Thursday, June 23, 2011

Show Us Your Singles -- Part 2

I love when Kelly's Korner does a Show Us Your Singles post!  It's so much fun!!  My wonderful friend Courtney posted about me in January but the Lord still has me in a place of singleness.  Soooo.....we're going for take 2 of Show Us Your Singles!  

Hello Kelly’s Korner readers! I’m Courtney and, with permission, taking over Lauren’s blog to introduce her to YOU and your single GUYS!

This is Lauren……….

Look at that smile! I cannot help but smile when I think of her smiling! She radiates joy and warmth!
Lauren and I have known each other since we were tots growing up in church together. One of my favorite memories of us is singing a duet together for a Christmas pageant when we were upper elementary age. I remember we put our heads together at the end of the song. She was in her element even back then…singing for Jesus! She loves music and experiences God through music. I love that she always has a song in her heart and will sing it out wherever she is!

Lauren is 29 and lives in Kansas City, Missouri. She truly is a beautiful, strong, capable and intelligent woman. All who know Lauren know she is passionate and determined. Whatever she sets her hand to do, she’ll do with forethought, focus, and follow through.

Lauren is a 2nd grade teacher, having felt led to leave her love of teaching elementary music to gain additional teaching experience as she finishes up her Education Specialist degree in Elementary Administration. Her co-workers praise her influence on students and describe her as an advocate who knows just the right questions to ask and will speak up when she thinks an injustice is being done or something is not purposeful. It’s easy to see that she loves her students. Her eyes are filled with pride (and tears!) as she champions their achievements!

She's always been one to take steps to have a life of meaning and purpose in Jesus. In the last year I've watched as she has responded to Him more fully and in great faith that His plans are to be her plans. God has led her to change teaching focus and daily meet with Him.

Lauren would love to meet a tall, active, intelligent man who is confident, compassionate, educated, and courageous. She wants a man who is willing to be open and transparent, love the Lord first, enjoys newness in life, and is ready to be loved.

She'll be his partner shouting in the stands at the game and the princess on his arm all dressed up ready for the opera. She'll always be up for an ice cream date and a great discussion over wine.

If your guy will appreciate Lauren’s well rounded feminine fabulousness,
leave a comment with a way for her to contact you!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Joplin Days 2 and 3

For the sake of saving myself some time, I'm going to stray from my TypeA-ness and just post the rest of my Joplin pics without really editing them.  Pictures now.  Debriefing later.

This used to be a Burger King.  If you look in the background, there's a Hobby Lobby that was completely untouched by the tornado.

 This is in the same parking lot as the Hobby Lobby.  On the left you can see a Shakes building.  On the right was a cell phone store.  The difference a few hundred feet can make...

This is Joplin High School

 If you look closely, you can still see books on the shelves.

 This is St. John's Hospital.  Many lives were lost here.

Samaritan's Purse chaplains praying for our site.

Our team leader Ellie.  She did a super job keeping us all busy!

I took a couple of videos to show the damage everywhere.  I really thought I was taping slowly, but I apologize.  I really needed to slow down!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Holy Ground

It's just like they say -- pictures and words cannot do it justice.  Joplin is heart.breaking.  But God is doing so many amazing things here.  He is using tragedy and turning it into some miraculous.

Monday morning was our first day of work.  The wakeup call came waaayyy too early, but we somehow managed to roll out of bed.  After our breakfast and orientation, we ended up on Elli's team.  (She's our Samaritan's Purse team leader).  This is us preparing for our day in the "destruction zone." The church's parking lot is filled with disaster relief trailers like the ones from Samaritan's Purse and Billy Graham.

Our first house belonged to an elderly man named Clifford.  Clifford lives right in front of some railroad tracks.  The night of the tornado, Clifford came home, took his hearing aids out and sat down to watch TV.    Apparently, one of Clifford's neighbors had to come and tell him his roof was gone.  He thought the noise was just the train going by.  I'm not real sure how he missed the "breeze" that removed his roof, but I'm glad he was okay!  We spent the morning clearing debris and moving salvagable items to a new shed.

Every house in Joplin has something written on it.  It's usually spray painted code from the search and rescue authorities.  Sometimes it's a note that looks like this...

After finishing Clifford's house, we prayed with him and presented him with a Bible.

Clifford's house was on the very edge of the tornado's path.  As we drove to our second site, we ended up driving right through the middle of the destruction.  It was absolutely  So much destruction.  When we pulled onto the street of our second site, I could barely believe what I saw.  These were houses?!  Standing in the middle of the street, utterly surrounded by this pain and's impossible not to cry.

We ended up getting kicked off this site by the US Army Corps of Engineers.  There was concern about asbestos in the house and the foundation was completely unstable.  I don't know how they will ever clean up that area.  It seemed like the devastation was absolutely endless.

But in the destruction there is still hope.

Our third site wasn't just one house.  We worked on 5 different houses on Alabama Street.  I could have raked for years and still be raking up glass and shingles.  In the midst of our work, a family was removing clothing from what used to be their house.  Now, the innards of the house are completely exposed to the outside world.  What used to be their private living room was now more of a stage piled high with clothes and other odds and ins.  Their roof was nowhere to be found.  The mom of this family asked us to help her carry clothes to their car.  Every step I took from their house to the car and back again made my heart absolutely break.  These people have nothing but the clothes on their backs (quite literally).  And I have somehow been given the task of carrying these treasures.  Overwhelming.  I spent the majority of the day just trying not to cry.

After the storm, people used their houses to leave messages for loved ones.  Messages like these are spray painted all over houses.

More of the destruction.  We worked on this street.

There was a team of volunteers from the company Vermeer.  They specialize in agricultural equipment.  They were a HUUUGE help in the clean up efforts!  My mom is dreaming of her very own skid loader!

Here's another house that went through the storm.

The landscape is hard to describe.  My mom likened it to something from Lord of the Rings....the really desolate and desperate parts.  The trees are so strange.  They're almost all completely leaf-less.  The few that have leaves are so misshapen they almost look humorous.  Just imagine every tree in your neighborhood and for as far as the eye can see looking like this.

Our final site of the day was another completely devastated house.

Once again we were charged with piling and clearing debris.  My mom and I along with some other Samaritan's Purse volunteers spent a few hours doing nothing but raking up shingles and glass and other debris and then shoveling it into wheelbarrows to be piled at the curb.  It's disgustingly dirty work.  But if you aren't working, you're focused on the magnitude of the devastation.  And so, if for no other reason than to keep from crying, I shoveled and raked.

By the end of the day we were absolutely filthy.  It was super windy all day and between the work and the wind we were covered  in dirt.  So much so that this is what my feet looked like.  I wore tennis shoes and socks and my feet were still filthy!

That was Day 1.  I'll blog about Day 2 and Day 3 tomorrow.  Things get more and more hopeful the longer I'm here.  God truly is at work.  Monday morning the Samaritans Purse volunteers led us in some hymns after breakfast.  We ended with "Holy Ground."  

Joplin, Missouri is holy ground.

We are standing on holy ground
And I know that there are angels all around
Let us praise Jesus now
For we are standing in His presence on holy ground