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Victims, Volunteers Keeping Faith Amidst Tragedy

People at Crossroads United Methodist Church are finding their faith throughout the pain and suffering brought on by last week's EF-4 tornado.
WASHINGTON - It’s been one week since a deadly tornado ripped through the town of Washington. More twisters damaged other central Illinois communities, including East Peoria, Minonk, and Pekin. These storms have tested the faith of many victims and volunteers, but as WMBD’s Alexandra Sutter finds, the damage is nothing these communities can’t overcome.

The destruction can be seen all across Washington, yet, members of Crossroads United Methodist Church are only seeing the silver lining.

Pastor Tim Goddell said, “I don't want to talk about the updraft and downdraft that struck last Sunday anymore. I want to talk about the downdraft of God's grace we have felt so profoundly in this community."

On this Sunday, one week later, people are reflecting on a second storm that quickly followed. One that was full of love, compassion and support.

Victims Jo Ann Petri said, “Keep on keeping on. Just keep on keeping on. And there's no end of hope with the Lord."

Jo Ann and husband Russ will tell you they’ve lost nothing, but their home on Gillman Avenue is gone. Russ said, "When I found out she was alive, I didn't really much care about the rest of it. Now, have I gone over just about every day and got stuff out that means something to us, sure. But other than that it's stuff."

They said their faith has been tested, but not torn. Like the many others inside the church, they’re pushing past the tragedy. Russ added, “The thing about it is, you've got your choice. As to how you're going to process all of this. I've had my cries, my frustrations, my anger, all of that. But in the end, life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it."

These people aren’t worried about what they no longer have. They’re here giving thanks for everything they do. Jo Ann said, “We've lost nothing. We lost nothing.”

Russ added, “Absolutely not.  It's a little inconvenient, that's as bad as it gets.”

Jo Ann said, “We've got a flat house, two totaled cars but we've got each other and we've got our puppy."

Sunday’s service focused on having hope. The pastor said he consulted churches in Moore, Oklahoma and Joplin, Missouri before preparing his message.
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