NAD President Prays With Joplin Tornado Victims
Pastor Dan Jackson makes special detour to show solidarity

BY MARTIN WEBER, Mid-America Union, reporting from Joplin, Missouri

“I am here to pray with you,” Dan Jackson told Joplin Adventists and tornado disaster responders at an informal evening meeting May 25, which was held at the mostly undamaged church facility. The North American Division (NAD) president conferred with Mid-America Union vice president for administration Maurice R. Valentine II and Iowa-
Missouri Conference president Dean Coridan about addressing the spiritual needs of Adventist members and their neighbors who suffered the devastation of houses, jobs, and lives. Although no Adventist died in the most deadly single tornado of America’s officially recorded history, there was loss of life in the nearby neighborhood.

PRAYING PASTORS: Mid-America Union vice president for administration Maurice R. Valentine II, North American Division president Dan Jackson, and Iowa-Missouri Conference president Dean Coridan, on the scene in Joplin, Missouri, on May 25, 2011, four days after a tornado that killed scores of people. [PHOTO: MAU]
Coridan conferred with local Adventist pastor Dwight Seek about the possibility of opening their church facility to neighborhood congregations whose buildings were destroyed, so that fellow Christians in Joplin could continue their own worship service. Seek is meeting every morning for prayer with other community pastors.

Also present at the Wednesday evening meeting were Gaylord Hanson, leader of Mid-America Union Adventist Community Services-Disaster Response (ACS-DR), and his NAD supervisor Sung Kwon, along with other ACS-DR leaders from as far away as New York, California, and Washington State.

Local conference ACS-DR leaders Roy Weeden and Jody Dickhaut could not be present at the Joplin church meeting because they were working with government officials setting up a multiagency warehouse to be run by Adventists.

Attending the church prayer meeting were Richard and Shirley Bernings, local members who suffered the total devastation of their house (as family members took refuge in a bathtub). They provided the evening’s only moment of humor after Seek invited anyone who didn’t have a place to stay that night to come to his house. “We don’t have much to offer, but our home is open to you,” the pastor said. Richard immediately quipped, “Our house is open to you too!”

The extraordinary meeting ended with out-of-town visitors hurrying away before the 9:00 p.m. curfew established by police to quell looting. Jackson had to drive five hours to St. Louis with NAD communication director George Johnson so they could make it to a Thursday telecast taping at 3ABN studios in 
Illinois.





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