Second round of tornadoes adds to monumental disaster in Oklahoma

On Friday, May 31, just 11 days after the historic EF-5 tornado destroyed thousands of homes in Moore, Okla., another round of tornados hit the Oklahoma City area. The tornados and flooding that night cost another 19 lives. Seven inches of rain dropping in five hours also caused flash flooding and misery in the already devastated area surrounding Moore.

Steve Adams (disaster response coordinator), the “Poured Out” crew and Wesleyan teams on the scene have identified dozens of home sites that they are helping out with, clearing the sites, and moving debris to the curb for removal.

Pastor Nathan Hedge is staging area manager at May Ave. Wesleyan Church. Here are some of his firsthand observations after only a short time:

  • Steve Adams, who also helped clean up after the Joplin EF-5 tornado in 2011, has said that the damage in Moore is far more extensive than in Joplin (not to diminish what the people there endured).
  • The flooding on Friday night came into our church from two directions, right under our doors, and through the roof. My wife, Melissa, supervised the water cleanup and did a great job while I had to be other places. Our flat roof was well made, but this volume of water was so great that it created big problems. We have roofers looking at it to repair it, but we’ll have to locate scarce resources that we would rather use to help people. Any roofers out there?
  • We were running out of space. Now we are partnering with Trinity Lutheran Church, located just south of us. We are helping members of their congregation whose homes were damaged or destroyed. They are helping us with overflow bedding arrangements and they are cooking two days per week to give our team a break. This is a great partnership with Pastor Roger, a friend.
  • The Poured Out team has been hard at work and is eagerly making a significant contribution in the face of the monumental disaster. The teams coming in are spirited and dedicated to help however they can. I truly believe this will begin a period of sustained impact for our church.
  • Rev. Sandra and Tom Turner were here from Madeira Beach, Fla. (Sandra is a Wesleyan minister). In addition to helping out incredibly with supplies and logistics, they brought their trained “therapy dog,” Pepper. It is amazing to see the effect a dog like Pepper has with tired, discouraged, and wounded people!
  • HERE ARE SOME NEEDS! There are ways churches of every size that can help. Finances are a constant and significant need. Steve Adams has put Poured Out on a waiting list to rent an excavator which will be used daily once it comes through. Please support the Wesleyan Emergency Relief Fund; if they exhaust their funds, we’re in bigger trouble. Here is a list of other items needed: bar & chain oil for chain saw, paper plates, plastic bowls, napkins, cups, plastic ware, Clorox bleach, Clorox wipes, paper towels, steel rakes chain saws, gas cards (7-11, Shell, Circle K), Contractor Trash bags, tarps (all sizes), heavy duty work gloves, sun block, cleaning supplies, assorted juice and soda, dish towels, and a laptop. I know these next two items are specialty items, but we are now cooking for an industrial size crew on a regular basis. A commercial-sized stove and refrigerator would be most helpful.
  • CONSIDER JOINING US! One person can make a difference! To come yourself, or with some friends, please send an e-mail to to do so. If you aren't able to come, please send finances and supplies. And no matter what, pray for our ministry to hurting hearts with the love of Christ. Maybe you aren't able to come, but you can sponsor another person to come. The cost is $25 per person per day (covers food and utility costs for the church). But don't let financial limitations stop you! The Wesleyan Church will pay your daily expense if things are tight, but you still want to help. We're going full-tilt and just need workers, finances, and supplies. We're off to a great start–now let's see this project through to the end! I look forward to hearing from you and meeting you soon.
  • Steve Adams and the crews have been demolishing homes and pulling debris to the curbs and helping sort belongings that are worth saving. One homeowner I met said they found both their cars destroyed nearby at the elementary school. They are giving glory to God for his provision through it all.
  • The team from Fremont (North Michigan) drove all night so they could get here in time to start working in the morning on their first day. Teams like this help keep us motivated and encouraged. Their smiles, presence, and prayers minister just as much as the work they do for people who have lost everything.
  • Groups from Kansas, North Carolina, and other areas have dropped off truckloads of supplies, tools, etc. We are grateful.
  • We are forming relationships with people who are in desperate need of help. My heart is overwhelmed with the magnitude of the need and the depth of the damage, not only to homes, but to people's hearts.
  • As Wesleyan teams arrive, there is obviously no shortage of work. Most of the people from May Ave. church feel like their greatest contribution is serving the teams that come to work: cooking the food, doing lots of laundry daily, locating supplies, and trying to keep our staging area/church repaired, cleaned up, and livable. Some of my church leaders have spent countless hours here.
  • People who see all of the “Poured Out” trucks and equipment are stopping by to see if they can do anything to help. A couple from the neighborhood that I married about a year and a half ago saw the trailers at the church and stopped by to volunteer.
  • I’m so grateful for the Wesleyan partnership, the Poured Out crew, the work teams, financial gifts, and supplies. We are going to have a HUGE impact for the kingdom of God here. Our hearts are blessed and the Lord is working, but the devastation is so monumental. We need more teams, more finances, more of everything!

Click here for information on how you can contact Rev. Nathan Hedge. For another update, including a report from volunteers from a Kansas church, click here.

One of many homes destroyed in Moore, Oklahoma
One of many homes destroyed in Moore, Oklahoma
Hopeton Wesleyan Church (Hopeton, OK) volunteers
Hopeton Wesleyan Church (Hopeton, OK) volunteers