Monday, May 21

Greensburg, Kansas

Here is a note I sent out to our church body and others who support us. A town in our state was obliterated by a tornado and this is an account of a team we sent (me included) to the town:

This past weekend, 18 members of the RLC community drove down to devastated Greensburg, Kansas. Our purpose was to represent Christ to whomever we encountered as we helped complete whatever tasks they needed accomplished. As we drove into the town, it seemed as though a major windstorm has wiped out the supporting beams of several structures. It didn’t look as bad as expected. We stopped at a volunteer tent where various agencies were helping facilitate incoming volunteers. Sadly, it didn’t take us long to check-in as few people were coming into the city. After we broke up into teams and received our assignments…some were going to patch a roof and others went to sort debris. We got into our cars and drove to the sites.

As I said earlier, it didn’t look as bad as I’d pictured…until we drove deeper into the town. At what you would see as a definitive line, the tornado made its presence known. As we drove further into the town, it looked as though a bomb had exploded and completely erased any remnant of organized life. Greensburg, Kansas literally looked like Bosnia during its wars. We saw piles of debris, brick buildings completely toppled over. Cars, trucks and trailers were thrown around like they weighed 10 pounds. One phrase seemed to come out of everyone’s mouth in unison: This is shocking. Nobody could describe what we were seeing. Nothing seemed adequate to explain our emotions. It looked like everything has been run through a mulcher.

Our work was simple…go to a pile (formally known as a house) and begin to sort through the debris. Metal would go in one pile and everything else in another pile. Eventually, everything will be carted out in dump trucks to be burned. The memories of each household will be soon be physically erased with only the homeowner knowing how special these places really are. In talking with the residents, we learned that most had little desire to keep what the storm had destroyed.

Every one of our 18 member crew members worked with incredible tenacity and energy. I never heard a complaint. We had one injury involving a nail’s desire to enter someone’s foot. God really protected us in the midst of pretty dangerous situations. We debriefed later that evening and it was humbling to hear about the emotions others were feeling as we dug through personal belongings.

I tell you all of this for the purpose of asking you to pray. Real Life Church is a group of people who pray and believe in prayer. The people of Greensburg need us to ask God to intervene in their lives. I believe they’re searching for hope and understanding and I’m 100% confident they can find both in our Creator. Below, you will see a couple of pictures taken by our own Layne Stafford. The purpose of these pictures is not to shock you, but rather, encourage you to pray. Pray as though you needed the prayers.