We've all been glued to our tvs the last 24 hours, watching the coverage of the devastating tornado that destroyed the town of Moore, OK and surrounding areas.
When it first hit, I watched with careful attention-- maybe even closer than most because I was in Washington DC and Kevin was in Oklahoma City. Fear ran through my head about the worst case scenarios . . . But thank goodness, Kevin and his work colleagues at Feed The Children headquarters were ok on the opposite side of the city from where it touched down. Nothing but high winds came their way.
But some families weren't so lucky. My heart breaks for them. I wrote this prayer last night as a response.
(And on a lighter note one of my favorite things about the OKC community the Warren Theater in Moore is now gone too-- leveled in the path of destruction. Super sad for our Fridays date nights).
So in moments like these we all ask ourselves the question of what can I do?
It's so easy to get sucked into the despair because of the 24 hour news cycles-- thinking that images of destruction are all that there is. But, there's another way. Get involved. I have five suggestions.
1. Donate goods
Especially if you live in the Oklahoma City area, Feed The Children is asking for these products: diapers, canned goods, non-perishable food and snack items, water and sports drinks.
Donations are accepted at these locations around the city-
Feed The Children McCormick Distribution Center, 29 N. McCormick
First Baptist Church, 1201 N. Robinson
KOCO-TV, 1300 East Britton Road
Faith Church, I-40 and Portland
TLC Garden Center, 105 West Memorial Road in Edmond
Continental Resources, 20 N. Broadway Downtown OKC
Bob Moore Parking Lot, 412 W. Reno Downtown OKC
2. Donate money.
Feed The Children has made it easy for you to donate. You can either go to their webpage by clicking here to make any size of a donation OR you can text DISASTER to 80888 to make a $10 donation.
Sure, there are a lot of organizations asking for donations right now, but Feed The Children is the ONLY large non-profit that is based out of Oklahoma City-- FTC has warehouses, trucks and staff on the ground, ready to go! Literally in their own backyard, neighbors helping neighbors is what is happening NOW. Plus, the fabulous Kevin Hagan is leading the charge. You can trust him. I wouldn't have married him if you couldn't).
Sure, it almost sounds clique doesn't it? We throw around words like "prayer" as if we are talking about going to sleep or eat or wash our face at night. "Oh, we need to pray for those people" or we say, "Our prayers are with the people of Oklahoma right now." But do we stop to actually pray? Do we stop to actually consider what it feels like to be a person whose livelihood has been destroyed? Do we consider their grief, their confusion, or their anger? There's so much to say, then, isn't there? So, go ahead, do some talking to God on behalf of the people of Oklahoma right now.
4. Don't say stupid things in the name of God.
It's a good rule when people are in crisis, when natural disasters hit, when terrible things happen in our world, it is not best to pull out the words of judgment. It's good to extend a compassionate arm and sit in the ashes with them. Furthermore, God does not cause tornadoes. Let me repeat, God does not cause tornadoes. Religious leaders like John Piper and Pat Robertson have said stupid things today about the people of Oklahoma and I know they are not the only ones. As people of faith, let's stop the insanity.
5. Consider donating your time in the future.
Ask your church or community group about planning a disaster relief trip to the city months from now.
Join a disaster relief team at your church or in your city-- prepare now by going to training.
Consider what natural connections you have in your community to Oklahoma City (friends, business associates, corporations) Ask them how you can be of help long after the cameras are gone.
The people of Oklahoma thank you.