jess & Davey! I LOVE the “for sale” sign on the “fixer upper”…it is humor that often facilitates the healing process….as this home owner indicated. LOVE the survivor attitude. Blessings to you two…it is GREAT to have you on board.

    Hugs, A & G

  4. Jess – your text and pictures capture so vividly what you and Davey are experiencing. It is exciting to see how God is using the two of you, and is an inspiration to the rest of us to make ourselves available to God, as you are doing.

  5. Pingback: home sweet Nashville | Anderson Adventures

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