On June 22nd we were still in the Fairdale, IL area packing up to head out to our next deployment
and still trying to shore a few things up. The weather had been pretty crazy since we'd been in IL
with many tornado warnings and watches not to mention a ton of rain with some areas flooding.
Several tornados were spotted in the area and when we woke up on Tuesday morning we found out
that at least three of them had touched down and caused damage.
We decided that we would unpack enough stuff from our trailer to be able to do some tree cutting
and debris removal, loaded up some supplies and began searching for where we could help. We
stopped in two other areas that had reported torndado damage. First we headed to Mendota and
couldn't find any damage so we continued on to Sublette. There we found a summer RV park that
had suffered extensive damage, but they weren't finished with search and rescue and weren't
letting anyone in, including the people who owned the RVs.
We then headed to Coal City. As we started heading out from Sublette, we came across a farm
house that had suffered extensive damage. We decided to stop and see if they wanted any help.
The property was abandoned. As we were getting ready to move on a car pulled up and informed us
that the home was indeed abandoned and they were coming by to send some pictures to the owners.
We told them a little about our ministry and that we were heading to Coal City. It turns out that
the husband works with someone, Rick, who lives in Coal City and had suffered some damage from
the EF-3 tornado that ripped through the area. We were put in touch with him, set the GPS for
his address and headed out.
We arrived right after lunch and since we had a local contact were allowed to enter the area and
set up our trailer. Turns out we were the only group allowed into the area to help people and that
didn't change until Thursday.
We immediately got busy with some local volunteers who we were able to get in with us. We
started working on tree cutting and removal along with debris removal and yard cleanup.
We quickly met a couple of other neighbors who needed help and we did all we could until about 7
and decided to head back home, it was a 90 minute ride one way! We decided to leave our trailer
counting on the Lord to get us back in again on Wednesday. We went back again on Wednesday
and continued to help with tree/debris removal.
While serving we shored everything up to head to our next deployment and it was decided with the
folks in TX and us that The Lord wanted us to head out their the next week. We served in Coal
City through Friday at noon. One of the families we had served invited us to dinner so we got the
trailer packed and ended up hanging out with them for the evening. It was a great time of
fellowship with our newfound/old Christian friends, the Tolberts! It always amazes us how we can
go anywhere in the world and God opens the doors for us to find like-minded people to hangout with!
In the short time that we were there we were able to serve at eight homes, made some good
friends and were able to be "Jesus' Hands and Feet" to those around us! We had wished we could
spend more time there but we had already committed to go to TX and several large groups were
beginning to show up by week's end. The folks we talked to had insurance so it seemed that the
community was in good hands.