Family left homeless after Joplin tornado surprised with new home

17 Mar

It’s great to see a piece of Edwardsville in the story of the Joplin recovery. I hope that the home they build here is part of a bright future rather than a dark memory in the past. Welcome to Edwardsville, Cooks!

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EDWARDSVILLE, IL (KTVI)-A family known for putting others before themselves was displaced by the Joplin tornado almost three years ago. The lives of Johnny and Kelly Cook and their four children changed forever when the storm destroyed their home and belongings on May 22, 2011.

After the tornado hit, Johnny spent endless hours transporting victims to the hospital. The community referred to him as one of their heroes.

Jenny Hays and her partner, Deborah Hays, started Illinois Angels Disaster Relief, an Edwardsville-based non-profit organization that collects donations and hauls supplies to victims of natural disasters. They started after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The group also helps rescue animals.

When the tornado struck Joplin, Jenny and Deborah went to help. It was just by chance that Deborah spoke with one of the Cook’s daughters at a concession stand at a benefit for tornado victims. The Cook family was volunteering…

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Sunny Lunch

30 Apr


It’s the little things.

Joey’s Trip to Honduras

4 Feb

My mom and brother have spent the last week in Honduras on a mission trip with our church, Trinity Lutheran Ministries in Edwardsville. My mom is a Honduras veteran, maybe her 10th year this year, but this was Joey’s first trip. He posted the below words on the Facebook page where they story their week, and I wanted to share them with you.

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Written by Joey Rathert:
I’ve never been out of the country until this week. I had some idea of what to expect because my mom and sister, Katie, had tried to prepare me. They used words and pictures, but no number of words and no number of pictures could prepare me for what I’ve seen. “It is a very poor country,” the…y told me. They were right. But the statement does not do the poverty justice. You have to see it with your eyes. “The people are very kind,” they assured me. But that statement does not do the graciousness justice. You have to feel it with your heart.
The combination of those two characteristics doesn’t quite mesh, especially for a middle-class American like me. At home we often gauge our happiness based on material things that can be bought with money or achieved through our ambition. This way of thinking will always leave us disappointed. However, there is one characteristic the Hondurans and I share – we are sinners. It was great to see how  many of the people here have already received the gift of salvation through their faith in Jesus.
However, many times while speaking to the people at the brigades about their faith (or lack thereof), they express feelings of despair, as if they were sure that their sins were just too great for God to seriously be interested in any kind of personal relationship with them. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we have been able to share the very Good News through his Word. Now we have one more thing in common with some of these people we have seen this week — the assurance of eternity with our heavenly Father through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God!

Amazing Cardinals Tribute Video

23 Jan

If you ever played ball with your dad in the yard. If your grandpa ever turned you around at the plate and forced you to hit with your non-dominant hand. If you’ve ever dreamed a dream that is so beyond your wildest grasp of reality. If you’ve ever been the unexpected, accidental hero and felt so wildly blessed because of it…

“What would you have said if someone would have told you you were going to be the World Series MVP?”
“No chance.”

Phillipians 4:13

Go Cougars!

21 Jan


Look! We’re tied on ESPN!

Yay for my alma mater 🙂

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