As I mentioned in the Family Fun Times post for Compassion International, sometimes the best fun time for a family is working hard together on something that we all agree is important. As a result, we have a great time volunteering at events for Compassion… but we already covered that in the other post so I will try to not get sidetracked here. In today’s Family Fun Times post, we will look at one of those activities that we enjoyed doing together, but was not something we ever would have chosen to do on our own… Let me explain…
We have some dear friends who live nearby. They are missionaries who work with Wycliffe Bible Translators at the International Linguistics Center. They had made plans to be out of town after Christmas this past year in 2015. They have some animals and we had planned to feed their animals while they were away. However, on the day after Christmas, a tornado ripped through their neighborhood and caused much damage to their property, while destroying the homes of several of their neighbors.
I had been to their home several times before, but walking through their yard that next morning after the storm was very sobering to me. My heart broke for our friends and for their neighbors.
Our friends made necessary adjustments to their travel plans, returned and made a plan of attack on what needed to be done and how to go about doing it. Their home was damaged in the storm but not destroyed. They were very thankful for that. However, they had many trees around their property that were either broken off or uprooted by the storm. Almost everything outside was thrown about or destroyed. Additionally, there was also much cleanup work to be done inside and out. Together with several other families from a couple churches in the area, we spent a couple days helping with the cleanup.
There was work for everyone, picking up broken glass, cleaning the house inside and out from dust and debris, and working with chainsaws outside to clean up the downed trees strewn about the property. My job was mostly working on the trees with the chainsaw. I hadn’t picked up a chainsaw in a while, so my back and legs were talking to me!
So, physically, it was a tough couple of days. But, it was a blessing to see the difference in their home and property. What was really amazing to me was to see the hearts of our friends and to see their focus on what is really important. The damage to their home and property was disappointing to them, but it was very clear that these things are just things – and they demonstrated a proper focus much better than I would have… When something like that happens to me, I hope I am as calm and properly focused as our friends were.
Like I said, this was not an event any of us would have asked for. However, we all had a good time working together with our friends to make a difference. Several families provided food for the workers and several businesses in town sponsored the cleanup and also provided food for the workers. So we ate well during the project! Through the entire event, it was clear to me that God holds these things in His hands. Several homes on their road were destroyed, but nobody in their neighborhood was killed or seriously injured. In fact, our friends were not even home but were out of town when the storm came. We are thankful to the Lord for His goodness to our friends and to all of us. Since it is clear He holds the big things like this in His hands, we take comfort in knowing that He is also working in the day to day things for good as well.