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Finding hope in the midst of tragedy

GREENSBURG, KAN. — Churches aid tornado victims
The church building is the first thing motorists see as they enter Mullinville. A banner bearing “Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Inc.” covered the church sign on a recent Thursday morning. Inside, the church’s multipurpose room was stacked high with boxes of necessities provided by the Nashville, Tenn.-based ministry.
Workers with Louisiana-based White’s Ferry Road Relief Ministries set up a new computer in the church office. Volunteers from the East Point church in Wichita, Kan., organized the donated food and cleaning supplies.
The church met for Sunday worship two days after the storm. Scott quoted Bible passages about God’s love and protection. During the service, the phone kept ringing. Member Sandy Mosshart jumped up to answer — an act that made her the church’s relief coordinator.
Churches of Christ from as far away as Juneau, Alaska, called, offering manpower and funds, Mosshart said. By press time, the church had collected $135,000 to help members and other victims, volunteer coordinator Richard Brensing said.
People who had never heard of Churches of Christ called, too. One woman from Missouri found the church’s number and offered to donate a van to an elderly woman she had seen on TV who lost everything. Mosshart tracked down the woman at an assisted-living facility and set up the donation.
“We don’t even know how many lives we’re going to touch with this ministry,” Scott said. “It’s not that we wanted to have the storm to have this opportunity. But … it happened.”
Greg McMurry and his 16-year-old son, Niccolo, were 160 miles from their home in Greensburg when the storm hit — with a group of 30 high school students at a forensics meet in Salina, Kan.
Watching storm reports on TV, the teenagers made desperate cell phone calls to their families, but got no answer.
“I prayed with the kids in the hall several times,” Greg McMurry said. “Some of them would come by, just scared to death, (asking) ‘What do we do?’ And I said, ‘Well, we just lean on God. It’s the only thing we can do.’”
His wife, Cindy, and 14-year-old daughter, Laina, crouched in a neighbor’s basement as the storm tore apart their home.
“It seemed like it lasted forever,” Cindy McMurry said. “I really thought that was it for us. I really thought I would probably not see my husband and son again.”
Cindy McMurry was thankful the storm only claimed the house where they had lived for six years. Before moving to Greensburg, they lived in Mullinville, next door to Scott and his family. The minister introduced them to the Church of Christ — and baptized them.
“We just fell in love with the church — the truth seekers that are there,” Greg McMurry said. “It’s a unique family.”
Members from at least a dozen communities attend the church — some driving more than 50 miles. Instead of a Sunday evening service, the church eats lunch together every week and has a brief afternoon devotional.
That’s helped to make the church a tight-knit family, despite the distance, Greg McMurry said. In the aftermath of the storm, the church has taken care of its members, he added.
“Anything we need, they get it before we ask,” he said.
Cindy McMurry agreed. She said she urged other members who lost their homes to break away from the disaster scene and stop by the church — to see firsthand what Christians across the nation were doing for them.
“I’m not worried about anything at all,” she added. “I know God is going to provide through his people. We’ll make it.”
DONATIONS TO REBUILD HOMES in Greensburg may be sent to: Mullinville Church of Christ, P.O. Box 184, Mullinville, KS 67109-0184. Please note “Tornado Relief” on checks. The church’s e-mail address is [email protected] and its Web site is mullinvillechurchofchrist.org.

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