The Ottumwa Courier

Education

May 30, 2013

Gifts from Ottumwa to Oklahoma

(Continued)

While the couple travels to various churches and festivals as part of their missionary work, the disaster response is not the best opportunity to spend hours preaching the gospel.

"We will do about an hour program with games, try to cheer the kids up, let them know that God loves them and we love them," said Diltz. "We don't go into theology other than letting kids know Jesus cares about them and people care about them."

Toys give the kids something constructive to do and a chance to escape from the disaster around them for a little while. For those in locations with power restored, Diltz is bringing a donation he received of 20,000 Disney DVDs. Kids go on the bus with parents and choose several toys.

"We went to Joplin in October and then in July. Everybody was sunburned and the whole thing; it was 105 degrees. There were kids there that told us they lost a parent or parents that had lost kids; we were told that twice last time," said Diltz. "We took about 40 people from the Ottumwa area, and I told the kids that these people stood out in front of stores for weeks asking people to donate toys to them. Some of the kids cried when they heard that. I told the Joplin kids there were people all over the country who cared about them. The kids couldn't believe people all the way from Iowa would do that for them."

Church groups or others who want to help can do so, he said, though he does "not take anybody or bring anybody back." The logistics of doing so end up taking as much effort as actually getting toys to the kids, he explained.

For information, visit the couple's ministry at firehousekidz.com or call 563-209-6279.

To see reporter Mark Newman's Twitter feed, go to @couriermark.

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