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A Mission of the Heart

Full to overflowing, one of the tents at Misti's Mission in Joplin, MO, houses the sorted and organized supplies for disaster victims to search for needed items.

Heat resonated from the dry ground. The sun pierced down, bouncing off and soaking through the tops of large tents and piles upon piles of clothes and supplies, heaped up to eye level. Trucks continued to drive in and out, dropping off endless supplies from across the country. A few dedicated workers and a handful of volunteers sorted and organized one bag at a time, day in and day out, at a distribution center called Misti’s Mission just outside of Joplin, Missouri.

Following the devastating tornado that sliced through Joplin in early May, a woman named Misti discovered a way to help her hurting community. Volunteering to wash donated clothes in her back room, Misti began a ministry that would snowball into much more. Within a month after the tornado, her simple yet time consuming job escalated into managing a full-blown overflow distribution center in her backyard. And the word “overflow” is far from an understatement. Stretching across approximately half a football field along Highway 43, filling two tents, multiple storage units and a few truck loads for good measure, donated supplies most definitely “overflowed.”

Retelling the story of how the mission began, Misti (right) explains the role of each volunteer including Ruth (left) and her husband.

Yet Misti has been surrounded by a few people as intent on helping and tender hearted as she is. A gracious couple from Louisiana named Ruth and Hugh decided to spend some time helping. Traveling around from place to place camping about six months out of the year, Ruth and Hugh paused instead in Joplin to set up camp along side the supplies tent and became part of the driving and organizing force. Openly welcoming volunteers, including those from organizations such as UnWorthy Servants and Sams, Ruth directs all “incoming traffic” to make the work as efficient as possible while jumping in to help with a gracious smile.

Mickey, another leader at the mission and familiar with organizations similar to Misti’s, decided he could be of use. Leaping from one necessary job to the next, Mickey never has a dull moment. From carting a bucket of ice-cold bandanas to sweaty volunteers, to forming an assembly line for quickly unload trucks, to sorting through supplies, he is the life and bounce of the organization.

Always prepared for what comes next and openly personable, Mickey’s heart for people shines through.

 

Mickey, a hard working part of Misti's Mission, takes a moment in the shade before jumping back into work.

Another shining face from the woodworks of the Mission is a man named Whinston. Hailing from Jamaica but now living in the states, Whinston decided one day that the need in Joplin was one to be met. “I saw it on the news and hopped in my car and came down,” he said. Three weeks later, he continues to don his orange tinted sunglasses and keep the place moving. These are only a few of the many who have put aside normal daily life to help a friend or, to some, a former stranger. Misiti, her husband and these dedicated people will continue “until the end,” as they say, to help Joplin get back on its feet. Though almost constantly overwhelmed by the much needed supplies, and in desperate need of “an army” of volunteers to help, they continue to strive forward through the heat with the hope of providing for those who have lost everything in the face of disaster.


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9 responses

  1. Beautiful blog! You captured it all so well. Look forward to seeing more of your work.

    July 8, 2011 at 6:06 pm

  2. Thank you! I hope it continues to capture and communicate well.

    July 10, 2011 at 3:15 am

  3. kaywelsh

    What an outpouring of GOD’s blessings Mysti,her husband & the many others who have heard HIS call & responded. Bless you all & the lives you are helping/touching/witnessing to. HIs love is being spread widely.

    Mkayw

    July 26, 2011 at 12:10 am

  4. kelly

    mickey is my brother.he is such a special person,he always does good for everyone else.he never ask for anything in return,I am so blessed that he is a big part of my life and my kids life.I talk to him everyday and have always wished the best for him.The things that they have done at misti’s mission is great,they have helped and touched so many life’s god must have had a plan.I believe everything happens for a reason,maybe in god’s eyes some of those people needed a new start on life and he gave it to them with the help of this mission.If we had more people in the world like Misti and mickey this world would be a much better place.thank you Misti for all you have done and thanks for always being a kind ,caring, and loving friend to my brother.

    your always in my heart
    kelly from kansas city

    November 30, 2011 at 12:46 am

  5. Teisha del

    Wow you did an amazing job here, i absolutely love it. My name is Teisha Im Misti’s daughter and i can honestly say I am proud. She has done an amazing thing here and allowed so many to be apart of it and opened many eyes to see there are still good people. Im proud of the mission and glad to be apart of the helping hand. Thank you for this page it its beautiful.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:19 am

  6. Thank you so much.
    It was an honor to meet and work with Misti, Mickey and all the others involved with the mission. It is most certainly a challenging position, but everyone is gracious and passionate about the work and purpose at hand.
    I am grateful for all they’ve done and the model they have set for us all.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:33 am

  7. Sheri

    I am nominating Misti’s Mission for Wal-Mart’s Holiday Giving grant and would like permission to use one of these images. To whom would I ask? Thanks and have a great today…

    November 30, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    • Sheri, if you could contact me via email and tell me a little more about the Wal-Mart Holiday Giving grant and what the photo would be used for, that would be great. Thank you!

      a.joy.parrish@gmail.com

      November 30, 2011 at 5:20 pm

      • Sheri

        I did email you and, in the meantime, found a photo I could use. It’s a good thing since the submission period ends in a little more than 10 hours. Whew, I am glad I saw that deadline in time! Thanks, for your assistance and have a great today…

        November 30, 2011 at 7:34 pm

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