The numbers coming out of Joplin, MO, are overwhelming.
According to news reports as of this morning, 123 people were killed by the tornado that ripped through Southwest Missouri this past Sunday, making it one of the deadliest tornados in the state’s history. Property damage is estimated in the millions, and the loss of life and livelihood will inevitably have a catastrophic impact on this close-knit community. We have been in touch with South Joplin Christian Church and Joplin’s First Christian Church. Many, many families from those congregations have lost their homes. Others have sustained extensive damage. Each and every member has a neighbor or friend or relative who is suffering unbelievable loss. The situation can only be described as devastating—with so many of our own Disciples families gravely affected.
With the needs mounting, we need your help and hope.
Already this year, close to 500 people have been killed by tornados—far higher than the average. Communities have been affected in Mississippi, Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Texas and Oklahoma. Every time we reach out on behalf of those suffering in the wake of unbelievable damage, you have responded out of generosity, solidarity, and compassion.
Amidst all of this seemingly unending destruction, we invite your continued support. At this stage, the immediate needs of our church members are the most critical for us to meet, and there will be much more for us to support in the recovery process: local long-term recovery committees; interfaith and ecumenical responses; Church World Service, as they respond to spring storms across the Midwest and South; and collaboration with Disciples Volunteering to discern how to best provide Disciples congregations with opportunities to serve in tornado-ravaged communities.
Your generosity is the beating heart of Week of Compassion’s response. We are incredibly grateful for the sustained impact your Courageous Compassion provides. Thank you for all that you have contributed and provided to communities you may have never even visited. Week of Compassion is what it is because of you. We respond immediately and effectively because YOU respond.
We have no idea what this disaster-filled spring will continue to bring. Contributions to the Compassion Response Fund will enable us to prepare for the worst, so we can continue to reach out to “each as any had need” (Acts 4:35).
We thank God for each of you, and we pray for all those individuals, families, congregations, and communities struck by tornados and severe weather this spring.