Volunteers lend help in Oklahoma

Volunteers are at work in Moore, Okla., cleaning up debris and repairing homes after the tornadoes in late May. WELS Christian Aid and Relief and WELS Kingdom Workers are coordinating volunteers throughout the month of July.

The first volunteers arrived around June 20 and began work on the home of Anise Glass, a member of Holy Cross, Oklahoma City. Glass’s house was still standing after the May storms, but her roof and fence were badly damaged and needed replacing.

Glass says, “Before all this happened, I used to tell people I hate my house . . . Now when I look at my house, it’s a whole different thing. I see the Christian love all over that house and the overwhelming outpouring of that love from all my Christian brothers and sisters. It’s very moving and a very overwhelming thing.”

She continues, “There’s no way for me to put into words the gratitude I feel both to God for his mercy and his blessings and then the blessings and gifts from all of our Christian brothers and sisters.”

Much progress was made on Glass’s house, but there are many other families in the area with damaged homes and yards.

Laura Schwartz, a nurse practitioner and volunteer from Milwaukee, Wis., spent nine days in Oklahoma to be available with her nursing skills if anyone got hurt. Thankfully, only her construction skills were needed while she was there.

Schwartz says, “Knowing that I have the ability to help others, that I have the nursing skills and also the physical capabilities to help with these projects, I feel like it’s my way of giving back to the Lord.”

Schwartz, who also volunteered after Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti, encourages others to consider volunteer service as well. “They say with projects like this, the people who come to volunteer always take away so much more than the people who are helped,” she says. “I think that’s really a true statement, because you learn so much about yourself and about others, and you feel like you’ve helped them. It’s just a wonderful feeling.”

Volunteer opportunities are still available by signing up online. To support WELS Christian Aid and Relief and help with needs in Oklahoma, you can give a gift online or send checks to WELS, Re: Christian Aid and Relief tornado disaster relief fund, N16W23377 Stone Ridge Dr, Waukesha, WI 53188.