On May 22, 2011, the city of Joplin, Missouri, was hit by an EF-5 tornado that killed more than 160 people and forever changed this community of 45,000. St. John's Regional Medical Center was destroyed. The six-mile path of devastation affected 7,000 homes and 500 businesses.
Nazarenes quickly mobilized to bring disaster relief to this devastated city. According to Joplin District Superintendent Jim Dillow, more than 3,600 volunteers have modeled generosity by giving their time, talents, and resources to help those affected by the Joplin disaster. Since May 2011, approximately $500,000 (USD) has been given to Nazarene Compassionate Ministries to help tornado victims in the U.S. and Canada.
On October 19, 2011, the TV program Extreme Makeover: Home Edition traveled to tornado-ravaged Joplin to celebrate its 200th episode in historic fashion. The show surprised an unprecedented seven families with the door knock that changes lives, and the show's design team and many others rebuilt seven homes in just seven days.
Steve Hart, member of the Dayspring Church of the Nazarene and owner of E & H Seamless Guttering, along with Shelby Klein and Josh Furnas, MidAmerica Nazarene University (MNU) students, took part in this amazing display of generosity by many local Joplin businesses.
"It was a privilege to be there just to help people that were in need. I feel like God has always blessed me. I just want to give back. I had multiple people from Joplin thanking me for being there, but they didn't need to thank me for what needed to be done."
-Steve Hart, Joplin business owner
"The generosity of my boss and the other volunteers made me realize that when part of our community is in need, people will give their time and money in order to help out someone. It was a great event to be a part of, and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat."
-Josh Furnas, MNU student
"This was an incredible experience that was well worth my time and energy, and I feel completely blessed to have even been a part of it. There were times when I felt like I was only doing little tasks that did not mean much, but in the end every little task made a difference somehow."
-Shelby Klein, MNU student
Nazarenes demonstrate a desire to serve and aid those in need, which is at the heart of modeling Christ's example of compassion.
Note: this is one of a series of article for "Modeling Generosity,'"a series where Holiness Today partners with the Church of the Nazarene Foundation and other entities. Learn how God's people model generosity in their lives. Help inspire others to leave a lasting legacy by sending your stories, or the story of someone you know who lives generously, to firstname.lastname@example.org.