Now that we are home and rested after a great time in Kentucky, we will share some stories over our time there over the next few days!
We left bright and early Monday morning from Wichita. It was great gathering with old friends and meeting new ones that joined us on this trip. Nothing like 9 hours in a vehicle to get to know each other better! We took the southern route near Springfield, just in time for Lunch. Where does one eat Lunch in Springfield? Lamberts Cafe: Home of Throwed Rolls. "Do they really throw rolls at you?" Yes, they do, and it's GREAT!
A good, home cooked meal provided us with just what we needed to continue the drive into Kentucky. Our path would take us right by Mayfield, which we hoped would have some quick options for dinner. We rolled into Mayfield after dark, so we weren't able to see any damage, and the map took us the bypass route as the downtown route was closed (as the tornado went right through downtown). We found a Taco Bell that was open, and made our stop. While waiting on our food, we met a family that shared many stories of the damage and aftermath of the tornado. Though it had been a few weeks by this point since the tornado, it was clear that it will take years to rebuild. If not directly impacted by the tornado, it is likely that every community member had someone close to them that was impacted.
We heard stories of many tragedies, but also many God sightings in the midst of such a terrible time. Several organizations had set up services to the community over the past couple weeks, helping with clean up and helping to meet the basic needs of the community, serving meals, doing laundry, donating supplies, and more. One especially impactful story that was shared was how around Christmas time, the Salvation Army showed up with semi trucks full of Christmas gifts for the children. It's difficult to fathom losing everything, and then trying to get your bearings in the midst of the holidays as well.
After dinner, we loaded back up and drove the 20 final minutes to the Eight Days of Hope's temporary "home base," Hardin Baptist Church. We were surprised to enter in to an exciting and active gathering space, as people were winding down their evenings after a long day of serving. We got checked in, and then unloaded and settled in our rooms (Sunday School rooms). We ended the evening with a few rounds of games before calling it a night to get some good rest before a long days work the next day.
We are grateful for the 9 friends that embarked on the trip to Kentucky. Thank you for making the sacrifice of Winter breaks, work schedules, family time, and other obligations to serve and love on those impacted!