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'It's our brothers and sisters' | Texas man offering prayers in Barnsdall

Posted at 12:34 PM, May 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-08 18:00:22-04

BARNSDALL, Okla. — With so much devastation in Barnsdall after May 6's EF-4 tornado, many people are looking for somewhere to turn.

Although many organizations are offering supplies, there's one pop-up "help center" offering something unique.

It’s not food, water, or even clothes, but something less tangible - prayer.

"I know prayers work,” said Paul Chapman, a Texan who made his way to Barnsdall. “The power is in the prayer itself and you can't lose hope. That's where our hope is. In God."

Chapman’s humble setup along the streets of Barnsdall offers spoken prayer or something else for those who may be hesitant.

“If you feel like you don't want to open up to a stranger or you don't feel like discussing it, so we will put these cards out and then I tell the individual to just leave your prayer at the cross.”

He offers prayer cards with a drop-off box. Those prayers can be read in private.

Chapman wears his heart on his sleeve. He’s from Odessa, Texas and said he felt called to help.

“It’s what we do,” he said. “It's our brothers and sisters. It doesn't matter if it's Oklahoma, if it's Illinois, if it's California or Texas. Our backyard or our front yard, or whichever. We all put our hands together across each state we will be touching each other. We are neighbors."

Chapman took the nearly 600-mile drive down to Oklahoma not once, but twice. He was in Sulphur just last week after a tornado also left people in dire need.

The aftermath of the E-F4 tornado in Barnsdall is shaking a community to its core, some lost everything, which is why Chapman said he acted.

“Mostly just love,” he said. “Showing God's love. I can feed their bellies. I can feed their stomachs."

He plans to do that, offering burgers and sausages to anyone who stops by. A side of prayer is also on the menu.

“That’s the most important thing is prayer,” Chapman said. “Because this community is going to build together. They are going to come back and they're going to bond. They'll build together stronger. There's no question about it. God is right in the heart of it.

As a community sifts through this rubble, looking for a path forward, Chapma hopes he can offer hope or, at the very least, a hot meal.

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