Really super very cool.
Today the kids and I loaded up in the car again and set out on the road looking for people
And by "believers-in-action" I mean those amazing souls who VOLUNTARILY come to this crazy-hot city (our associate pastor called it "Mars" the other day) and sweat their tails off to help us fix Joplin.
Now some of these people are Joplin natives who are hired by large national companies to help with the clean-up.
Others are paid (such as FEMA employees or people with the Corps of Engineers) but they volunteer for extended-stay jobs (some for up to 6 months) because they feel led to help.
Still others come with groups: church groups, mission groups, international assistance groups, school groups, friends-ditching-summer-vacation-plans-and-coming-here-instead groups and more. They are here solely because they feel called to help us.
And there is another group of people who came here on there own...people who felt God calling them and followed Him and have been here for weeks and will stay for weeks until they feel led elsewhere.
It is...all in all....UNBELIEVABLE to see how many hearts and souls and hands and feet God has sent here to help us.
I hope and pray and hope some more that these people realize how very much we appreciate everything they are doing for Joplin....and for our individual spirits.
Anyway....after we loaded the cooler we stopped to pray before heading out.
I prayed that God would help us find our way to the divine appointments He had scheduled for us today, and that He would give us the right words at the right times.
As we drove toward the DZ (that's PT lingo for"Disaster Zone"---aka 1/3 of the town) I asked the kids what they hoped would happen today.
Bennett said he hoped we would be able to really show people how thankful we are.
Carolyn said she hoped she could give people cookies.
Ethan said he hoped we could help people who were helping other people...so that we were really helping LOTS of people by just helping some people (I think it's the 7 year old version of the "trickle-down" effect).
I said I hoped we would hear God's directions on where to go, and that we could meet up with Dave again....if it was His plan.
You see...since last week, I can't stop thinking about Dave.
I have shared his story over and over, and I know that many people are as touched by him as I am.
Now I have always been the kind of person who wants to just jump in and do something right away.
So I've been trying to pray for guidance instead of just leaping into MY own personal ideas.
That being said....I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY feel like there is something more I should be doing for this poor man and his family. (Click HERE to read the blog on Dave's story)
I have had lots of people ask me if we could get in contact with him.....if there was more we could do.
I have such guilt that I didn't do more last week.
SO.....I prayed and hoped that we would find him today.
Mind you....there are probably literally close to 400 people in orange and yellow vests doing work in this town right now.
So we headed back to our old neighborhood and Carolyn got to hand out cookies. (Hope achieved!)
Then we made our way east and met a group of Corp of Engineer guys who told us how much it meant to them to see the thankful hearts of Joplin residents. This man actually got choked up and told us what a privilege it was to be here in the 104 degree heat directing traffic! (Hope achieved for Bennett).
Then we found a group of guys from a church in Minnesota clearing a stranger's lot. We talked with them about our experience on May 22nd and told them how awesome it was that we could finally have our acts together enough to come out and thank the volunteers who had helped all of us so much. One gentleman responded, "Because of what people like you folks are doing (thanking them) we are able to keep our spirits up and continue helping other people." (Hope achieved for Ethan).
There he was.
On the next street corner...trying to hide in the shade made by the stop-sign he was holding.
Hope achieved Shannon.
I honestly probably scared the poor guy to death I was so excited to see him.
He broke into a huge smile and told me how the gift card I had given him last week (Thank you Molly, Sarah, Cate, Sirena, Ann and Ashley!) had been an answer to prayer because they were totally out of gas.
I told him that there were LOTS of people praying for him and gave him another gift card (Thanks again girls!!).
He teared up again, as did I.
Then I asked him if he'd found a place to live yet, and he said that he thought they might be able to move into a FEMA trailer on the 13th of August. He said he hadn't thought that they would qualify for one...and then smiled at me and said that maybe all of those prayers were working.
I asked him if his wife had started working for the company too, and he told me she had started that Saturday afternoon, but had a heat stroke that same evening and ended up in the hospital.
I asked him how his kids were doing over at the Children's Haven and he said they were doing ok.....but he couldn't get there to see them last night because he got off of work so late.
I told him that I had been thinking about him and his family a lot...and was hoping to find some way to help them.
Then (and what the HECK was I thinking I've never done anything like this in my life was I crazy??????) asked if he'd be comfortable sharing his phone number with me so I could check on them.
And he did.
He gave me his wife's cell phone number and told me she had it with her at all times.
So here is where I stand.
I feel led to help Dave and his family.
I am sure that God let me meet him again for a reason.
I now have a way to contact Dave.
But....I have NO idea what to do next.
Believe me.....I'm praying about it.
Praying and praying and praying.
I asked RH if he had any ideas....and he doesn't know what to do either.
So.....I'm putting out another request here.
It's a little more selfish than my last one.
Will you please pray for me to figure out WHAT TO DO????
Maybe it's not my deal.
Maybe I have his contact info because one of my friends or a friend of a friend or a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend is being called to do something for Dave.
If that's the case....I have a number and I'd be THRILLED to use it.
Please pray about it.
Think hard about it.
If you know someone who might know how or want to help.....please pass it on.
And meanwhile....I'm just going to sit here and smile for a bit.
God gave me my "hope."
And I know He is faithful to finish the works He started.