The South Joplin Christian Church Mission Team was on the road again just recently. The Team traveled to Van Buren, MO May 5 -10 to help with the continuing recovery work the area experienced from the floods in December 2017. In the past teams from SJCC have traveled to Moore, OK, Clarksdale, MS and Rowlett, TX with work assignments through Disciples Volunteering and Church Extension. In Van Buren the Team volunteered through Catholic Charities.
During the planning process those interested in participating made the decision to stay close after learning of the ongoing recovery work in Van Buren. Since the Joplin tornado and the outpouring of love and generosity from others near and far, the congregation has remained committed in its efforts and desire to bless the lives of others by sharing that same love and generosity. Recovery is a slow process and often times the masses of volunteers decrease to a trickle after 18 months or so. But there are those families who are still trying to recover and rebuild long afterwards who sometimes feel forgotten, some still attempting to find enough resources to build or rebuild. Understanding the reality of such played a role in the final decision to travel to Van Buren. While there we learned from the Director of Catholic Charities that funds to help flood victims in the area were close to depletion, leaving little hope for helping any additional families. Ironically, as we arrived in the Van Buren community that Sunday afternoon the Current River and Big Springs were overflowing their banks and moving rapidly.
Prior to the Team’s arrival the SJCC construction lead was told the work assignments included siding and roofing on two new home builds. And what the South Joplin Mission Team found in the Van Buen community were two families who continued to maintain hope that they would one day have a place to call home again. The Team had the pleasure the early part of the week of installing siding on a small one bedroom home, completing the window and exterior trim and painting the skirting for the home to be installed later. Pam, the home owner, was overjoyed with tears and gratitude the days she visited and saw the exterior of her new home (interior still under construction). “It is so beautiful and it is mine.” Pam’s previous residence, a large trailer, had been damaged by high water and was no longer habitable. Her dog Dozer who stayed on the property 24/7 guarding it faithfully was overjoyed himself each morning when we arrived.
Mid-week the Team moved to the second property, the home of Lisa and Shawn to complete the roofing job and install all of the windows. Again, the Team found a family who was full of gratitude and so excited to see another phase of their home being completed. This family’s home was totally washed away during the flood. With the assistance of Catholic Charities they were able to find another parcel of land on higher ground.
Although only a small team of six “we were pleased to have been able to serve these two families in Van Buren and being a witness of God’s love in the community. It was hard work but thanks be to God we completed our tasks.”
The South Joplin congregation strives daily to live into its five faith practices of Genuine Hospitality, Passionate Worship, Intentional Faith Development, Risk-Taking Mission and Service and Spirit-led Generosity. Our motto for mission: “Mission in Action – Being the hands and feet of Jesus.”
Submitted by Rev. Kathryn Wilson, Minister of Mission and Outreach