Team members looking through a window frame

— Photo by Todd Morris

In May 2011 an EF5 tornado devastated the city of Joplin, Missouri, a city located within the boundaries of John Calvin Presbytery. Beginning with the summer after the tornado members of John Calvin Presbytery Disaster Assistance (JCPDA) team have made more than 15 trips to Joplin to help the city rebuild. We started with a group going for short work days during the hot (100+ degree) summer joining others to remove rock and debris from where houses once stood, hand out supplies, sort clothes and do what was needed. 

Beginning the fall of 2011 JCPDA has made two trips a year to help with the rebuilding. Working and being part of the “marathon” of volunteer rebuilding was a rewarding experience for us all.  Meeting individuals who shared their stories of surviving the storm in a closet, behind a refrigerator, or whatever safe place they could find was inspiring. We made our last trip to Joplin in October 2014. 

Putting our heads together we decided that we worked on over 15 houses during the times we worked in Joplin. It is a privilege to serve our neighbors and help return a sense of normalcy to a hurting community. We worked with our bodies and hands, listened with our ears and felt with our hearts.

We will continue to make “rebuilding trips.” Since Hurricane Katrina, JCPDA has made close to 20 trips to disaster affected areas. Disasters are always happening and we go to help be the hands and feet of Christ.

In addition to JCPDA, churches of the Presbytery have filled over 300 disaster clean up buckets and most recently filled over 250 school kits. Members of the Presbytery are mission minded and supportive of those helping in disaster and those affected by disaster.

Submitted by Kathy Morriss, JCPDA


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