Joplin’s ‘kindred spirits’ lend a hand

Four flooded homeowners in Minot got some help from kindred spirits out of Joplin, Mo., when a team from Immanuel Lutheran Church made the two-day trip to volunteer through Hope Village.

Joplin was devastated on May 22, 2011, when a tornado flattened the city and killed more than 150 people.

About six months into the recovery there, Immanuel Lutheran and other churches started banding together to coordinate a large portion of the rebuilding efforts.

Like Hope Village in Minot, Transform Joplin has been about coordinating volunteers to rebuild after a disaster. Out-of-town teams stayed at local churches and Transform Joplin coordinated jobs and provided tools.

“We’ve had our hands on about 50 Habitat for Humanity homes, and another hundred ‘fix this, fix that’-type things,” said the Rev. Jason Glasky of Immanuel Lutheran.

In Missouri, Transform Joplin got wind of what was happening toward Minot’s recovery, and the progress of Hope Village. Glasky said he heard that there were a lot of obstacles facing the churches in Minot seeking working together toward the rebuild.

“I remember the frustration,” Glasky said. “But they said there was this one pastor who was trying to get it done. I’m so glad he had the vision of trying to move in the right direction.”

That was Pastor Paul Krueger of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Minot, who spearheaded the organization of Hope Village and whose church hosts the unified volunteer center on its grounds.

Closing in on two years in disaster recovery following the tornado, Team Joplin realized it was winding down with the rebuild.

“We fixed houses, then we built houses. Then it was, ‘What do we do now?'” Glasky said. “To me, we send mission teams out.”

So he pulled together a nine-person group from Immanuel Lutheran and came to Minot, where his team worked on four homes. Their last evening in Minot, the members of Transform Joplin sat on buckets on the front porch of one of the homes they’d worked on and dined with one of the grateful homeowners.

It’s a scene they hope to relive, as the plan is to return to Minot again.

“We’re going to start trumpeting Minot,” Glasky said. “When volunteers want to come here and we don’t need them, we’re going to tell them there are people in tougher circumstances and they need to get to Minot.”

Transform Joplin left Hope Village with an $800 gift card to Menards, which will be used to assist in the rebuild.