We went to Joplin, Missouri which was the site of an EF5 tornado that ripped apart the town in 2011. The disaster greatly impacted the town and the communities. We were working alongside the Jewish Disaster Relief Corps and the Islamic Circle of North American Relief as part of the Rebuild Joplin non-profit agency. We were assigned the task of demolishing a damaged home in order for it to be rebuilt. While in Joplin we were hosted by New Creation Church, a local church near the work site that caters to housing volunteers. The communities in Joplin were incredibly welcoming and were willing to share their stories, some of them very tragic and others incredibly inspiring. The trip was an amazing opportunity for us to get to know each other and each others' faiths. We were able to meet with the local Muslim and Jewish communities, and joined them from Juma'a and Shabbat services. It was amazing to meet with the members of the Muslim community who had their mosque burned down in a hate crime and to show them the beauty of interfaith work and how together we can break down ignorance build love and peace. We truly learned from the spiritual and emotional journey we shared in Joplin and felt a deep connection with the work we were doing, the stories told by the survivors of the tornado, and of course, with the new friendships we forced with community members and each other.
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