Blake Shelton hosted a wonderful concert in Oklahoma City, geared towards raising support for the victims of the May 20 tornado that ripped through so much of our heartland.
Almost my entire extended family lives in Oklahoma, and half of them live in Moore. It was devastating to hear from a cousin via text that afternoon, as I'm lying in bed, home sick from work that day, that a tornado was ripping through just south of Oklahoma City and headed straight for Moore. I cried out to the Lord to protect my family! He chose to do that. I don't know why. He chose to protect them from this tragedy, and I am oh, so grateful. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.
I was encouraged to see the entertainers host and participate in a wonderful concert to promote support for Oklahoma. I know America came through, because I saw that this past weekend when I was there.
One thing I've learned in the past few days is that organizations are there to help. But they're also helping a lot of people. And there is a lot of paperwork. And they have a lot of employees to pay and a lot of expenses to cover.
I'd rather my money and supplies and support go straight to the source. I'd rather be able to give someone a hug. Wrap my arm around them and pray for them right there, after knowing their specific story. I'd rather organize canned goods and unpack boxes and sort toothpaste and shampoo. I know I can't always go. That isn't going to be possible every time there is a disaster. But to help in a tangible way is always going to be my preference.
I've been to Moore so many times over the course of my life, it's like a second-home. Talking about the Warren theater and crossing I-35 and even that new 7-11....I know those places. I've been to those places. I've driven past them. My cousins attended Plaza Towers Elementary school when they were kids. There are so many connections. So many ways that my family knows people that are hurting.
One of the little boys killed was in Greg's 3rd grade Sunday School class. One of the families that lost everything without insurance has a little girl on Madeline's softball team. Rhonda had 14 first grade students in a tiny bathroom stall singing songs and playing rock, paper, scissors to keep distracted. She had the forethought to turn off the lights and "practice" seeing your hand in front of your face to help the kids focus on something else and not be scared when they lost electricity. They turned it off themselves. Greg pulled his son out of day care across the street from the elementary school he coaches at and went to Madeline's classroom, where they were all singing camp songs. They heard the air conditioning unit pull off of their roof and clatter across the building. They heard the slam...POP...of the doors and the air pressure changed and all the doors sucked in. He used his body to protect his son and his daughter and thought he was going to throw up as he waited for the roof to lift off the building. A first grade teacher from Briarwood shared her story at the memorial service the governor organized. She passed out musical instruments and had her children play and sing as loud as they could. She told them she knew it was going to be noisy outside and she still wanted to hear their music. They played Jesus Loves Me at the top of their lungs. At one point, when the tornado hit, she told them they'd been screaming their music and now they'd be warmed up to scream for their heroes to hear them and find them. One little boy said, "KD is coming for us!?" (Kevin Durant is a hero to many little ones in Oklahoma. ;))
There are stories like this all over the city of Moore. I am blessed to have heard them. I am blessed to be from a legacy of Oklahomans.