“But Lord, I don’t want to grow up!!” How many of us have at least thought this phrase in our lives? I know
I often get frustrated with things going on in and around me and wish the growing process was over so I
could just do what I want to do without all the hassles! But as true believers in Christ, we’re told many
times in the Bible that life on this earth is a growth process and our lives are not our own. The things we go
through that cause us to be uncomfortably stretched are meant to draw us closer to the Lord and make us
more like Jesus. Life is tough and full of problems and issues all as a direct result of sin in the world.
Whether we are Christians or not, we all experience difficulties in areas such as sickness, relationships,
jobs, money, etc in our daily lives. There really is no such thing as “bad things” happening to “good people”
because there are no good people- there is none righteous no not one- and that includes everyone! The
odds of any of us making it through life without some type of tragedy are next to impossible and the
overwhelming statistic of death is one out of one dies. So what do we do when a tragedy happens? What
do we do when those around us are struck with a tragedy? It is always our choice: to be drawn closer to
the Lord or to go further away.
Life in disaster relief is no exception. It is hard seeing all of the destruction, but the Lord has called us to
show people that there is hope. Life on this earth is short and houses and things are temporary, but
eternity is forever. Sometimes we take life for granted- we push the Lord out of our lives, we want to do
what we want and live our lives the way we want, but the Lord will use a disaster to open our eyes to just
how short and temporary this world is. Sadly, some people miss the work that the Lord is trying to do and
continue to live for themselves, but it is a true privilege to see people whose lives have been shaken by
disaster turn to the Lord. This trip we were blessed to see the Lord work in the lives of several different
When we heard the news about the tornados that hit in May, we didn’t think we’d be able to respond since
we didn’t have a trailer. As we prayed for those affected by the storms, the Lord began pressing upon us
that He wanted us there anyway. We had some contacts in the area saying to come, Covenant Life
Presbyterian loaned us a trailer, and I was able to clear up my work schedule and by week’s end we were
on the road!
Typically when we head into an area we try to stay away from where the media and most others are going.
We look into the fringes of the affected areas and try to find places where there is a viable need yet not
as much help. When we headed out, we thought we might end up in Moore, but I told Mary Jo that I really
felt led to look at the outer edges of the storm. At this time we didn’t realize that there had been more
than one tornado in the area. Once we arrived I began looking into where the Lord would have us and
found many needs. Through a series of events, we landed at 1st Baptist in Little Axe, a small community on
the outskirts of Norman, just east of Oklahoma City.
The Little Axe area had an F4 tornado that went through on Sunday, May 19th, a day earlier than the one in
Moore. It affected 649 homes. According to residents, the area had a lot of response on Sunday evening
and Monday, but they lost most of their help when the Moore tornado hit.
We arrived about a week afterwards and quickly got to work. The church members were hard at work and
had set up a distribution center, were cooking meals, delivering food and supplies to the community, and
organizing work teams. For a church that had never done any relief efforts, they were in full swing and
were doing a great job!
I ended up helping to overseeing work teams, assessing jobs before, during and after teams, talking to
homeowners and getting dirty as much as possible. Brian and Zach joined us for the first few weeks and
helped with the work teams, while Mary Jo helped out at the church, ministering to those around her and
making sure everything was done at the camp for us.
We had many people come to help, some locals, some who just came in day by day and some who stayed
with us at the base camp. About two weeks into our stay, we were joined by Thom and Paul, who (as of this
writing) are still there helping out. They were a huge blessing and we hope they will join up with us again in
future trips as the Lord leads.
We made many friends while in Little Axe, some homeowners and some volunteers. We especially spent a
lot of time with Greg and his wife Regina. They had a lot of damage to their property from the storm.
Greg wasn’t working at the time due to an injury and he was heading up the work teams at the church so I
helped him as much as possible. Regina was working but we spent quite a few evenings fellowshipping and
eating together! We ended up worshiping mostly at CC Norman and really enjoyed our time of fellowship
with them. They invited us over for quite a few dinners and we spent the 4th of July with Pastor Jim and
his family and friends. Just before we left, Jason and Stacy from Utah joined the group. They are
continuing to run teams through the area using CC Norman as their base camp. There was still a lot of work
to be done when we left so if you’re reading this and feel led, please contact us to be Jesus’ hands and
As you’ve heard us say before, each trip is different. Just when we think we have one aspect figured out,
the Lord stretches us in another area; I think He’s trying to grow us!! This trip was no exception and we
had many struggles. Satan isn’t happy about the ministry that goes on when we are in the field and there
were a lot of spiritual attacks. A week hadn’t passed before I was thinking and even saying out loud, “I
want to go home.” (Note from MJ: this is something Curt never says!!) Now when we’re in the field, home is
whatever floor we happen to be sleeping on, but this time I was not calling OK home! I wanted to go back
to FL. I was beginning to think that I had made a mistake coming to OK. There were plenty of things to do
back home! Our new trailer was due soon, there were a couple of jobs I could do to make some money to
pay some bills, there was plenty of work to be done in our home, and I’m old and tired, etc.
But the Lord wanted us in OK. He did have a plan and we didn’t surprise Him in any way that we had ended
up in Little Axe. The attacks continued and it almost seemed that we’d get one step forward and end up
going three steps back, but nevertheless not my will but Yours be done, Lord. Most importantly, God
wanted us to grow! We were so thankful to know that so many of you were praying for us. The Lord is
good all of the time regardless of me!
A good friend, Greg, from NC called me one morning. He and his wife had just been in Kansas and
Nebraska. He felt that many of the areas he was in were Spiritually dead. Like the church mentioned in
Revelation, they needed to return to their first Love. We find many people in our travels that are
“Christians” but see no evidence of Christ in their lives. There seem to be more and more churches that
don’t preach the whole Word of God. People want to hear what their itching ears want rather than what
The Lord wants to tell them. Greg said that he felt that the churches and people he was seeing needed to
return to the Lord and that maybe the area we were in was much the same. He prayed with me, told me
he’d continue to pray for us and then I got on with my day. The next day while we were working on
Robert’s roof, he mentioned that he and his wife had not been to church in over 7 years. We began
discussing what God’s Word had to say about some things, including going to church. A couple days later he
and his wife joined us at church and said they would continue to go. Shortly thereafter I met with Larry, a
homeowner. He was pretty frustrated with life and said he wouldn’t ever go back to church. I prayed with
him and said if we had some volunteers who could help him with his property we’d send them out. A couple
of weeks later CC from Dickson, ND showed up to help him and then Larry and his family showed up to
church! We then worked on another homeowner’s property and their family showed up for church. Charles
said they too hadn’t been to church in years. Finally, before we left the area, Carol, a lady I had met early
on, showed up. I had sent a few teams to her street to help with the cleanup. She had left the area for a
family wedding and we hadn’t seen her and didn’t expect to see her again before we left. When she got
home she tracked us down. I talked with her a little but had to run into town to get some supplies so Mary
Jo spent some quality time talking to her. It turns out an earlier team had led her to the Lord but weren’t
connected to a local church so she had no clue about anything to do with the Lord, Jesus, discipleship, etc.
Mary Jo spent some time talking about the Lord with her but unfortunately we had to leave the area. We
left her contact info with a couple of different people and have been told that she has been hanging around
a couple of Christian ladies and getting involved! I think The Lord is beginning to draw many back to Him,
but still many need Him.
All of this also brings to mind the importance of the local church in ministering to the local people. So what
is the responsibility of the “missionary” who comes into an area? Since we don’t reside in the area and are
only there temporarily, we always try to connect with a local church that teaches the whole Bible and gives
those who attend solid food so that we can ensure the Great Commission that Jesus gave us in Matthew
28:19-20 is followed: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” We cannot emphasize enough how important
it is that a new believer is connected to a local body of Christ. We realize that we can’t do it all. We just
want to come in and help people begin to move forward, to show them that they can begin to get their lives
back to what it used to be, and most importantly, share with them that the Lord does love them and He has
a great plan for their lives. We leave all of our info with a local church that is willing to do follow-up
discipleship and pray that the seeds that we were able to plant are watered by others as the Lord brings in
Please continue to pray for those that we were able to minister to from this storm (and all the other
storms we have responded to). Pray that they would be led to a church body that would disciple them with
God’s Word and that they would grow as true believers in Christ, and not only have their own lives changed
for eternity, but also that they too would go out and make disciples of those around them!
We received an email after we left the area. It is from Charles, a homeowner that we ministered to and it
was entitled “A renewing of faith.” Here it is:
Everything is extremely well Curt, thanks for touching base. Great to hear from you. Drive Safe I know
you all have to be missing home right about now. The gifts God has blessed us with are amazing. The
energy, spirit, and commitment that you and your wife and friends brought to our home can only be
described as a blessing. You have renewed our faith. We had been praying for help every night since the
Tornado happened. My family really appreciates the humble fashion in which every gift was delivered.
Chattanooga Calvary is amazing and their strength in spirit is incredible
Thanks for letting us be a part of your lives. Without your perseverance, persistence, and fund raising
efforts we would not have a roof or a nice place to live. We are very proud of our property and
understand implicitly that you are the vessel that brought Jesus to our lives. You did not judge us, You
did not humiliate us. You made us feel whole and worthwhile. Your honesty and clear vision for the future
of our home and our lives makes a big difference to every one of us including the children whether they
realize it yet or not lol. God Bless you on your journey sir and may the Holy Spirit be always with you.
Hallelujah I believe in Jesus Christ