A Mission of the Heart
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.”
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.
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.