June 16, 2013

For the most part every one of us has a daily routine that we live our lives by.  Even if you travel a lot, generally speaking, you have a schedule and you see the same things, same people, and same events.

I’m not a fan of routine.  I thrive on change and I hope to be able to live a life where I am able to travel often, a couple of trips a year would be ideal.  Thursday, June 13th, 2013, I had an opportunity to have my schedule interrupted and I want to tell you about it.

I was given the opportunity to go help with one of the disaster relief teams in Moore, Oklahoma.

So, when I say my schedule was interrupted, you can be sure I mean more than just my daily to-do list.  I’m going to show some of the pictures I took, but, let me tell you that no amount of pictures could ever do it justice.

We were still on the interstate coming north from Dallas, Texas when I was caught off guard by this:

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Again, pictures don’t do it justice, but to suddenly see that right in front of you as an inescapable reality, it was intense.  The following images are some of the things I saw as we rode around and passed out cold beverages to teams of workers and “homeowners.”

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That used to be a neighborhood.

All that’s left are concrete slabs where their homes once stood.

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Somehow the mobile homes were still standing.

Yeah, we’re not sure either.

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This one happened to be on Brent Cir.  Five minutes later we were driving down Brent Dr.  I think someone likes my name in Oklahoma!

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You’ll have to forgive me for finding some humor in this.

In case you can’t make it out it reads, “I’m Oklahoma Proud!”

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Some of the homeowners also had a sense of humor.

Better laugh to keep from crying I suppose.

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Quite spacious indeed!

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This is the hospital that was completely destroyed.

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This is the IMAX theater that is right next door to the hospital and escaped without a scratch on it.  I feel like the tornado knew it was in America :-/

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Though we enjoyed the homeowner’s humor this scene brought immediate silence.  This is the elementary school where several children died.

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Many left t-shirts, stuffed animals, cards and other gifts as a memorial to those who didn’t survive in the elementary school.

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 I decided I would leave my favorite bandanna.

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We could only tell this was once a car by the remaining tire in the picture below.

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 Seven crosses for seven lives.

I can’t begin to imagine what the families of these are feeling.  If you’re still reading please take a few seconds to pray for the people of Moore, Oklahoma.  I was able to get in my car and drive back home.  They cannot.  This is their reality now.

Before I finish this post I did want to tell you about one of the most beautiful things I saw while I was there.  I didn’t have time to snap a photo, but on one of the partially damaged homes there were two teams working with two different shirts on.  One of the shirts was blue and said that they were volunteers from a Jewish ministry.  The other shirts were neon yellow and said that they were Muslim.  Though I agree with the beliefs of neither faith, I wanted to jump off the back of our truck and hug them!

Muslims and Jews were working together to help where help was needed!

Take notes Christians.  While we’re busy looking down our nose at anyone who isn’t exactly like us, these were simply loving people and loving each other.

Everything I experienced that day abruptly demonstrates that the only things that are real are those which matter in eternity.  All else will fade away.

What are you living for? 

Because of Him,

Brent Hemphill

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