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Family of The Month - Chapter IV

Updated: Jun 8

God's Perfect Timing: When the people who took us in the night of the storm; (read about them in part III here in "We Know Where Our Treasures Lie") brought us back to the house the next morning, it was the first time we saw it in broad day light. When Laurie looked around at the complete destruction surrounding us, she was overwhelmed. “How in the world are we ever going to clean up this mess?” Then she remembered that they managed to clean up the World Trade Center in New York after 9-11, so, she said “I guess we can clean this up too.”

Don’t get me wrong, the Royal “We” encompassed a lot of people and equipment and many days of sorting, salvaging, and discarding useless stuff and removing tons of debris. One of the teams from our church did nothing but pick out any salvageable clothing and tossed them into a 55-gallon drum. Our friend Joyce spent three days washing and rewashing our clothes sometimes three and four times, to remove the dirt, broken glass and insulation embedded in our clothing. She told us later that by the third day she was tired of washing clothes and beginning to resent doing them. She then said God had a short chat with her which went like this… “At least you have a washer.”

We all thought that was pretty funny. We needed a good laugh. By the way… under garments... no matter how many times you wash them, are still itchy. We had to go to the store and buy new stuff.

A dumpster was donated, and a Bulldozer, Excavator, and Bobcat drivers worked to clean up the heavy debris all free of charge. Throughout the week at least a hundred people came out to help. Several local churches, an out-of-town youth group doing summer mission work, inmates from our local county jail complete with armed escorts, total strangers, some driving 60 miles from Jefferson City to Camdenton, and an army of others helped us. Some people just stopped by and handed us money. The outpouring of help and support was unexpected, overwhelming, and very humbling.

Although we had different crews showing up daily, there were some who worked the entire week. My sister Lynn, brother-in-law David, my brother Mark, some close friends, and our builder friend Mike were at our side the whole time. Other friends brought their travel trailer and parked it in the front yard, so we had a place to just rest when we needed a break.

On the Saturday following the tornado, the Vice President of our local bank called Laurie and said he had a crew from his bank coming out to help. We expected them to be there first thing in the morning but by noon they hadn’t arrived. Without any tools to work with, there wasn’t much left to do. After six days, we were all exhausted. Laurie and I thanked our friends and family for their heroic efforts and told them we would deal with what was left another day. Just as we were packing up to leave, the bank crew pulled into the driveway ready, they said, to do anything we needed done. When Laurie explained that all that was left was the very small debris piled close in around the foundation that the big equipment couldn’t get to, they cheerfully said they’d all brought gloves and would clean it up by hand. We scrounged up several garbage bags and they went to work picking up small bits and pieces of junk. They hadn’t been at it more than five minutes when a Penske rental truck, like the one in the picture, pulled into the driveway. We’d seen lots of Red Cross trucks earlier in the week. They were very helpful in keeping everyone fed and hydrated.

The Driver jumped down from the cab, walked to the back of the truck, rolled up the door and, yelled out, “I’ve got rakes, shovels, and wheel barrels, how many do you need?”

Seriously, Lord?

We took four of each and the bank crew had the rest of the debris cleaned up in just a few hours.

Laurie and I learned that day that God is the “God of Just in Time.” He shows up just when you need Him with exactly what you need. I believe He does that because after we’ve exhausted all our ideas, tried everything we could think of, when we are at the end of our rope, He saves the day. That way we cannot say with pride, “by the sweat of my brow I accomplished this.” No, it was by God’s grace and favor that we got what we needed just when we needed it. So, who gets the glory? The One who deserved it. Amen.

That’s my brother Mark. He worked for our pressure washing company. We dug one of our pressure washers out of the rubble, got it cleaned up and working, and he finished cleaning the concrete floor in the basement so we could start putting up the new walls. Laurie & Randy and All American Powerclean 2.0 was about to begin. Thanks Mark.

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