Heavy Heart for Joplin

Joplin holds a special place in the hearts of our family. Less than a year ago, our entire clan descended upon it for Kelli and Jake’s wedding weekend. In fact, my sister Debbie took the photo above at that time. Little did we know that a massive tornado would devastate a third of the city within the year. The horror and heartache that has taken place there this week truly goes beyond words.

We have ties to this special town. Kelli went to college in Joplin and worked and lived there for several years. (Of course, this means we hung out there a lot as well.) She met Jake in Joplin, as well as some of her best girlfriends. Joplin is where Jake proposed. Joplin is where they got married. They both have friends and memories there. They love this town.

My sisters and I grew up less than thirty minutes from Joplin. It was the place to go for shopping and special dates. Don and I even spent our one-night honeymoon there when we got married as poor college students. We’ve lived within 75 miles of it ever since. It’s a piece of our personal history.

Having lived in the region so long, we can’t help but know folks who live there or who have loved ones living there. Our hearts — and the hearts of many — are heavy for Joplin. We hurt for the people who have lost their homes and possessions, their churches, their businesses, their schools. And even more tragic than all of that, we hurt for those who have lost their loved ones.

Our hearts and our prayers are with you, Joplin. May God grant you help, healing, and hope.

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

*Do you have a special memory of Joplin you’d like to share in the comments? Or perhaps a prayer for the people there? Let’s show our support any way we can…


  1. i haven’t had the news on at all this week, so i just heard about the tornadoes today. how absolutely terrifying. i’m praying that all your daughter’s friends are safe and healthy after what must be an extremely traumatizing experience.

  2. Sarah, Kelli & Jake’s friends who still live in Joplin are all safe, but some have lost homes or loved ones. If this had happened last year at this time, Kelli & Jake would have been living through it themselves. Can’t tell you how thankful I am that they weren’t there when this happened…

  3. Anonymous says

    Hi Cheryl, We have been thinking of you and Don lots this past week and have hoped Coffeyville was not threatened by the damaging tornadoe.
    Frank and I spent the first night of our honeymoon in Joplin also. That was close to 64 years ago!! We are watching the news regularly and feel much sorrow for those harmed by the storm.
    Dorothy Clutter, Don’s second cousin, had her farm home near Girard, KS destroyed a few years ago by such a tornadoe. We have to count our blessing for sure. Aunt Norma

  4. Norma, we were under a tornado watch the evening of the Joplin tornado but nothing worse. Had a warning in our area last night, though. Am ready for the storms to be over!

    I never knew that you and Frank spent the first night of your honeymoon in Joplin, too. What a coincidence! Thanks for sharing!

  5. This tornado has left me heart sick. There just aren’t words for this sort of disaster. I have family in Missouri so Joplin at least feels familiar to me, if that makes sense.

  6. Kay, it makes total sense that you feel a tie to Joplin since you have family in Missouri. I think we automatically feel a kinship to the areas where our kin live. I think all of our loving support and shared grief means a lot to the people living through it…

  7. watching the footage….devastating. My prayers are with all of the families.

  8. Our prayers have been with those in Joplin, and everywhere struck by the tornadoes. Unbelievable. Glad your family is safe.

  9. Emily and Kirsten, thanks so much for all your prayers for the people in Joplin and all those affected by the tornadoes this week. I’m sure it’s the prayers of many that is helping carry many through this agonizing time…

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