World Vision videographer Doug Boyles reflects on his experience reporting from Moore, Oklahoma, in the wake of the catastrophic May 20 tornado, including the amazing generosity he witnessed in the midst of incredible tragedy.
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In Luke 10, Jesus tells us the parable of the Good Samaritan, where we’re reminded of the second greatest commandment -- to love your neighbor as yourself. As the story comes to a close, Jesus asks the expert in the law who the good neighbor was, and the expert replies that it was the one who showed mercy.
Jesus then challenges the expert to “go and do likewise.”
As a videographer for World Vision, I feel like I float through disasters like the one in Moore, Oklahoma. I spend time meeting the survivors and volunteers, taking their pictures, and then leaving as quickly as I came to tell their stories and inspire others to help out.
But in the ruined suburbs of Moore, I wanted to put my camera down, pick up a shovel, and become a part of the outpouring of love that was tangible everywhere I went.
“Love your neighbor” was in full swing in Moore. Church congregations gathered with shovels, organizations cooked enormous amounts of food, and doors were opened to house the newly homeless. Buses arrived full of volunteer groups, and one couple walked up and simply said, “We’re here to help.”
I was wowed by the generosity and sheer number of volunteers, from neighbors a few streets away to strangers a few states away. They came to help in any way they could, whether it was a meal, a place to stay, or a shoulder to cry on. They all saw a neighbor in need and responded.
Talking with one volunteer, I commented that I loved the spirit of the people here. He replied with a smile, “There’s good people everywhere. Some places you just have to look a little harder to find them.”
Sadly, there will be another Moore, another Sandy, another Katrina. But if the neighborhood spirit of places like Moore is the undercurrent of the United States, we will be okay. And if we can lean on each other in the good times as well -- instead of waiting for disaster to spur us into action -- then we will be more than okay.
If you can volunteer, donate, or pray for someone, do it. Don’t wait for a disaster to move you into action. Look around and find inspiration right now. The world is full of folks who can use our help. So lend a hand, lend your heart, or lend a shoulder to someone in need today.
It was hard to leave Moore and come back home. In the end, I picked up my camera and headed to the airport. But when I remember the hearts of the volunteers who envelope Moore, Oklahoma, I am inspired to go and do likewise.
God bless Moore.
Make a one-time donation to our U.S. Disaster Response Fund. After powerful storms unleashed devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma and North Texas this month, World Vision relief teams are launching an emergency response to deliver pre-positioned supplies -- food kits, hygiene supplies, clean-up kits, blankets, and more -- to help families and children hardest hit by the disaster. We'll also be in these places over the long term, providing support to families and communities as they recover and rebuild.