Success is not final, failure is not fatal - it is the courage to continue that counts.
- Sir Winston Churchill

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

We're here!!

We finally got our power back today after having been without for almost 6 days, and I wanted to let you all know we are fine. We so appreciated everybody's care and concern and it meant so much to us. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers, they were rays of sunshine during some dark days!
We lost power around noon this past Wednesday and several tornadoes struck our immediate neighborhood. Our street was very, very fortunate - nobody got hurt and nobody had any real damage to their homes. Sadly many people in our neighborhood were not so lucky. Just two streets over from our house is where one of the tornadoes went through. Three of our friends lost their homes and several others had damage to theirs. About 85% of the neighborhood is destroyed!
I have to say the community really rallied and came together. Volunteers were bussed into our neighborhood and there were countless churches and organizations offering to help. It will take a long time to get a feeling of normalcy back, guess we're all going to take baby steps in that direction.
This is what the sky looked like when it got really bad. It was eerily green/yellow and it was very, very quiet. Why did I take pictures? Well, we had no power, the girls and pets were huddled in the bathroom and I was at the backdoor listening for a "train sound". I felt like we were sitting ducks without radio, TV or computer and so I thought I needed to at least listen...
Greg got home right around that time and that's when we all went and hid in the bathroom.
Wir haben endlich wieder Elektrizitaet, nachdem wir fast 6 Tage ohne Strom, Gas und cell phones waren. Ich wollte mich bei euch allen fuer alle eure guten Wuensche und Gebete bedanken, sie waren in den letzten paar Tagen Balsam fuer unsere Seelen!
Letzen Mittwoch gegen 12:00 Uhr Mittag wurde es hier sehr dunkel und ein paar Stunden spaeter gingen mindestens 3 Tornados in unserer Nachbarschaft herunter. Unsere Strasse hatte unwahrscheinlich viel Glueck, es wurde keiner verletzt und kein Haus wurde beschaedigt. Zwei Strassen weiter hatten die Leute leider nicht soviel Glueck - die Nachbarschaft ist zu 85 % zerstoert. Drei unserer Freunde haben ihre Haeuser verloren und einige andere haben grossen Schaden erlitten.
So sah der Himmel aus, als es hier schlimm wurde. Er war unheimlich gelb/gruen und es war extrem still. Warum habe ich Bilder gemacht? Nachdem wir keinen Strom hatten und wir nicht informiert waren wo der Sturm ist, stand ich auf der Terasse um zu hoeren ob der Sturm kommt. Mir wurde gesagt ein Tornado klingt wie ein Zug und so habe ich wenigstens versucht zu hoeren ob er in unseren Naehe war. Die Maedels und die Tiere waren in der Zeit schon sicher im Bad verstaut und als Greg nach hause kam, sind auch wir in unser "Versteck".
Ich muss sagen die Gemeinschaft nach dieser Tragoedie ist sagenhaft! Es wurden Freiwillige mit Bussen in unsere Nachbarschaft gebracht um beim Aufraeumen zu helfen. Kirchen, Organisationen, alle helfen einander! Es wird wohl noch eine lange Zeit brauchen bis alles wieder einigermassen normal ist, aber alle helfen einander und gemeinsam schaffen wir es bestimmt!

We tried to check on some of our friends right after the storm but were unable to get through - too much debris and power lines right in the roads.
The next morning we decided to go and this is what our neighborhood looked like:
Nachdem der Sturm vorbei war, wollten wir gleich nach unseren Freunden sehen, konnten aber vor lauter Baeumen, Kabeln usw auf der Strasse nicht durch. Am naechsten Tag kamen wir durch und so sah unsere Nachbarschaft aus:
This pile of rubble used to be a house. There was a family of four in that house when it was lifted off the foundation, moved into the road and then collapsed. Everybody survived which is nothing short of a miracle!
Dieser Truemmerhaufen war einmal ein Haus. Eine vierkoepfige Familie war darin als das Haus hochgehoben wurde, auf die Strasse gesetzt, und dann zusammengebrochen ist. Gott sei Dank haben es alle vier ueberlebt!
This is what's left of my friends house. We spend hours on Saturday trying to get debris off her lawn, looking for things, and then helping her get whatever wasn't damaged out of the house.
Das ist alles was vom Haus meiner Freundin uebrig geblieben ist. Wir haben am Samstag stundenlang aufgeraeumt und nach ihren Sachen gesucht. Danach haben wir aus dem Haus geraeumt was noch zu gebrauchen ist.



Across the street from the neighborhood two stores and a gas station were leveled.
Gegenueber von unserer Nachbarschaft wurden zwei Laeden und eine Tankstelle dem Erdboden gleich gemacht.





This is the church I work for. It sustained a lot of damage and we will not be able to go back to our MDO program for at least the remainder of the year. We will try to have an end of the year program to give everybody some sort of closure and then we will see if things can be repaired for the upcoming school year.
Dies ist die Kirche fuer die ich arbeite. Sie hat leider sehr viel Schaden erlitten und wir werden fuer den Rest des Schuljahres nicht mehr offen sein. Wir wollen versuchen ein "end of the year program" zu veranstalten um allen die Gelegenheit zu geben sich voneinander zu verabschieden. Ob wir zum neuen Schuljahr wieder oeffnen koennen, steht noch in den Sternen...



Please continue to keep this area and all the families in your thoughts and prayers, they will need them for some time to come.
Bitte denkt weiterhin an all die Leute die hier soviel verloren haben, sie koennen eure Gebete noch fuer lange Zeit brauchen.

23 comments:

  1. Anke, I am so glad you and your family are OK. Some of the other southern bloggers have also posted devastating pictures of their towns... just heartbreaking! Glad you are all helping each other out. Right now I feel like the best I can do from far away is to send money to the Red Cross. (Unless you know of specific things we could send to help out your neighbors.)
    We live right smack in "tornado alley", but I have, thankfully, never been in the path of one.

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  2. Anke, What a terrible tragedy. So devastating and shocking for so many people. It must be very difficult to see this every day. I was so relieved to hear that you and your family are safe and my prayers are sent to those who have lost so much.

    That green sky is indeed very eerie looking.

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  3. Anke, I am so thankful for this update. You and your family have been in my thoughts. (so thankful your MIL updated us)
    I am so sorry for your friends and all those who were victims....prayers will be lifted up for them.
    Take care,
    Suz


    ps. Did you ever hear the train sound???
    That sky looked crazy scary!

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  4. Anke, these pictures are unbelievable! I'm so glad to know that you, your family, and your home are safe as well as the lives of your friends. And six days without electricity - a challenge indeed!

    Those pictures of the green sky bring back some scary memories. I don't think anyone ever forgets that sight!
    Continuing to pray for you all!

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  5. Oh my!! I am glad you all are okay! Will continue to pray for your area nad all affected by these storms..

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  6. Anke, that sky was horrible looking. I am glad you have your power back and can let everyone know that you are ok, lots of friends looking for you. Your neighborhood really took a beating and I am so glad you all got in your safe place, that was way too close, houses and stuff can be replaced, people can not. from your mil...

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  7. Das sieht ja sehr schlimm aus. Gott sei Dank ist bei Euch alles i. O. Wenn man solche Bilder sieht, denkt man, dass die Häuser nur aus Holz und sehr leicht gebaut sind. Man kann sich nicht vorstellen, dass das eigene Haus so einen Sturm nicht aushalten könnte. Und wenn dann alles, woran man hängt, weg ist - unvorstellbar.
    Ich wünsche diesen Menschen ganz viel Kraft, um sich ihre Häuser wieder aufbauen zu können.
    LG
    Carola

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  8. Von Herzen wünsche ich euch viel Kraft. Das sieht ja schlimm aus und es ist unglaublich, was so ein Tornado alles anrichtet. Gegen diese Naturkräfte sind wir einfach machtlos.

    Liebe Grüsse
    Brigitte

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  9. Anke, so glad your family is okay. I almost can't look at the pictures anymore. It is so sad. I can't even imagine what people must be feeling.

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  10. These are unbelievable photos, absolutely crushing! So glad you are ok, and sad for those that lost so much. How is the heat right now? I hate to think that the heat and humidity is making cleanup even more unbearable. Everyone there is in my thoughts...

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  11. When you were able to let me know you and your family were alive and your home undamaged, well, I just don't know if I had ever felt such a feeling of relief in my life, Anke:)I can just imagine what your family overseas was feeling! Will continue to pray and send comforting, supportive energy towards your community, and your family. I am so glad Greg managed to get home before the tornado hit. You all have to be just mentally exhausted. Thank you for sharing with us these pictures. Reminders we should all be grateful for each day we have. Sending you and your much love, Anke xx

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  12. Anke, ich bin so froh das Euch nichts passiert ist.Wir haben es im Internet verfolgt und uns Sorgen gemacht.Nun wünsche Euch viel Kraft und zuversicht.ich bin mit meinen Gedanken bei Euch. Eure Sylvia

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  13. The pictures say so much, Anke. I can't even begin to imagine how mentally and emotionally drained everyone there must be.

    I was so glad to learn that the girls were there with you, and that Greg got there before the tornadoes hit. I don't know when I've spent a longer three days until I heard from you.

    Is there a way that we can help from this distance? Any specifics that some of your neighbors need...If there is, please let us know.

    Hugs and more hugs to you, Anke.

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  14. Liebe Anke,
    So thankful that your power is up and running again. Even having power off for a day let alone how long yours was out makes one realize how we stay in touch. Glad that Greg made it home in time to be with all of you too.
    I have seen skies like that before, but never, ever experienced what you guys went through. All the devastation is just unreal. My niece that works for the Red Cross (she is there now having driven in from Florida) said if anything is needed just be sure to contact them. It is wonderful how people have gotten together to help out.
    It is amazing too how homes were moved and demolished yet so many people lived through it.
    Big hugs to you and your family. It will be a long process to go through, not just now, but the rebuilding too.
    Liebe grusse,
    Ulrike

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  15. Glad you are all alright. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help from a distance.

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  16. So glad you are all ok...and good to hear from you. My heart goes out to you all and your friends. It is so hard to be surrounded by such devastation....but, you are so lucky to all be in one piece! Hugs and prayers for all of you!!!!

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  17. Die Bilder sprechen Bände.....ich wünsche Euch allen viel Kraft und Mut beim Wiederaufbau.
    Viele Grüße
    Kerstin

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  18. Anke, I'm sorry but I am just now seeing this post. I had no idea that you went through all of this. And I feel so sad for your friends who lost their house. In 1972, we were in a hurricane(Agnes) and lost everything. I was very young but I still remember it how it affected my parents.
    Take care.
    Your Friend, m.

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  19. Liebe Anke !
    wier sind so froh as es euch gut geht ,hatte schon mit Ines gesprochen und erfahren das euch selber nichs pasiert ist.Jetzt bin ich aber so froh und erleihtert das ihr euer schönes Zuhause noch habt.Das sind echt schlimme Bilder
    die man da sieht und die armen Leute können einem so leid tun.Habe viel an euch gedacht und für euch gebetet bin so froh das ihr und euer Heim heil davon gekommen seid.Liebe Grüße von uns allen Christine

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  20. What shocking photos. Amazing that the home could be lifted right up like that and the people survive. Praying for all those affected by the terrible storms in the south.

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  21. Hallo Anke,
    Was bin ich froh das euch nichts passiert ist.
    Es tut mir so leid für alle die so schwer getroffen wurden. Toll finde ich wie du beschreibt wie sehr sich alle untereinander helfen. Wir haben jeden Morgen in eure Zeitung geschaut um das neuste aus eurem Örtchen zu bekommen. Ich danke den Himmel das ihr Glück hattet. Bei solchen Katastrophen ist es wichtig einander zu helfen.
    Diesen grünen Himmel habe ich vor ein paar Jahren auch hier in Hamburg gesehen. zu der Zeit rief mich unser bester Freund an und frage ob ich weiß was das zu bedeuten hat. Ich wußte es nicht, keine 5 Minuten später gab es in Harburg eine Tornado der 2 Tote forderte. Dort wohnt unser bester Freund, gott sei dank hat es ihn nicht erwischt.
    aber das war das erstemal das ich mit sowas in Kontakt gekommen bin. Hoffentlich auch nie wieder.
    Seid alle gedrückt
    Doris

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  22. Chills. Goosebumps. Tears in my eyes.

    Oh my god.

    I just have no words Anke, no words...

    *hard to type with shaking hands*

    I will never again complain about the rain and the snow storms, you reminded me very brutally that it could be much, much worse - i'm so relieved you're ok and so saddened for those who lost their homes like that :(

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  23. Just when I think I can hold it together I see the photos and it makes me get teary eyed all over again. I saw the gas station and the market today when Bob and I went out to get an estimate on a tornado shelter. I wondered if that was your neighborhood... I am so sorry for your neighbors. Anke, you are so fortunate, and such a good friend to those around you!
    Bless you and your family,
    Lynda

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