On April 9th severe weather had been forecast all across the US. Many areas were under tornado
watches and warnings including DeKalb County, IL. At 6:30 PM the torando warning was lifted and
the residents of Fairdale began coming out of their basements and shelters. Fifteen minutes later
an EF-3 tornado ripped through the small town of Fairdale. Unfortunately two people were killed in
Fairdale was an old railroad town over 100 years old of about 80 homes. All of the homes were
damaged, 66 of them totaled! While most of the homes had insurance, there was still a lot of
cleanup to be done and paperwork to wade through for the homeowners and tons of government
regulations to be figured out.
The biggest issue was zoning. When the town was built there were no codes, zoning, etc. Even
property lines on paper didn't match what existed in town. As the years and society progressed
the area was zoned as laws changed. The homes were grandfathered in and didn't have to be
upgraded. All of this changed once the homes had to be rebuilt. The county said they were willing
to do all they could to allow property to be rebuilt as it was prior to the storm as far as size.
Unfortunately the Illinois State Health Dept had changed septic and well ordinances and most of
the properties would not meet current standards. While this made sense from a health and safety
stand point, it also became a major hurdle that had to be resolved before permitting/rebuilding
could begin and the state wasn't willing to budge on the issue and understandably so.
As the county was working out the septic and zoning issues, we were able to help set up the Long
Term Recovery Committee (LTRC), case management, on site camp set up, volunteer management,
housing, and feeding, etc. We were also helping homeowners understand their insurance paperwork
and explain to them how the "system" works so that they weren't leaving any money on the table.
We were also able to reach out to different local churches and businesses to bring them into the
loop on how they could get involved with volunteers and donations once the needs were present.
Labor wise we tarped roofs, cut trees, grinded stumps, rebuilt a fence, built a shed, put safety
fences around foundations and a few other things. A few homeowners needed to find some
immediate things to get settled into their temporary homes and we were able to help them as well.
It is always our goal to "work ourselves out of a job." The homeowners were not able to move
forward and we didn't know when there would be anything else to do. We began praying about
whether The Lord wanted us to stay or go and decided we would leave the recovery efforts in the
local's hands and began looking for where the Lord would have us go next.
We made some great contacts while in IL. We never really plugged into one single church but
visited several different ones making some connections that we pray lasts! We have certainly
picked up some great prayer warriors!
One of my pastor friends from NY asked me if we would be willing to take a 21 yr old, the son of
another pastor friend, for a month or so. He knows that our focus is first and foremost
discipleship and David was struggling with many things and really needed to find Jesus. Of course
we agreed and we were able to spend a lot of time with David in The Word going through most of
the books of Ephesians and Philippians and lived our lives for Jesus with him. He left with some
major decisions to make and unfortunately didn't leave making the correct ones, but we know that
The Lord is working on him, so please keep David in your prayers.
We had one group come in for a few days to help from Missouri. One of the members, Stephen
was going through a tough time. He was on probation, had three overdoses on heroin and was really
struggling with his life. He didn't make any decision to turn his life over to Christ, but is seeking.
Please keep him in your prayers as well.