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International

“You Are a Blessing to Us!”

  • Nation | USA
  • Date | March 10, 2012
On February 29, a devastating wave of tornadoes swept across the U.S. Midwest, killing at least 12 people. In just two days, March 2, there were 83 tornadoes which slammed the area from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes; in all, eight states including the states of Kentucky, Indiana, Alabama and Georgia were affected by the tornadoes. The strong gusty winds reaching up to 125km/h and thunder continued for hours, and the large hailstones with diameter of over six centimeter fell down in many places. By March 3 (local time), the estimated death toll from the tornadoes in USA reached 50. The small Indiana towns of Marysville and Henryville, with a population of about 2,000 each, were nearly entirely flattened. Each state government declared a state of emergency.

ⓒ 2012 WATV
A tornado is a powerful column of winds, which occurs frequently in the south central part of the United States mostly during the spring and summer months. In this area, a tornado is a common natural disaster, but this year the first major tornadoes came two months earlier than usual. What was worse, the deadly tornadoes came in succession and caused intense damage and devastation.

At 4 a.m., March 4, the members of the Denver Church in Colorado hurriedly got on the bus. Watching the news about the worst tornado damage reported on TV the previous day, they immediately prepared themselves to leave for Indiana. It would take about three days for the state government to offer damage control. So, the members could not hesitate even for a second—there was not a moment to lose, thinking about the victims who were left stunned.

It usually takes at least twenty hours from Denver to Indiana. The members drove down the endless roads with no particular plan, carrying relief goods like canned food and bottled water in the bus. On the way, the members of the branch Churches in Omaha and Kansas City also joined them.

ⓒ 2012 WATV
After spending two mornings in the car, they finally arrived in Henryville, Indiana. The tornado-stricken area was so terribly devastated that they could not believe it although they saw it with their own eyes. Trees and utility poles were all knocked down, and houses and store buildings were broken into pieces. Cars were crushed like cans by falling debris, and a school bus was stuck in a building. All these scenes showed how powerful the tornadoes were. The tornado victims were in desperate need of help, but no one had stretched out a helping hand to them yet.

The members formed teams (four per team) and went door to door to deliver relief goods to the residents directly. The citizens of Henryville said that they couldn’t do anything in front of such natural disasters—they were totally helpless. As the tornado damage was even more severe than ever before, they were trembling with fear and sorrow. Even the houses that stood still also showed clear evidence of the tornado outbreak; there were pieces of broken glass and many other broken things scattered all over. The members cleaned the houses and consoled the hearts of the victims.

The members, who had rushed there after a full day of driving, returned to Denver the next day. They prepared themselves perfectly and returned to Henryville to help with the damage restoration work again from March 8 to 10. The victims who had no one to rely on welcomed the members who came back to help them with tears, and they hugged each other silently.

ⓒ 2012 WATV
The members cleaned the village, clearing up the mess. They also set up a booth to provide the residents with hot tea and some snacks such as hot dogs. An elderly man who had kept an eye on the members said, “Without volunteers like you from the Church of God, it would be impossible for old people like me to handle this difficult situation. You’ve run such a long way to help us with all this hard work so willingly. I can’t express in words just how good and beautiful the work you’ve done is. I really thank you. You are a blessing to us!”

The members of the Denver Church help their neighbors in need with the heart of the Good Samaritan. This past January, they also carried out the “Sock Drive” and donated 2,400 pairs of socks to the homeless. In April, too, they are going to hold the “Blanket Drive” for infants in hospitals.
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