The goals of this Oklahoma Disaster Response Mission were many.  The suburb of Moore, Oklahoma, suffered a devastating tornado on May 20, 2013, that caused the death of 7 children at Plaza Towers Elementary School, along with 17 others. Whole neighborhoods throughout the area were laid waste that afternoon by the force of the EF5 tornado.

      May 31st, only 11 days later, a massive 2.6 mile wide tornado tore through the rural areas outside Oklahoma City, killing another 18 people, their livestock and destroying homes and property. 

As each storm approached, those who could took cover in tornado shelters, but many others rode out the storms in closets, bathrooms, cars or wherever they could find shelter. 

     The fifteen members in our team split into two groups to help the people in these areas.  We left on Saturday, June 29th, and stayed overnight at Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri.  After attending worship at a nearby Presbyterian church, we headed for Moore, OK.  Our home at Moore was Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College, where we bunked in the college dorms.  One of our teams worked to create a Peace Camp for the children of Moore, which helped them to start the process of healing. 

The other team worked on helping people begin the restoration process by roofing homes and clearing fields.  Both teams joined in efforts to clear debris, paint a home’s interior and work at a food distribution center located on the Hillsdale College campus.  Every evening, our whole team reflected and shared God’s purpose and meaning of our day’s experiences through devotional time.  We were fortunate to have Matt Dimond, a John Knox member, now living in Oklahoma City, join our group and help our team.  On Saturday, July 6th, we left Moore, and headed for home.  We stayed at St. Louis Christian College in Florissant, Missouri, Saturday night.  On Sunday, July, 7th, we arrived at John Knox Church in the early evening.

John Knox Church travels to tornado-damaged Moore, Oklahoma, June 29-July 7, 2013