On May 20, a massive tornado tore through Oklahoma City, leaving a path of devastation. Saddleback Church has mobilized our PEACE Relief teams to go to the aid of the people of Oklahoma City. Our church has been assisting in disaster relief for more than three decades. We work with the local church to assist people impacted by disaster through compassionate care and the love of Jesus that comforts and gives hope.
Check back with us to read updates from our team as they asses the damage, meet with church leaders to discover the best ways to offer aid, and care for those affected by this tragedy.
Click HERE to view a photo gallery of PEACE Relief in Oklahoma.
SATURDAY, JUNE 8 10:49 AM
"Today we got our work order from the Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief Team. We were told that we were going into a very fragile situation where a woman who had gone to pick up her two children from the Plaza Towers Elementary School just before the tornado. All three were in the school when the tornado hit and had suffered terrible emotional trauma from the event. Her house had been damaged and because of her emotional state, could not come up with enough energy to clean up her house. We met the woman's stepmother, Laholma, at the house. As we entered the home, we prayed with her and spent the day removing furniture, clothing, and other items that could no longer be used. Throughout the day she shared her story with us and you could literally see the healing that took place. We took her to lunch and spent time loving on her and her husband. At the end of the day, she told us that she was so grateful for our help. She felt like it was a blessing to her, but really the blessing was ours. It was a privilege and honor to be able to help her get through this very emotional time in her life. She touched our hearts deeply and we intend to keep in touch with her to find out how she, her stepdaughter and stepchildren are all holding up as time passes."
TUESDAY, MAY 28 12:15 PM
"We received the following note from a friend in Oklahoma: 'My name is Reverend Jonathan Yandall. I am a youth minister in Ardmore, OK. My family and I survived the tornadoes, but it deeply affected our state. Every week, I watch your sermons on Saddleback.com. I logged on this morning and was so happy to see on your homepage a link to help with the OKC tornado. I am very, very thankful that your church is concerned with what is happening all around the world! It's a testament to your love that you would care about us "Okies"! Thank you so much. God bless!'"
FRIDAY, MAY 26 2:45 PM
"Today, our team toured the hardest hit areas of Moore, with Fire Chief and first responder to Plaza Tower Elementary, Mark Murdock of the Moore Fire Department, and Fireman Lance Breeden of the Edmond Fire Department. 'Choosing to leave the station was a tough decision but we did it because we knew that people would need immediate assistance after the storm hit and I wasn’t sure our station was going to make it,' said Murdock.
Even though Murdock’s fire station did not take a direct hit, it still received some minor damage. Murdock and another fireman arrived first on the scene at Plaza Tower Elementary and immediately began sifting through the piles of destruction for survivors. He quickly reminded other fire teams who arrived on the scene to be prepared for what they were about to see...afterall, they were at an elementary school. 'It’s frustrating how thick the rubble and debris was and knowing that people are trapped in storm shelters and we can’t even get to them,' said Breeden. Murdock’s team recovered about 100 people from storm shelters in the Plaza Tower neighborhood and yet, it didn’t feel like enough.
'I struggled on deciding whether or not to stop searching but by midnight, my team just had to stop and hand it off to another team,' said Murdock. When relief teams asked Murdock which streets to search he responded, 'There are no more streets, just search!' Murdock was absolutely correct. The entire surround neighborhood to Plaza Tower Elementary was completely destroyed. Entire home structures were completely demolished and replaced by hacked pieces of wood, wall insulation, mud, upturned vehicles, fallen trees, and unrepairable personal belongings.
'Right now everyone is just thankful to be alive and are not asking for much assistance but in a few days, reality will set in and they will realize that they have basic needs and will want all the help they can get,' said Murdock.
From the elementary school and the the local bowling alley to the Moore Medical Center, the town of Moore will need significant aid in upcoming weeks. If you would like to help, we’d like to encourage you to PRAY. GIVE. GO. Check out saddleback.com/okcrelief to get involved."
THURSDAY, MAY 25 7:38 AM
"Today we met with Pastor Chris Beall of LifeChurch.tv to begin the conversation about how Saddleback can partner with their releif efforts here in Oklahoma City. LifeChurch.tv's south campus is located about five miles north of the Moore community and serves as a transitional relief site. They coordinate volunteers from various LifeChurch.tv campuses and the local community.
BealL says the support they've received from other churches and organizations in the surrounding area, and from across the country, has been overwhelming. 'The remarkable thing is that these organizations don't want to give to anyone but the church,' says Beall. And that's exactly why Saddleback Church is in Oklahoma.
Approximately 2,800 families in the Moore area have been displaced from their homes and Beall's team of community volunteers were tasked with calling each of these families to learn about, and meet, their needs. The shock of what has happened is settling in, adrenaline is running out, and people are in desperate need of help. That's why our Saddleback team is here, to show the local church and community how much we care. We would love to send more teams of willing relief volunteers to Oklahoma City to work alongside our friends at LifeChurch.tv and bring relief to the volunteers who are working so hard to bring restoration and peace to a community that has survived the costliest storm in history. How can you help? Pray. Give. Go. Click HERE to get involved."
WEDNESDAY, MAY 24 11:44 PM
"Our Oklahoma City Relief Team has left Los Angeles and has landed safely in Oklahoma. Tomorrow, the team will meet with pastors of local churches to assess how Saddleback can help. Saddleback will go anywhere to show love for a neighbor. Will you?"
Click HERE to learn how you get involved in the Oklahoma City relief efforts through Saddleback Church.