Central IL Tornado Recovery

BREAKING 12/5/13 Volunteers Needed Friday and Saturday!
There is a big need for chainsaws, skid steers with grapples, and dump trucks/trailers this Friday and Saturday. We are hoping to send small equipment out with as many teams as possible. This will help our teams with sorting debris. Sorting the debris could help save our city EPA fines. For more information or to volunteer, go here or call Bethany Community Church at (309) 508-1755.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013, was the first time since Sunday's horrific destruction from tornados in Central IL that a call for volunteers went out. So Stacy and I volunteered.

As you read and view the pictures below, would you please say a prayer for the people of Central IL who have been affected by the tornados?

Click any image below to enlarge for viewing.
We gathered at the Dream Center Peoria and worked with an organization called Operation Blessing. After breaking into teams, we headed into Washington, IL, to help friends who reside there—and their neighbors.

We simply walked up to what used to be homes and asked the people there, "Can we help you?" And then we simply did whatever needed to be done. It was mostly hauling stuff that had been salvaged to trucks.

Just as important, we took the time to pray with the people that welcomed our help. Everyone welcomed our prayers.

One of the most needed things at this time is containers. Everyone was sifting through the rubble looking for that which is salvageable—and especially for that which has irreplaceable sentimental value.

The friendship we've shared with the Dan and Carol Learned family over the years has been and continues to be extremely precious to us. Dan and Carol's home, while still standing, has been irreparably damaged. One of the reasons we wanted to get into Washington today was to simply hug and pray with our friends, the Learneds.

This is what's left of the master bedroom in Dan's house.

This picture is one of those freaky things that tornados can do. It's the Learned home again. Look at it closely. (Click photo to enlarge for viewing.) Do you see it? The question is: How did the window shade go through the roof and out the other side of the window? Answer: The tornado lifted the roof, pulled the shade outside while still connected on the inside. Yikes.

A short walk through the Learned's backyard, and houses are no longer standing.

We jumped in to help wherever we could. 

It's heartbreaking. I saw my wife wipe tears from her eyes several times as we walked through the piles of rubble praying and helping people salvage their few remaining material possessions.

Our little "cadre" of volunteers included dear friends, Scott and Carla Bauer, and a new friend, Mike Womer, who is planting a church in Peoria (pictured above).

Down, but not out. I love this picture and the message it sends.

If you haven't prayed yet, would you please do so RIGHT NOW?

More information on volunteering, donating, etc.

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