Pondering Faith

Disaster Recovery Trip

Yesterday, I went with a group from our community to a FEMA site in Eclectic, Alabama. It was heartwarming to see all of the people in line to get a work assignment for the day:

 

We were assigned to our job site, and went to see how we could help. I thought that being in Eclectic meant that we wouldn’t see anything terrible. I thought that would for sure only be in the northern parts of Alabama. I was surprised to see what I saw:

This was a house. Several people somehow survived in this house

There were several people in the house when the tornado hit. The owner tried to get out to secure some things, but realized the tornado was too close, and jumped back in the house. He could not make it to the hallway with the rest of his family. Instead he dove into the bathroom, and as the roof was lifted off the house, he clung to the toilet. His feet raised above his head as the tornado tried to suck him out. His entire family miraculously survived as their house was ripped apart around them.

House from a slightly different angle. That toilet saved the owner's life.

We spent the day working on the property, hunting down debris fields and sorting them into piles so that heavy equipment could load and haul it easily. We had several people who spent the day working chainsaws to clear trees. The trees at the back of the property were amazing. In the next picture you can see trees that were in the tornado’s path. It seemed to have made a 90 degree turn… it took out the neighbor’s house, too. The trees are snapped in half, like I would snap a toothpick. Their tops were distributed far and wide. Compare the trunks of the trees in the foreground with the full trees in the background to get a sense of the power of this twister.

Magnificent trees snapped in half.

The family is filled with thankfulness and hope. They are looking forward to their future, and will rebuild. I hope that our work provided some comfort to them. If you know me, you know I will find any excuse to get out of yard work. Not this time, though. We are God’s people, and not only are we instructed to help our neighbors, but if we truly experience God’s love, our hearts will compel us to help our neighbors. God’s love must be shared in word and action. Please continue to pray for those affected by the tornadoes in the south, and I hope that everyone will find a way to share God’s love with them. Blessings!

 

Dan

Welcome to Church and tea! My name is Dan. I am the Director of Congregational Vitality for the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. This is where I do some reflecting out loud, usually over a glass of sweet tea. Feel free to pour yourself a glass and join me!

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