JOPLIN Tornado Relief Tour Update – Angelic Stories, Video and more…

The Invitation & The Sending

This trip and the entire process of how God called me to go to Joplin was very significant for me personally. I heard the same Holy Spirit that the Apostle Paul heard to go into another region and to encourage the Church. When I heard the Lord, He did not say to go to encourage a specific church. I heard the Lord speak to me, “I want you to take a team and go encourage the Church of Joplin.” This is how God looks at His Church.

This trip represents one of the truest examples of the apostolic (sent forth) and prophetic (encouraging) ministry that I, and I believe many other musicians (minstrels), are called to in this hour. I want to tell you that I was not invited to Joplin by any man, I was sent by God. Oh yes, God used relationship that I had with friend Daryl Billings, a man who has been standing in prayer for the Joplin region for over a decade. That is who God had us connect with, but I draw attention to the “God sending” here for a reason. I was invited by God, welcomed by man. I believe that I and others that are called in an apostolic ministry manner are going to more often go forth from this type of God sending in which they don’t wait for invitations from men, but they go forth from the sending of the Lord, they are welcomed by man, and they have need of nothing because they are supported and sent by their community.

Trip Summary

First of all, thanks to Dan, Tom and Welser for going with this crazy, traveling minstrel on this journey to Joplin. We arrived to some great hospitality… an entire dorm with a complete kitchen, stocked fridge and everything we needed for the weekend… Thanks to Daryl B and all those involved in hosting us.

When I entered the damage path area of the city, I was really overwhelmed by the extent of the damage, even a month and a half after the incident. There really is no way to capture through words, photos or video what it feels like to stand in the middle of 360 degrees of destruction. It was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Although it’s a tough thing to see, I almost feel it’s a good thing for anyone to travel to a place that is experiencing or living through a trying experience. It helps you to appreciate what God has done and is doing in your own life. It brings perspective back to you to realize the blessings you live with everyday that you take for granted.

Friday night we packed out a tent that was set up in a park adjacent to the hospital that was completely destroyed by the tornado. We led worship and then testimonies were shared, some that I will share with you shortly… AMAZING stories. We then spent the last hour interceding & prophesying through music and declaration over the people and the city. It was incredible actually. Here we were worshipping outdoors through a blaring sound system, the sound going forth to all those who drove by, to all those in the city. We were releasing a kingdom sound in the very place where the sound of devastation had been just weeks before. We released a sound of peace, of hope and of healing. It was an incredible feeling, experience and honor for me.

The next morning Tom and Welser led a worship and prayer set at the JOPHOP for an hour and we were joined by a team from IHOP-KC. After a break, we had the opportunity to split into two teams and go canvassing in some neighborhoods. Dan and I had the chance to talk to and pray with a young man who was still living in a home that had been badly damaged in the storm. His home still stood, yet all around him were homes totally destroyed. I can still remember the cool wind of his AC pouring out of his front doorless doorway as we encouraged him and prayed with him. He had a smile on his face as we left. I was amazed at this young man’s ability to have any sense of joy in the midst of the situation he was in. I made me so thankful for my little townhouse back in TX.

Dan and I had the opportunity to drive a Baptist pastor around to all of these homes. This Pastor had been in the community for over a decade and I was so blessed by all he was doing for the people. The Baptist church was actually contacting each and every homeowner that had left their homes without giving the city a right of entry, thus potentially saving each of these former homeowners upwards of $4000 each. I was so blessed by what they were doing in the community. Dan and I were able to pray and prophesy over this Baptist pastor in our car before dropping him off at his church. It’s amazing how the denominational walls fall away in the midst of a situation like what is taking place in Joplin.

After a break for dinner, we held our second night of ministry in the tent. It was equally powerful and the tent was packed out again. We had a man from Houston actually share a little that night and he brought a cross that he had made from the very rubble of the tornado. He himself had been in Joplin for over a month just praying and ministering to whomever he came into contact with. Let me tell you that I really experienced another  realm of community kingdom culture here in Joplin. It was as if “church as usual” was off… Anyone could share on the mic at these meetings. There was such a sense of family, of spontaneity. The spirit of professionalism was so far away. I looked down at my dusty, sandaled feet and thought of how Jesus and the disciples had stood and ministered the same way on dusty, dirty hills to the people… Man, it was just awesome.

I want you to know that the people in Joplin, especially some key leaders in the house of prayer movement in the city were VERY blessed by us being there. I want to thank all of you that prayed and that supported us to go to bring hope, joy and love from Dallas to the Church of Joplin. Another south Missouri tour is in the works for September 2011 and we hope to stop by Joplin again very soon.

Testimonies & Stories

Some of the stories I heard were too incredibly detailed for me to write it all here, so I will list them in short summary. These are stories I heard directly from people who spoke to me on Friday night after the meeting. (I have not confirmed these stories in any way, I share them as I heard them from others)

One story I heard had to do with a 4-year-old boy who was found in a field behind what was formerly the Home Depot. When they asked him where he lived, he was too young to tell them his address, all he knew was his name and his parents names. This boys parents were in touch with the police in order to find the boy. Once they were reunited, they realized that the boy had been found FIVE MILES from his home. When they asked the boy how he got to the field, he told them, “The angels carried me through the tornado.” Are you getting the same chills that I did when I heard this?

Another story is one that I actually found & confirmed online. A girl was with her grandma in a car when the tornado was picking them up off of the ground. The grandma told her to start praying and she did. The girl said she could see her guardian angel during the incident. A metal bar actually came through the roof of their care and pierced this little girl into her shoulder and through her abdomen, totally MISSING EVERY VITAL ORGAN. The doctors simply removed the rod from her body and she survived and fully recovered…

I talked directly to a woman who was actually in the Wal-Mart that was completely destroyed by the storm. She showed me a picture of the Wal-Mart right after she got up from the floor… there were no roof or wall that remained. She told me that when she got up and looked around, she saw more that one “large black men” walking around the Wal-Mart dressed in white picking up large chunks of rubble off of the people in the store. When she looked for these “men” later, they were nowhere to be found.

One story had to do with a man who was praying in his basement and felt the Lord tell him over and over to “go outside.” At first he was like, “Are you crazy, why should I go outside during a tornado?” But after being prompted continually, he obeyed to find a group of ten people outside of his home, people who had no basements, people whom also later said that they also felt “something” telling them to go outside. This man called them all into his home and into his basement. All of these people survived, only to later find that the basement-less homes that they had vacated had all been completely destroyed. The still, small voice…

One older woman was in her third story apartment. After the tornado hit, she tried to go down the solitary stairway out of her place only to find that the stairs were gone. From nowhere a giant man came up to her, picked her up and set her down on the stairs. He then thoughtfully grabbed her walker and handed it to her. She never saw this “man” again.

One man, we will call him Andrew, was in his basement with his family. After the tornado ravaged their home, he went to the bottom of his basement stairs to look up at the top to see a black man dressed in a bright white t-shirt. The man asked, “Andrew are you and your family okay?” Andrew first wondered how this man, whom he’d never seen before, knew his name. Secondly, he wondered how his shirt looked so clean. After Andrew answered yes, the man walked away from the stairs. Later, when Andrew went up the stairs, he realized that his home had completely caved in with no clear way of coming in or out. They had to dig their way out, afterwards realizing that no man could have gotten into their home to the top of their stairs and kept their clothing completely clean!

Once again, these are all stories that christian men and women told me after the Friday meeting. I just stood there in awe at their stories and testimonies. I left Joplin with a renewed sense of the reality of the supernatural realm. The craziest part is that I know that these are just a few of the many, many supernatural stories surrounding the Joplin Tornado.

 Personal Reflection

For me personally, standing on a dusty hill playing music in a tent overlooking a city is probably the most precise representation of the calling on my life and the function of my ministry as a “prophet with song.” We were literally a light on a hill, a light to the city. As we worshipped with the distant hum of the gas-powered generator, I really don’t think I could have felt more “in the pocket” of what I feel I was made to be and do.

It’s easy to write a book about living out the life of a prophetic minstrel, to talk about taking teams of people to places to bring hope and joy through the music and the prophetic word. It’s another to really do the 12 hour round trip drive, to get your feet filthy on the dusty hill and to really sing ‘til you can’t anymore over the sound of a generator and grimy guitar amps. IT WAS INCREDIBLE. Not just for the experience, but because lives were touched and will continue to be touched. His Kingdom Came, His Will Was Done. It wasn’t awesome because it was “a great conference” in a “hip building.” In fact, these meetings offered nothing to the senses. You had to walk in the dark to sit in a tent in 90 degree weather with dust flying around in the middle of utter devastation. And all the while, I could not help but think, “This is what having church is all about!”




One Response to “JOPLIN Tornado Relief Tour Update – Angelic Stories, Video and more…”

  1. I went to joplin on a mission trip as well and heard very similar stories. God is there in our roughest times to protect us!

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