Finding A Need to Fill

Your neighborhoods have been affected by natural disasters and some have yet to receive help- and we know that. To reach out to these homes, Serve Moore is sending out scouting teams to various areas of the OKC metro, literally going door-to-door asking people how we can help.

 Intern Claire briefing a scouting team before heading out

Intern Claire briefing a scouting team before heading out

Volunteers’ mission this week is to go out and reach people who need help, but haven’t for various reasons. Maybe they don’t know who to ask, how to ask, or what to ask for. Scouting teams are there to explain Serve Moore’s mission, services, and let homeowners know that there is no need too insignificant.

Serve Moore’s mission is to mobilize people to love and serve Central Oklahoma. Our dream is that through the tragedy of natural disasters and the extraordinary good we’ve seen since, renewal would be sparked in our community; Renewal which spreads to every part and to every person, bringing both healing and growth. We want the Gospel and its unmatched renewing power poured out here in Moore and the surrounding areas. Many needs remain unmet — some storm related and some not. 

If you have a neighbor, family member, friend, or other loved one who you feel needs help, and they’re unsure of where to go or who to turn to, please let them know about  Serve Moore. You can visit servemoore.com/help to fill out a short form to inform us about your need, or come visit the Moore Community Renewal Center at 224 S Chestnut Ave in Moore or call us at (405) 735-3060 to learn more about us and speak with somebody about how we can help! 

Our Wet Work Week With #Bill

Even with Oklahoma’s unpredictable weather and out-of-season rain, Serve Moore volunteers have kept busy! All of our amazing volunteers clocked over 700 volunteer hours, and in turn, saved residents over $15,800.

Throughout the week, volunteers replaced a roof in South OKC that was damaged by wind in the May 2015 storms. Even with more rain coming down, our volunteers were able to complete the entire project in only four days! They also completed work on fences throughout the city- installing posts, panels, and gates. When the rain was too heavy to work outside, our volunteers still aided at Serve Moore HQ building shelving in a storage room and prepping a new office space, as well as building shelving in a storage room and repairing drywall at Moore Community Church.

Our largest project this week involved another home that was damaged by wind and water in the May storms. Volunteers tarped the roof to prevent further leaking, since the entire home had been flooded and covered in black mold. A team helped the homeowner move any salvageable furniture to a nearby storage unit, then tore out sheetrock, carpet, insulation, and other materials that could possibly retain mold. With 115 hours of work completed, Serve Moore volunteers saved the homeowner $6,500 through damage control and mold remediation.

Even when it seems our work is done, Oklahoma weather throws us a curveball! Earlier this year, we completed a shed build that to replace what had been completely destroyed by the May 2013 tornado. Just a few weeks after completing this shed, the March 25th tornado took out the shed again! The team was able to salvage some materials, but essentially built another shed from scratch.

Even though Serve Moore volunteers give their valuable time and energy to projects like this, some find other ways to help homes in need. Serve Moore would like to give a special thanks to partners like Emmaus Baptist Church and Experience Mission for funding construction materials, the homeowners who asked for help and helped with materials but found savings in free labor, and as always, the wonderful people, organizations, and churches whose donations keep Serve Moore going!

How Volunteers Spent Their Hours

If you are interested in helping in any way you can, whether that be with time or funds for supplies, or if you are searching for help after this week's weather, contact us!

December & Beyond

Winter is setting in here in Moore. This first week of December alone threatens frigid temperatures, ice, and snow. Pray for our volunteer teams as they either travel or make the call to stay home this week. Current Work Outlook

Our work for December is shaping up to remain in the roofing/interior rehab area. We are putting new roofs on a few houses this month using both volunteers and our partner churches. The interior rehab we're involved in is mostly removing and replacing water-damaged drywall but in some cases also includes flooring. The next steps for these homes will be mud, tape, texture, and paint.

There are a few outdoor jobs that will need attention soon but finding a day with good weather AND with available volunteers is proving difficult. All that's to say, if you're a local volunteer reading this post, we sure could use your help!

One last note, we have a new brick-laying need on the horizon as well. If you are a mason or know of one interested in leading a team to lay brick, we need your/their help!

Holiday Plans & 2014

Serve Moore will be breaking for the Christmas holiday on December 14th. Headquarters will be closed from 5p that day until 9a January 2nd. Our small staff will spend this time resting and recharging for a full 7 months of work coming out of the holidays. We would so appreciate you praying for them.

2014 is shaping up for us to be a time of great community renewal. Right now, we're working hard to organize lots of renewal projects for the Spring and Summer of 2014. We're looking for lots of volunteers who have big, flexible hearts for Moore. These volunteers will be doing anything and everything from building new playgrounds to painting house numbers on curbs. All of these projects will carry the same vision of showing Christ's love and power to our city. We would love for you to be a part of it all.

As always, you can get the volunteer process started by heading to servemoore.com/serve or you can give to the effort by heading to servemoore.com/give

6 Months Later

Today marks six months since an EF-5 tornado ripped through our community on May 20th. An incredible amount of work has been accomplished in that time. For some perspective, take in these stats: 3,300 people showed up that day to clean the Moore Cemetery, taking #ServeMoore from a hashtag to movement. In 1 week we saw people from all 50 states. By Week 2 we saw people from all 6 inhabited continents. Since then, the 2,500 needs of 1,800 residents have been met by nearly 40,000 volunteers having logged more than 200,000 hours of service. Whew!

Look at how much favor God has poured out on our community. Moore residents constantly tell us they are blown away by the amount of love and help that's been given. So thank you. Thank you for coming and volunteering. Thank you for sending cash, gift cards, and supplies. Thank you for praying for and encouraging us with notes and emails. Every piece of this puzzle is invaluable and we've seen everyone do their part.

Now we stand with 6 months behind us. What will the next 6 months bring?

Consider this our first of many "Work Outlook Updates." We want to inform you of what work we're still doing and what we expect we'll be doing down the road. Right now, Serve Moore Teams are busy with lots of interior rehab. That's to say we're tearing out interior walls, ceilings, and floors. Then, we'll go back with new framing, drywall, insulation, and flooring. This many times also means that we need to repair or replace a roof. 

In addition to all of that, we're also doing a variety of lesser-skilled work such as: painting (both interior and exterior of homes and at public parks), yard work (such as removing dead bushes and repairing yard ruts), moving (residents moving out to begin work and some back in now that work is done!), small repairs (we're looking at you handymen and women)!

The point is that a lot of work still remains. If you have great skill, we need you. If you have lesser skill (but a big heart) we need you too! Even if you can't make the trip to volunteer, you can GIVE so that others have material to work with!

Please consider volunteering. You can start the process at servemoore.com/serve. Please consider giving. Every dollar given is invested in our community's renewal. Give right now at servemoore.com/give.

Thanks again. We look forward to another 6 months as we #ServeMoore together.

Here We Go Again

Romans 8:28 reads, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” This promise, made by God to his people through the Apostle Paul, has been vividly displayed during the months since an EF-5 tornado destroyed 1,100 homes, leveled two elementary schools, and killed 24 people on May 20 in our town of Moore, Oklahoma. It defies logic that something so destructive could generate anything approaching the description of “good” but time-and-again we’ve seen just that — good coming from tragedy.

Where We've Been

In the hours after the tornado there was a lot that was unknown. One thing we did know was that we wanted — needed — to do something instead of just talk about doing something. After all, these were our people who were hurting: friends, family, congregations. We met that next morning at the Community Center and saw needs all around us. We began cleaning lawns in that neighborhood. The idea was to start where we could and do what we could. We invited anyone and everyone to come join us. We’d figure the rest out along the way.

As folks shared pairs of gloves and wielded shovels and rakes that day, the City of Moore made a request; to assemble volunteers and begin cleanup at the cemetery ahead of graveside services for victims. The plan was simple: ask for 500 people to join in Wednesday morning and clean as much as we could. Our churches began asking people to “#ServeMoore” on social media. A meeting time and place were set. Wednesday morning came and brought with it more than 3,000 people — too many for our buses so they walked across the interstate overpass to the cemetery. It was clear then that God was pouring out favor on this community and that we stood at the start of something very big.

Since those first days of work, Serve Moore has welcomed nearly 40,000 volunteers to the community. Your church may have even been among that number. Those volunteers have clocked hundreds of thousands of hours served, met the needs of more than 2,000 homeowners and residents, and brought hope to an entire city. Everyone knew God would do something big. We just couldn’t have imagined how big. And now, mere months later, we again find ourselves at the start of something big. A phase of renewal in our community that will prayerfully last for decades.

Where We're Going

Our dream is that through the tragedy of these storms and the extraordinary good we’ve seen since, the Church would spark renewal in our community. Renewal which spreads to every part and every person; bringing both healing and growth. We want the Gospel and it’s unmatched renewing power poured out here in Moore and our surrounding areas. We’re looking for churches, local and not to join us in partnership. Local churches to serve families in their neighborhoods; churches from afar to pour in resources and people. Many needs remain unmet; some storm related and some not. Our vision is to match residents with churches in or near their neighborhood so that a long-term relationship can be built. Churches who serve their neighbors earn the right to share the Gospel and speak truth into the lives of the families who live around them!

Will you join us? Will you give of your people, your time, your cash, and your supplies to bring about renewal like our community has never seen it before?

We pray that you’ll consider partnering with us in this phase of renewal. For more information about partnering with Serve Moore please call us at (405) 735-3060 or email us at chris@servemoore.com.

Story of God moving in Moore

The following is an email that was sent to stories@servemoore.com email address. A story about Linda Dowling and Madison Park.

… a cool story of the Lord's grace and abundance out of work in Moore. The day started off with flash floods delaying efforts and causing a relatively low turnout of volunteers, about 80-100 from the reported 3000 the day before. It looked pretty grim. Our zone only had 2 people assigned including me, and the other guy had to leave early. We knocked on some doors, handed out some water and sandwiches and I took him back to his car. I circled back around to some of the more damaged areas to see if there was any need for help.

It started with the standard question to Linda Dowling and her husband Pete, “is there anything you need, cleanup, water, sandwiches, etc. Like many others in the area, she was in a sort of mental shock. There’s so much damage most people don’t even know where to begin to start. Her almost automatic response was they really needed nothing and felt fortunate. While she said this, I was taking note of a broken windows and glass storm door, debris piled in their front entry and over her entire yard, and planks of splintered 2x6’s driven through remaining mangled garage door panels into the wall. I suggested a couple of things we could do. She went on to ask for one small thing. She said, “You know Tony, I need to clean the glass out of two front rooms, (dark because they were boarded up) do you have a light or flash light of some sort?” I pulled the boards from the windows to reveal a bigger mess than expected inside. There was a huge amount of work to do. I made a call to Chris at the Serve Moore headquarters for more help. Before I even got off the phone men from Wisconsin came offering water. They joined in the cleanup. Soon after more volunteers arrived, and again as the team Chris sent arrived. As fast as the jobs could be pointed out people were pouring in asking, “What can I do?” Within an hour not only were the Dowling’s garage, entry, home and yard cleared, but their flower beds looked like they were freshly landscaped. Linda was overjoyed gratitude and hope.

Earlier, Linda told me her granddaughter called her after the storm to check on her. Once she knew grandma was safe, the next question was about the condition of her park across the street from grandma’s house. We had our next job!

The existing crew went to work along with more folks from Texas, Duncan and just others who plugged in thru Front Line’s post just looking for ways to help. At the playground, large sheets of metal, plastic parts and wood were wrapped into the equipment. Wood fence panels littered the area. We found the mulch base infused with glass, insulation and other debris. The crew worked hard to clear the entire area of the park and playground removing the top 3-4” of mulch. A call to Minick Materials explaining the situation and the need for new mulch was met with one question, “What’s the address?” The volunteers prepared the playground for the new mulch and moved on to two more houses to clean up. Everyone worked tirelessly until about 7:30 PM when someone asked for the time. The next day Minick dropped 30 cubic yards of mulch at the site. Linda acted as the eyes and ears at the site on day two and stayed in contact. Another call to Chris at Serve Moore and he sent another army of volunteers to finish the park job in short order. Linda sent another message: “The workers are here!”

Linda was kind enough to send more pictures at each step of day two.

What becomes clearly apparent through this is that the volunteers benefit some too through this. Together thru giving and service comes the overwhelming outpouring of God’s grace at work within us and increased hope for everyone involved. This kind of amazing stuff is happening every day in Moore, Shawnee, Newalla and other affected areas.

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A few observations

The following is an email that was sent to stories@servemoore.com email address. These words are the words of Steve Curry

Hi Guys,

I wanted to give you guys an update on my experiences in Moore that last few days. There is a lot going on there that I am not involved with nor am privy to, so this is my very narrow view of what was happening around me.

I emailed you guys earlier telling you that I was in Moore on Wednesday, our first really organized day there. Due to the short notice we expected maybe 200 volunteers and hoped for 500, but 3000 came. Though we were not yet allowed into the really devastated areas, there was still much that we could do and it was awesome to see God's people working together and ministering in Jesus' name.

Yesterday (Saturday) I arrived at the Volunteer headquarters just after 8 am and found that it was already full of people and material. After the first group of workers were sent out, a call went out for anyone who had led a C-group, house church, cell group, bible study, VBS, pretty much anything. We had about ten raise their hands and that became my group. We went to the corner of Janeway Ave. and SW 4th where a tent had been erected, split up into three groups, and the groups went out into Zones 1, 2 & 3 (roughly from SW 4th St. on the north to SW 19th on the south, and from Telephone Rd. on the east to Santa Fe on the west) which encompassed a square mile. This is one of the hardest hit areas and in the middle of that square mile is the spot where Plaza Towers Elementary School had been. Each person in each team had forms which allowed us to record people's addresses, names, and needs. It was also a release form for the City of Moore so work could be done by the volunteers without danger of liability for the city. The beauty of the forms is that it allowed the people on the teams an opportunity to interact with everyone they found at home, discover their needs, and pray with them. It took several hours for the teams to cover the Zones, though in some areas there were no homes left and nothing that could be done. Nearly 13,000 homes are either severely damaged or completely gone, and it is hard to get your head around that number until you see it.

After each team had finished canvassing its zone, the forms were returned to me at the tent and I called for a runner to return the forms to the headquarters. The forms were then quickly sorted, addresses were texted to me, and workers were sent by the busload to me at the tent. The workers were then split up into groups of 10 or 15 and sent them out on foot with an address and description of the projects to be done. A team leader was assigned to each team of workers and we traded phone numbers. Several times during the afternoon one of the team leaders called me with special requests; a chainsaw or a bobcat, ice or water. I was able to call that in to the headquarters and the needed material or tools were dispatched quickly. So it went all day until a storm moved in and we ceased operation about 6 pm.

A few observations:

The release forms were a great idea. No one on any of the teams canvassing the Zones had anyone refuse to pray with them. Repeatedly through the day I heard reports from our people that the victims of the storm just wanted to talk to someone about their experiences. Our guys and gals listened and prayed, and I think that was probably as important or more important than anything else that we did. For me, one of the most impacting things was to see how Father is linking His people together. In our canvassing teams there were two Baptist guys who had driven from Mississippi to help, one lady who had come by herself from near Chicago, two ladies from Victory Church, a mother and her grown daughter from Life Church, and three guys from Frontline. The people that were sent over on the busses to work were black, white, Hispanic, Asian, and a few ethnicities that I could not identify. The people that were set up cooking food right next to our tent at 4th and Janeway own a BBQ restaurant in Texas and had moved their mobile operation to Moore to cook for anyone who needed it. They gave away food to victims, volunteers, anyone who looked hungry and a few who didn't. All in the name of Jesus. There was a long haired sandal-wearing guy walking down the middle of the street carrying a laundry basket full of bottles of water, making sure no one got dehydrated. A doctor and his nurse walked around in the devastated neighborhoods giving tetanus shots to anyone who wanted one. A few of our people got them.

When I was in Moore on Wednesday I got separated from the guys that I came with, so went into a neighborhood and linked up with some Baptist kids from OU. We raked, shoveled, and filled up trash bags together. As we worked I thought about June 6, 1944, D-Day. In the darkness of that early morning thousands of Allied paratroopers parachuted into France, behind the enemy lines. In the darkness, few were able to hit their drop zones accurately and many men found themselves alone, cut off from their platoons. With their little cricket-clickers they began to signal to one another in the night, and slowly an army began to coalesce. However, the men found that as often as not, it was an American GI making a rendezvous with a Canadian, who had earlier found a Brit and a Free Frenchman. But this did not matter as they has a common goal and a common enemy. That is how it is in Moore. We are all seeking to serve Jesus and are doing our work in His name. The minor doctrines that usually divide us are just not that important there.

My prayer is this: Father, help us to serve you and these people well. Help us not to over-promise and under-deliver, as Your church has done for years. Let us do our work with excellence and in a way that reflects your loving kindness to the people of Moore. Amen

I am heading down there again tomorrow morning. Hope to see some of you guys there.

In Him,

Steve

Message to Pastors

Message to Pastors from Frontline Church on Vimeo.

As many of you know, an EF5 tornado cut a path of destruction 17 miles long and more than a mile wide across Moore and Southwest Oklahoma City on May 20th. Some of you may not know about the tornado that also hit Shawnee, Oklahoma, on May 19th.

Immediately following these disasters, pastors and ministry leaders from Frontline Church, Love and Justice Church, and many other local churches sprang into action to do as Jesus did, which is to love people in both word and deed, become His hands and feet in service to others, and point the lost and broken to Jesus.

We, this group of churches of whom not one seeks personal credit, quickly became a joint effort called Serve Moore and are now providing leadership and organization for thousands of volunteers and coordinating with city officials to develop a recovery plan.

As a result, thousands of volunteers have been mobilized, debris has been removed from city parks and public property, over 600 locations have been worked in UNDER TWO WEEKS. We've served hot meals to those in need, and the gospel has gone out - daily.

Many churches from across the nation and around the world have been asking how they can help. We tell them this, and ask you to do the same:

1. Pray for Us - This is the most important thing you can do. Jesus must be in the midst of this effort, or it is all for nothing. Pray for the churches, the church leaders, and our cities that they may be rebuilt by His grace and for His glory.

2. Send Financial Gifts - Of any size. But prayerfully consider giving toward the longevity of the Serve Moore effort. Ask God what amount He might have you give faithfully, over the long-haul to assist us in the effort of rebuilding our cities. Your financial gifts would allow godly, Spirit-filled men and women to continue leading the relief efforts in our cities. It would also free our pastors, who have lately been consumed with this burden, to return to loving their wives and children, and loving their churches.

3. Volunteer - We need hundreds and hundreds of people to volunteer, not for just the next few weeks, but over the next couple of years. We are thankful for the thousands of people who have shown up over the past several days, but we know that initial zeal will taper off as the media begin to focus on other things. You can supplement this effort by committing to send volunteers over the next two years.

We expect that God is going to work in the midst of this loss and pain. That He will use it to lead people to Jesus, and to bring revival, renewal, and reconciliation. We thank you for your participation. Your partnership. You have been so quick to respond in the immediate aftermath of this crisis and we hope you will prayerfully continue to do so.

Please visit ServeMoore.com and learn how you can pray, give, and volunteer.

As always, we continue to pray for your cities and your churches.

Sheds of Hope sheds hope

While working with ServeMoore.com to help link those who had needs with those who had items/services to donate, I was amazed at some of the situations volunteers have been able to resolve. It often takes clever thinking and resourcefulness to connect the dots. Now, if someone had told me about this effort called Sheds of Hope before I worked with ServeMoore, I wouldn’t have thought much of it.

But then I started reading the horror stories from tornado victims.

“We had some of our things in storage before the tornado. I can see our storage unit and it’s intact, but the storage company said they’re not allowing anyone in for safety reasons... They’re planning to bulldoze our unit on Saturday.”

Now I see how Sheds of Hope offers the perfect solution for families with an immediate need for storage as they begin the process of rebuilding.

Sheds of Hope will be building permanent, on-site storage for tornado victims to use while their homes are being restored/rebuilt. Families will own their sheds outright, meaning they will not pay storage fees and won’t be subject to the whims of a storage company. And since this is all sponsored by The Presbyterian Church of North America’s Mission to North America (MNA) and their partner churches and organizations, the sheds will be built at no cost to the homeowner.

Some families may even be interested in helping to build their own sheds, a positive and proactive endeavor which Sheds of Hope believes will remind them of the hope of The Lord.

Follow this link to read more about Sheds of Hope.