On May 20, 2013, an EF-5 tornado ripped through Moore, Oklahoma. Although Oklahoma is known for its tornadoes, this was far worse than normal, and it captured the attention of the nation because of the total devastation and because two elementary schools were hit, killing seven children.
Steven Earp, a young pastor of Elevate Church in Moore, had visited my office only a couple weeks before. When I heard about the tornado, I texted him to see if he and his family were OK, and they were. But his church was in the midst of disaster relief. So, Christian Life Missions sprang into action, and we immediately sent an offering and also appealed to our readers to contribute. Altogether we contributed around $23,000, which was used by Steven’s church to help those whose lives had been so devastated.
Little did I know that not only would Steven’s church spring into action to help but later would create an 88-minute movie called “Where Was God?” that graphically and emotionally tells the horrible tragedy in Moore and how people responded. It also tells about the lives that were changed.
The movie is as professional as any I’ve seen a church produce. It’s been shown in theaters around the country, and you can bring the film to your local theater or church. You can also sign up for an email list at wherewasGod.com to learn when the movie comes out on DVD and to see a trailer that shows it better than I can describe it.
Recently, I was in Oklahoma City and met Steven at a Starbucks. We rode around Moore, and he showed me where the damage had been done. I saw lots of new homes that were recently rebuilt, and also two new elementary schools. Click below to hear Steven share his thoughts standing in front of Plaza Towers Elementary School.
Steven’s church raised about $170,000 total. They began helping by providing meals for the emergency volunteer workers that flooded in from hundreds of miles away to help after the tornado. They then responded to an immediate need of some of the victims, a need that the government could not respond to quickly. They bought dozens of large plastic bins and provided them to people who were picking through the rubble of their homes trying to retrieve the few things that were not destroyed. Obviously, they had nowhere to even put these things.
Steven told me that Christian Life Missions’ help, through the readers of Charisma and “The Strang Report,” proved particularly helpful because it came in so quickly. Some of the help that came from churches came a week or two later.
He told me that some of the money we donated also went toward buying a gravestone for one of the children who died, because their family could not afford it.
I was very touched to get this report and to discover how much the relatively small sum we sent had helped to meet the need.
On the same visit, I went to Vaughn Foods, which only a week before had been the site of a lady being beheaded by a radical Muslim convert. It was striking that two such tragedies affected one small community in such a short period of time. I’ll write about that later.
Today, we are not raising money for Christian Life Missions. But know that when you donate through Charisma Cares, 100 percent of your money goes to whom we’re raising it for and that, similar to Moore, Oklahoma, it really meets the need. Any money that comes in between disasters, we pool into a fund so that we can respond immediately when a new need arises.
You can always give through Charisma Cares by clicking here.
Steve Strang is the founding editor and publisher of Charisma. Follow him on Twitter @sstrang or Facebook (stephenestrang).