Imagine what it would be like to have a dream where you woke one morning and your life had vanished! That dream was a very real nightmare for thousands of citizens of Tuscaloosa, Alabama and other towns all across the southern U.S. Thursday before last. On Wednesday afternoon, what was most likely an E-5 category tornado ripped through the beautiful university town of Tuscaloosa leaving a path of destruction and death in its path.
Within two or three minutes collections of pictures, sports trophies, diplomas, art, and treasured home furnishings that took many years to gather were gone. Gone too is the family home, the cars, clothing, neighbors and neighborhood. Most people who escaped death were left only with the clothing they were wearing after the storm with no name had completed its destruction.
Wednesday morning the Central Church of Christ was one of the prettiest structures in the whole area. Beauty is fleeting! This beautiful place of worship and fellowship now awaits bulldozers and wrecking crews. But, they will rebuild on this site and keep loving God and their neighbors.
Volunteerism is thriving. Mike Baumgartner’s Disaster Assistance, along with Don and Rosemary Hudson, and many other helpers, are serving thousands of meals to both residents and workers each day. The positive attitudes of the volunteers and the folks who have lost almost everything is wonderful.
For many, many families the music has stopped…, but not forever! They, with the love and help of their faith community, volunteers from all across the country, and the trademark resilience that marks the American people, will go on. New homes will soon stand proudly where now there is only trash.
The beauty of those now wrecked Tuscaloosa neighborhoods has not died…it has only paused for a time, and life will resume. But not for all. Many residents died in the storm and I am praying for their families and friends. May their broken hearts be comforted and one day healed.
If you want to help, what is most needed at this moment is cash. It will be days or weeks before those losses that were insured can be reconciled. People need food, clothing, temporary housing expenses, cars, and well…just look around your house and try to imagine it being all gone.
There are many great organizations who are helping and will help. I can recommend Whites Ferry Road Relief. Since the late 70’s WFR Relief has responded to natural catastrophes around the globe and as God provides will help the people in Tuscaloosa too. You can donate online at http://www.wfrchurch.org/relief/. Or you can mail a check to: Relief, 3201 N. 7th Street, West Monroe, La 71291.
For now there is no mail box at the church so gifts may be sent to the above address or to the University Church of Christ, 1200 Julia Tutwiler Drive, Tuscaloosa, AL 35404-2934, and designated “Central Church”. Every gift will be used to help the people of the Central Church and then allow them to better help their neighbors.
Hope is in your mouth and help is in your hand.