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Joplin Diary 4: You can see Jesus everywhere

David Scott, a 1994 graduate of Abilene Christian University, lives in Carthage, Mo., with his wife, Whitney, and their two children. David and Whitney own Whitney Scott Photography, a boutique studio with a number of clients who were affected by the May 22 tornado in nearby Joplin that killed 151 people and injured more than 900.
With her permission, we present the fourth of a series of five posts this week, shared through Whitney’s photography and words about a few of their friends and the, well, the amazing grace by which they were spared further harm.

The destruction is so endless. The lens of a camera cannot capture it. The experience of this place is surreal. No words are adequate.
You may have already read the incredibly powerful words from the letter to Joplin, written by B.J. Hollars, a preacher from Tuscaloosa, Ala., but this is a quote I wanted to share:
“One month from today, you will not be healed, but healing. The scrap will be piled like bunkers alongside the roads, and eventually, even the choir of sirens will dissipate. One day soon, cars will once again outnumber ambulances, and in a few weeks time, you’ll see a child throw a Frisbee and for a moment, forget that anything more treacherous ever collected in the wind.”
While the grief in our community is palpable, the outpouring of love has been overwhelming. We are part of a church that has always been focused on mission efforts. I can’t begin to express then, how it feels when the mission field comes to you. I can’t begin to share the depth of gratitude we all feel for the many individuals and groups who have poured into this place – their trucks and school buses and vans filled to overflowing with bottled water, diapers, tarps and towels. And beyond the physical things they’ve given with their hands, is the support they’ve given with their prayers … the love they’ve shared when they’ve spent days sorting clothing, sifting through rubble and handing out sack lunches to workers in the heat.
It is humbling to experience this. It is unbelievably uplifting. I will never again underestimate the power of mission efforts to do great spiritual works in an incredibly simple way. These past weeks have shown me Jesus everywhere. Absolutely everywhere.

Thank you for the prayers you have said for our community. Thank you for the donations you’ve made or are considering making today. We will be needing both … for quite some time.

The Mount Hope Church of Christ in Webb City, Mo., is serving as a distribution center for those affected by the tornado and is accepting cash donations here.
According to our records, 27 ACU alumni live in or near Joplin: Crista Austin, Kenneth Boles, Francisco Bonilla (Webb City, Mo.), Treavis Broaddus (Webb City, Mo.), Denny Brummett (Sarcoxie, Mo.), Gerald Chrisman (Carthage, Mo.), Maureen Dunaway (Carthage, Mo.), Dr. Carolyn Hale (Saginaw, Mo.), Mike Kelly, Dr. Tom Lawson (Webb City, Mo.), Ralph and Sheri Madill (Carthage, Mo.), Nick Meyer (Carl Junction, Mo.), Jim and Donna Murray (Diamond, Mo.), Paula Roberts, Mark Smith (Carthage, Mo.), and Julie Williams (Webb City, Mo.). We’d like to know they are well, so if you have news from them, please share it here or by emailing
Through reader response to this series, we have heard that Dr. Gary Zustiak (Joplin), Valenda Moore (Carthage, Mo.),  Jeanie Cline (Carthage, Mo.) and Paul Cline (Carthage, Mo.), and Jay Young (Webb City, Mo.) are safe.
Safe, too, are Josh (’06 M.A.C.M.) and Anna (Radomsky) Edwards of Joplin, but they lost their house and belongings to the tornado. The couple was vacationing in Florida on May 22, only to learn of the damage in their neighborhood through media accounts and reports from friends. Anna has started a blog, Tornado Blessings, you should read. Josh’s blog can be read here.