Smithville Tornado: Saturday Recap

Today was a busy and interesting day.  The main priority was to prepare for Sunday’s church service, which will be held at 11 AM under a huge tent in the parking lot at Smithville Baptist Church.  This will be the most important service ever held at Smithville Baptist and there are expectations of a very large crowd.  My Dad talks a little bit about the service in this article in the Washington Post.  We cleared much debris from the parking lot and removed all salvageable things from inside the building, including an oven, warmer, freezer, ice machine, TVs, and food.  The church is not a building…the church was dispersed throughout the community today, building up each other and Smithville.  Also, several of my high school friends came and helped out with the Salvation Army and stayed for dinner with my family.  It was a bittersweet kind of day.

Inhabitants were given until Monday evening to remove everything from their homes.  The demolitions will begin then.

One thing I have been amazed to discover is the positivity and wonderful attitudes of the people in Smithville.  They all could be bitter and angry, but no one is.  Everyone I’ve spoken to is just glad to be alive, happy that only 17 have died, and praising God for His grace and mercy.  Also, today I saw an outpouring of love and support from over 1,000 volunteer workers who flooded into town.  Carmen and Ashley signed up volunteers and dispatched them to sites.  One man I met was decked out in Polo gear.  He was shoveling debris out of the church parking lot when he told me, “I just couldn’t bring myself to play golf today.  My family and I had to come help out here.”  That was a particularly stirring moment for me as I watched the people of North Mississippi band together in effort to rebuild this community.

Tomorrow, I will cover and recap the church service.  Please be praying for this town tomorrow, as we are expecting a mighty move of God during the service, which will be at 11 AM CST.

This is part of what's left of the church's Fellowship Hall
Mrs. Ruth Whitehead, an elderly widow we helped yesterday, constructed this cross in her front yard.
This is all that was left of Mrs. Ruth's garage.
This is the front of my Dad's office.
Mom digging through Dad's office. Check out the amount of mud on the walls.
This is the door my Dad and Todd kicked their way out of after the tornado.
This is Dad's car. He has a flat.
This used to be an 18-wheeler.
Another view of the Fellowship Hall

The last picture is of an entire stained glass window that amazingly made it through the storm perfectly okay.  It is beautiful and shows the Resurrection power of Christ, and proves that God is in control and He is gracious!  It will be displayed at church tomorrow morning.  Wow!

Because He lives I can face tomorrow.
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