Joplin: Praise Rings Out

I don’t know where to begin. The experiences were… well… too much. Too much to just write a few words and do justice to. 14 people, some of whom were brand new to ever doing anything like this before (like me), not sure exactly what compelled us to go, but who went anyway. People who laughed hard, worked harder, prayed hardest, and loved the hardest of all! People who from the experience came back as family, changed forever. I think I’ll begin with a slideshow. It says alot that words can’t say. Then maybe some written thoughts will formulate. I will say — before you watch it — the song, “Praise You in the Storm” exemplifies the spirit of Joplin, Missouri better than any other sentiment on this earth. They are a people whose lives have been ravaged. Some lost everything. Yet, I don’t know that I have ever felt a stronger spirit of hope and faith in God for seeing them through. Thanksgiving filled their hearts with the miracles they saw all around them! …Off the subject for just a second: the song was particularly therapeutic — and challenging — to me as I worked on this because I put it together fresh on the day I tearfully buried my beloved dog, Milly Grace, who became sick unexpectedly as I was coming home from Joplin and died 2 days later. If the people of Joplin can praise Him in the storm… then my heart tells me that I must too! “Thank you, God for hope and comfort — even in the most devastating of storms!

Ok… just a few “inside stories” of the Joplin effort too amazing not to share: Work crews were sent out to various assignments to clear rubble & debris to the curbs so cleanup crews could begin picking it up to bring some sense of “what was” to the city. The workers were many, and the work was HARD.. and HOT! But all day, every day, there were “angels” who couldn’t do the hard, physical labor, but said they had to help. So they drove around with iced bottled water, food, ice cream, and BLESSINGS to whoever needed a break. I was especially touched by 2 teenaged girls who spent their own money buying a cooler, ice and bottles of water to happily march into our work site to make sure everyone had a cold drink. One of the girls had a close call when the storm hit and was in the basement of her school where a woman on another floor died. She wore a T-shirt that said, “May 22nd. God blessed me with a 2nd chance.” One man of God drove all the way from Denver in a car that had transmission issues to offer free chainsaw repair and sharpening to the crews whose chainsaws needed it (like ours)! A 14 year old girl who had a voice that stopped the crowd, had to do something, so she loaded up some sound equipment and went to the Forrest Park Baptist Church parking lot where lunch was being served to tired and worn out workers. She sang her heart out to the people to encourage them and lift their spirits. Amazing Grace never sounded so sweet! A homeowner whose house we helped clear out of moldy destroyed furniture he was unable to move by himself was so grateful he asked, “Can I please pray for you!” A grandmother who cried when, after I had listened to her grandson pour out to me such unspeakable pain in his life, I took his hand and asked him to please consider finding a church and letting someONE bigger than his problems and ABLE to handle them heal him. He said he would. It was story after story. Everyone had one, and at least the ones I heard all had hope and faith. It couldn’t help but bring us to our knees and praise Him in the storm! We were unmistakably being guided to where we were supposed to be — often having stopped in mid-course with a knowing that we were supposed to go somewhere else — and ALWAYS — Every single time being rewarded with one of those “WOW! That really happened!” type of experiences.

I can’t even say how thankful I am for the honor of serving the people of Joplin in this small way. I was much more blessed than they could have possibly been. I was stretched — wayyyyyyyy stretched, and it felt AMAZING! I hope God sends me out again because I’m finding my heart missing my mission — and my new 13 friends that bonded so deeply during this time. I’ve posted all the pictures in an album on my Facebook page if you want to see more. There’s a few more personal ones of our time together. THANK YOU GUYS for being so awesome. So fun. Yet so deep and passionate about our mission. I learned from you and will never be the same because of you! Here’s the link to the rest of the pictures:

About Sandy

I'm Sandy Powers, full-time photographer, doing what I love with my life! My passion is PEOPLE! There is such artistry in people, and I love capturing it. Naturally, portraiture is my passion, but I also love shooting for the art of photography for competitions or exhibit. I once watched an interview with Kim Walker, a well-known Christian worship leader. What she said resonated with me and pretty much describes my own story. In the interview, she said she didn't have to force things to happen for herself. She didn't have to push. She didn't have to overly promote herself or call people and beg them to hire her. In fact, she didn't have to do anything except keep her eyes on Jesus and watch Him bring her destiny to her. That's exactly how I feel. I walk each day by faith, and my eyes are on Him! I have watched in amazement as He has orchestrated circumstance to bring my destiny to me. I thank Him daily for allowing me to not only do what I love, but to use what I love to bless others! So, how is "the destiny" unfolding? Well. . . . My work has been juried into temporary museum and art gallery exhibits, I have been featured in Outdoor Photographer Magazine, my portraiture and fine art have won several awards in national and international competitions, and one of my portraits was selected by an Adobe Lightroom blog as one of the top 50 most stunning black and white photos. I'm a member of Professional Photographers of America and the Texas Photographic Society. Anything else??? Send me a note ( any time! I LOVE meeting new people, sharing stories, and best of all, changing the "ordinary" to extraordinary through photography!
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2 Responses to Joplin: Praise Rings Out

  1. John Swadley says:

    Sandy! WOW! Thank you for your help and love. The video is so powerful! THANK YOU!


  2. Michelle G says:

    Your photos portrayed not only the destruction of the storm, but most importantly Faith and the strength to rebuild. Beautiful!

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