Up Close

As most of you know, record breaking storms passed through the South 2 1/2 weeks ago.  It seems like much longer, but it’s been less than 3 weeks.  The Oberlins’ lives have returned to normal and at our house you’d hardly know there was a storm.  Barely any damage was done to the apartments where we live, none of it severe.  All of the Oberlins were home and safe through the storms, no injuries.  Our family is far from us, so no loss of relatives.  For us, the storms are essentially over.  However, for thousands in the South, they began a whole new journey, one that is far from over.  

On Saturday my hubby, the kids, and I took some time to drive through one of the areas hit hard by the storms.  We had never seen damage from a disaster up close.  It is extremely sobering.  We drove to an area approximately 30 minutes from our home.  I’m not sure of the air miles, but they’d be much less than that.  As one lady described it, when you first drive into Pleasant Grove and you see houses intact, looking quite fine actually.  Some have shingles off their roof, others had trees down, but nothing major.  Then you turn a corner.  And you see this.

 Sticks were houses and trees used to be.

This was on the edge of where the tornado went through.  Several houses are still partially standing.

We were there 2 1/2 weeks after the storms.  A LOT of cleanup has already been done.  Here is a site where they are working hard to clean up and rebuild (you may notice the work area on the right side.)  Can you imagine what this place looked like two weeks ago?  

 A box springs.  It breaks my heart.

 Can you see the baby toys?  If you’re like me, you’d prefer not to. 

I’m definitely not a construction expert, but I do believe roofs are supposed to go on top of the buildings.

Any tree that still had branches had stuff in them.  Stuff that was in someone’s home three weeks ago.

I wish you could experience what we did.  These pictures do not come close to doing it justice. It is sobering and you quickly realize how blessed you are.  Thank you again to those of you who prayed for us.  We were safe.  We are so very grateful.  The death toll in this small neighborhood was 10 people, ranging in ages from 26 to 81 years.  This community will be cleaning, rebuilding for years.  This location was small compared to other areas in Alabama ravaged by the storms.  So many lost so much.  And then we think of Japan, where the impact was so many times worse.  Oh, we have so much for which to be thankful!

While we were driving through S said he wished we hadn’t brought him there.  It was so hard to see.  I think we all would have preferred not to see it.  Sadly, not seeing it wouldn’t change reality.  I told Matt I think we need to put the pictures on our fridge, so when we start complaining about little stuff we can be reminded of how grateful we should be!

In the next couple weeks our family is going to have a few ‘beans and rice’ meals.  You probably can guess the menu, but we’ll be having beans (from dry) and rice for dinner.  We would love for you to join us.  Either with us or at your own house.  We want to eat very simply and then donate the money we would have spent on that meal to the recovery effort.  Would you please consider doing that as well? These communities need our help.  Not everyone can go and clean up the rubble.  But each of us can help.  If we all did something as simple as giving up a nice meal, we’d A.) still be eating better than much of the world (but that’s another post) and B.) making a huge difference for the lives of many affected by the storms.  If you do decide to join us, please let us know.  I’d love to do it ‘together.’  Also, would you please continue to pray for the storm victims?  They have a long road ahead of them.  


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. DaveG
    May 16, 2011 @ 14:57:56

    wow, that is sobering. Something small, yet sort of fun people can do to help:http://www.myshirthelps.com/–Dave–


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