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Harold Camping, the California preacher who predicted the world would end on Saturday now says he was off by five months. The end will actually come on Oct. 21.
Unfortunately for many folks in Joplin, he was only off by one day.
Sunday’s devastating tornado that ripped through the city killed more than 100 by the current count, hurt hundreds, and left one-third of the city in ruins.
As for Camping’s predictions, I didn’t really take it seriously, but I also didn’t plan a big party to celebrate the end of time. The Bible tells us that no one knows the day or the hour; it also tells us to not believe those who make such predictions.
However, we are also told to be ready at all times because we don’t know when the “Son of man” will come. (Luke 12:40).
If Camping, with his predictions of the end of time, can cause folks to wake up and consider their ways, more power to him.
* * *
In regard to the Joplin tornado. Those folks need and deserve our help. But at the same time, this is not a situation one can run head-long into without thought and planning.
People want to go help, but there must be organization. If you want to go, contact the Red Cross, Convoy of Hope, or some other organized group and let them guide you. Listen to the instructions given on the radio and television and do what they say…please.
A group from Highway Church of the Nazarene was traveling to Joplin Wednesday to deliver Crisis Care Kits — small packages made up of specific personal hygiene items. Today (Thursday) a group of workers will go from the same church and will meet up with the Carthage Church of the Nazarene to perform specific work coordinated through an organization recognized as Nazarene Compassionate Ministries.
Here at the newspaper we are receiving announcements several times a day from various organizations giving specific instructions on how to help – and how not to help. For example, a note from City Clerk Marilyn Alms said the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has contacted Missouri Municipal League, asking that member cities NOT be contacted requesting assistance. Instead, SEMA will coordinate the recovery and relief efforts and will call cities asking for rersources as they are needed.
They also stressed that right now is a recovery stage, which can be hampered by well-meaning but unrequested assistance.
You have seen on TV newscasts how fire departments and ambulance services from neighboring towns responded almost immediately to the tragedy on Sunday evening. Emergency personnel from Ava were among those responding. This is not contradictory to the statement made above.
Those medical personnel and fire departments work together and train together. They already have a plan in place and are able to implement that plan without a lot of undue confusion.
If you want to help in the Joplin area, there will be plenty of time to do so in the coming weeks and months. Although some of the recovery effort will move rather quickly, other tasks in the rebuilding process will take time.
Be patient. Listen for suggestions of how you can help, and when something is mentioned that fits your capabilities, step forward.