Tornadoes in Oklahoma, May 2013

I’ve been occupied for the last couple of weeks.  Our weather here in Oklahoma has been terrifying.  I have not been affected personally, but we have packed a bag a couple of times just in case we had to make a run for shelter.  My daughter’s neighborhood was hit and sustained considerable damage.  I want to share her blog with you today.  It depicts the tragedy but also the hope.  God was with us.  God will sustain us.  I am director of Vacation Bible School at my church again this year, and so I am devoting all my time and energy to that this week.  I’ll return next week.  My head is about to explode with ideas!  God bless.

 Reblogged from my daughter’s post:
This has been an intense weather season. It is hard to believe how much Moore and the Oklahoma City area has been pummeled. My friend on staff at a church in Norman has been reassigned to the position of Disaster Relief. There is so much work to be done, the church has created an entire staff position devoted to organizing relief efforts. It will be years to see this area restored.Another friend of mine planned to start a church in Oklahoma City, with their first service in August. He’s been diligently preparing for a year, and we’ve teased him about Oklahoma City really *needing* another church. Here’s where God’s wisdom is greater than ours: when the tornado hit Moore on May 20, he came immediately, and has been on the ground assisting families and organizing relief efforts from a Walmart parking lot. God knew the city would need a minister, and He prepared my friend and the other staff of Everyday Church for just such a time as this.

I love pictures of doors, and this photo shows a door left standing in a house otherwise devastated: the homeowner had taped Scriptures all over it, and not a single one blew away when the storm hit. 

Also this spring, an EF0 hit my best friend’s neighborhood, damaging trees, their roof, destroying their shed. They were running for the storm shelter when it was in their backyard; the emergency sirens went off as they were coming out to look at the damage.

Two months later, an EF2 hit my neighborhood. Several homes were destroyed, about ten impacted overall. Not a shingle from our roof is missing, although we have tree damage. 

I am not a panicky person. Raised an Okie, I am more likely to want to watch an approaching tornado than hide from it. 
But three storm chasers lost their lives this spring, and the storms keep coming. The new world record for widest tornado in El Reno, Oklahoma (2.6 miles, and EF5). A record number of EF5 tornadoes, the highest winds possible. Now, I am emotionally worn out and jumpy. We’ve been pierced by all that has been thrown at us this spring.

However, God has been in the midst of this. Our neighbors, who lost their home, had been visiting a church for a while, but hadn’t joined. That church, Southwood Baptist (Tulsa), cancelled their church picnic last Sunday to come help clear debris. When I was talking to the homeowner, he said, “Yeah, I know no one is burning their debris but us [it’s legal since we’re outside city limits], but there are so many youth here. Burning it is just more fun than hauling it to the curb.” He says this, smiling, in front of his wrecked home, with four people using hoses to try to control the blaze in his backyard. Totally relaxed, wanting to make a special moment for his guests.

Those same church people wrote Scriptures all over the standing walls of his first floor. These rooms where the neighborhood gathered for Christmas parties, that the homeowner totally transformed with her huge Christmas collection, now all blown away. The state of their stuff has changed, but they are surrounded by the Word and God’s people. They are filled with His presence. Life is good.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. – 1 Peter 1:3-7 (NIV)


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lil Miss Kris
    Jun 06, 2013 @ 09:14:05

    I think in the midst of tragedy it’s hard to see the plan of God in action. This post is a great light bulb moment it says to stop looking at what you think you see and starting seeing what’s really there.

  2. Ellie
    Jun 06, 2013 @ 09:29:36

    Wow, my eyes teared up when I read about the door covered in Scripture still standing fast! What a testimony to God’s Word in the midst of the storms in our lives. Although we might not receive the prayers we initially ask for, Gods’ Word is protected and endures forever – what can man (or nature) do to destroy our faith? Blessings,

  3. chemocurls
    Jun 06, 2013 @ 16:47:55

    So true, Ellie. May He bless your day! Hugs, Connie

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