Joplin Tornado Damages Church,
But Members Are Safe

Adventists give aid in wake of twister that killed at least 117

BY MARTIN WEBER Mid-America Union Conference communication director

The tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri in the late afternoon of May 22 passed very close to an Adventist church facility, Pastor Dwight Seek reported. The facility’s roof was damaged, but the structure itself is sound. All members who live within the disaster zone are safe and accounted for. One church family’s home was destroyed.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, speaking on morning television news shows May 24, 2011, indicated that at least 117 people have been confirmed dead in the area, making this America’s deadliest tornado since 1953.

Gaylord Hanson, leader of Adventist Community Services—Disaster Response (ACS-DR) for the Mid-America Union Conference , is working with federal and local agencies to assess and implement relief activities.

SEARCHING FOR SURVIVORS: A message scrawled on the front of a wrecked house in Joplin, Missouri, indicates the residents escaped alive after the May 22 tornado. [PHOTO: Tom Uhlenbrock, Missouri Department of Natural Resources]
Pastor Dan Jackson, president of the North American Division, is expected to go to Joplin later this week to visit church members and pray with them.

Thomas Lemon, Mid-America Union Conference president, said: “Our hearts go out to our church family, and indeed the whole community in Joplin, as they must confront the tragedy that occurred this past weekend. The fragility and often the helplessness of humanity are most clearly felt in the aftermath of disasters of this kind. It is at such times that the church community must become again the hands and feet of Jesus to carry His healing touch to people whose lives have been so devastated. The prayers and encouragement of the Mid-America Union family join together on their behalf.”

The damaged church structure in Joplin is part of the Iowa-Missouri Conference. Leaders there are grateful for expressions of prayer and offers of help. Only financial donations are welcome at this time, and a list of potential volunteers is being compiled. For information on donating cash or time, e-mail

The Central States Conference, which serves the entire Mid-America Union region, reports no members or church facilities in Joplin, according to their headquarters.

Updated information on the Joplin disaster and Adventist response efforts are expected to be posted on

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