As we walked down a street that had obviously been hit hard by the tornado, Alyssa stuck out like a light in the dark. She was smiling and making jokes. When we asked her where she lived it was almost a surprise. She was so happy we didn't expect her to point to the house on the street that was completely demolished.
She reminds the people around her that while they don’t that things like pictures, they have memories that they can hold on to. Alyssa views the situation as a do over and a fresh start.
Across the street was a man named Jeff who was searching through the rubble of his house with his son. Jeff joked that he might have been the cause of the tornado since he felt that God had been putting it on his heart to start a Bible study about loss. He painted a verse on one of his last remaining walls. Job 1:21 “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” This is the verse chosen by a man who just lost everything…or did he?
As we talked to the rest of the people on the street, they all seemed to point to the same house and thank the same man for keeping them safe in the storm. He is a tall slightly older humble man who didn’t want to be on camera or even be recognized for what he did. He has a large storm cellar in his back yard that he opens up to his neighbors during storms. Twenty people hid safely in his cellar while the tornado reaped havoc above them. It took five men to push the door open when the storm was through.
This street didn’t have any fatalities in the storm and many feel like they have this man to thank for that.
We set out not to tell the story of just devastation, but more importantly the story of hope and God. I am happy to report that we found that on every destroyed street and at every leveled house. It was amazing and heart breaking all at the same time.