Wednesday July 11th we spent an hour in the basement as a line of storms marched steadly northeastward through KS --- we are all fine and no damage in Abilene but the town of Chapman (pop 1400) 12 miles from here lost 6 city blocks! All the schools are gone/severly damaged as are the churches, the funeral home and a lot of residences! The twisters also touched down in Manhattan causing damage to KSU, businesses and residences (one of the ladies in my Bible study no longer has a home).
You can see intial pictures of the damage at http://www.ksn.com/ if you like. Scroll down and there is several videos over the last few days. There was a camera crew there today too that was just arriving as we were leaving --- we got there at 8am when the town was opened up to those who weren't residents/employees/etc and just wanted to help and left at 12:30
Today our family spent 4 hours helping clean up debris in the streets, driveways and homes. While it didn't even begin to seem like enough it was still something we could do to help our neighbors in this small town -- it doesn't even look like Chapman anymore in many ways! I will try to upload pictures asap. We are considering going back on Mon/Tues to help as Tim is off. The clean up is going to literally take weeks and I can only imagine how overwhelmed the residents feel --- I felt overwhelmed after only 4 hours and knowing I had a home to go back to!
But what a blessing to see people pouring into the community to help! Our bus driver said she had heard there were more volunteers registered to help today than the entire population of Chapman! (sniff sniff) God is good even in the midst of tragedy and it was heartening to see several of the families we attend church with right in the middle of things!