I was in Joplin MO last Friday morning for the grand opening of a brand-spanking new Salvation Army store just a block east of Main Street in downtown Joplin.

This new store replaces another new store a couple miles south on Main Street that was destroyed on May 22, 2011 during the tornado which devastated Joplin.

That store had only been completed the month before as a replacement to an older store.  I’ve seen photos of the destroyed store.  The tornado had dropped someone’s pickup truck (or was it a small box truck?) in the middle of the store.  An operation made possible because the store’s roof was completely gone.  The rest of the store looked like a battlefield casualty.

For the last four years the Army has made do at a nearby temporary rental location while construction and financing plans were put together.  Our beautiful new store joins several Joplin Public Schools facilities and the new Mercy Hospital among this year’s additions to Joplin’s rebuilding efforts.  Here are articles from Wally Kennedy and Emily Younker of the Joplin Globe about this new store.

At the grand opening I was asked to pray during the ribbon cutting.  I wanted my words to express how out of terror and loss God has come to bless the Army with hope and promise.

Not only for The Salvation Army, but for the city of Joplin.