Mt. Vernon is just down the road from Joplin, where the powerful twister touched down recently.  The people in Mt. Vernon are involved in the cleanup and are offering their church as a base for missions teams helping with cleanup.  I was not prepared for the scope of the devastation.  I went on a short tour with the Joplin D.S. and took a few pictures of the damage.

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The people in this hud housing lost everything.  Many were unemployed.  Most had no insurance.

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This is the outside wall of the District office.  Notice the lumber the wind forced into the building.

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This is what was left of a church piano that landed in the parking lot of the District office.  Note the cross on the upper left.  It was left there by the wind.

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This scene was repeated over and over for miles.

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The storm cut a swath over 13 miles long through the heart of town.

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Stark reminder of nature’s power.

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Can you imagine what force would be involved in lifting this entire hospital, shifting it over 4 inches on the foundation and setting it back down?  The whole thing will have to be torn to the ground and rebuilt.

In the light of this tragedy, the Gospel was proclaimed.  The hope that Christ gives stands in contrast to the terrible losses.  He is faithful to remind us of the things that have ultimate value for us. When you experience loss on this level, your ears are more open to the Gospel. It is not about our stuff.  It is about the relationships of life with God, family, and friends.  There are storms we all face in our lives, but we don’t walk through those storms alone if we walk with Christ. Winston Churchill once said, “If you find yourself walking through hell, keep walking.”  I would add to that, “Keep walking with God by your side.”

There was a great spirit in worship and God was at work in the hearts of his people.  I was blessed to work with Rev. Jill Daniel.  Jill had such a great spirit.  The congregation loves her and she is doing a great job there.  Not only does she preach, she is a great musician and leads worship from her keyboard.  Her husband backs her up on guitar.  She received her call to ministry when she was in Atlanta, TX, and my brother, Jan, was her pastor.  Jan came down and spent a couple of days with us during the meeting.  It was a great time.

I had a blast working with the children in BibleQuest.  The boys and girls really worked hard and memorized lots of Scripture.  They loved the stories and were sitting on the front row every night.  It is so much fun to see the children get excited about coming to Church.  I love it when a mother says, “My son begged me to let him come to church in stead of going to his base ball game!”  What a blessing.
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Here are the boys and girls who won the Gold Medals.  Pray that their love for Christ and His Word will grow daily.

When I was in Mt. Vernon years ago, they were in a location where there was little hope of future growth.  They were land-locked and really needed to do something in order to continue effective ministry.  They stepped out in faith and a new building in a great location has given them new vision and heart for ministry.  They have a heart for missions and I predict great days ahead for this wonderful congregation.

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