Missionaries offer helping hand in Joplin

JASPER COUNTY, Mo. – Over the last couple of months, Adam Thornton and his family have struggled to keep up with everything on their seven acre property outside of Joplin.

“We’ve been here six years, and the place looks almost as if it did whenever we moved in,” says Adam Thornton.

He and his fiancée have two young kids, he works full time and his dad, who’s a military veteran, recently had some health issues that keep him from helping as much as he’d like.

“It’s grown over and needs help,” explains Thornton.

But some volunteers responded to that call, offering free services as they spread their message of faith.

“As we’re out here, we serve people, like these wonderful people, and we also teach people about Jesus Christ and try to help them come closer to him,” explains Emily Yates.

The group is made up of missionaries with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. All of them were supposed to be doing mission work in different countries, but when the pandemic hit they were reassigned to Joplin. Which led them to the Thornton family.

The group helped out by cleaning up the brush and downed trees from the family’s yard, and restoring their pond so the family can enjoy time by the water again.

“Seeing them smile, seeing them be happy when they’re helped out is just… it’s amazing,” says Rebecca Clair, one of the missionaries.

“With dad being disabled and mom being between two jobs, and me working myself, we really just haven’t had time to upkeep,” explains Thornton. “So, we really appreciate them and everything they do.”

And Yates explains it’s about more than just doing the work. The main goal is to let people know they aren’t alone by showing the light that can still be found in the world.

“I feel like it’s just kind of a dark time for a lot of people. And a lot of people just don’t have support, so it’s good to be there for them,” says Yates.

And now, Adam and his fiancée are both considering doing the same.

“If I can find somewhere local in Joplin to do the same thing they’re doing, I wouldn’t mind doing something like that at all.”

If you live in the Joplin area and need a helping hand, you can reach the missionary group by calling or texting Emily Yates at 417-629-8228.