I just wanted to send all of you a little note about an experience that happened to my family last night.
We had just finished supper and were getting ready to drive up to Cedarville College, which is a Christian College 45 minutes north east of where we live. Spring Valley Academy, where Tom teaches, was taking a group of students up there to a Christian Concert (Caedmon’s Call) on Friday night and we were going to pick up the tickets for his students. As we were getting ready to leave, David, being the “charming” 3-year-old that he is, kept saying, “I don’t want to go”, “I want to stay home”, and wouldn’t put on his shoes, use the potty or anything. It was getting later and later and Tom and I were getting just a little impatient, but trying to encourage him to “hurry up”. Finally, things were in line and we were all buckled into our mini-van headed for Cedarville College. As we were leaving we noticed on the
T. V. that there was a thunderstorm watch, but didn’t think anything of it, as those are quite common in Ohio. Also, it had started raining quite hard outside, but again we just figured it all would pass shortly.
As we pulled onto I-675 north, the rain seemed to let up and things were looking pretty good for travel. About 15 minutes into our trip David fell asleep, he usually is cranky when he’s tired, so we were glad he was getting the rest he needed, as well as giving us a little time to ourselves. After pulling onto Route 35 and heading east, the sky started turning dark again and it started raining again. We were driving along, heading into a little town called Xenia, enjoying listening to our own music and having adult conversation (since David was asleep :-)) when we saw a cop car come up behind us. We were speeding a little, and at first we were worried, but he went flying by, so we figured he was chasing “somebody else”.
Less than a half mile down the road we noticed there were a few cars stopped in the road, so we slowed down and noticed there was a tree in the road. “That won’t stop us” we thought, “we’ll just cut through this little plaza over here and be back on Route 35 in no time”. That’s exactly what we did, but we were not prepared for what we saw in that plaza. First of all, it was very dark in the plaza. Well it was dark outside, but we wondered why there were no lights on. Then we saw it, it kind of hit us all at once.
There were no roofs on any of the stores in the plaza. When I say stores, I mean large stores like Wal-Mart, Kroger, Fashion Bug, etc., etc. Branches were all over the parking lot, as well as whole trees that were uprooted. In addition, sections of the plaza as well as a tire store and several other smaller buildings were completely unrecognizable, they were smashed and destroyed so totally. People were everywhere looking for their cars, trying to get help. About that time emergency vehicles started arriving and we knew that help was on the way. We called a friend of ours to see what they were saying on the weather and all the news was saying, at that point, was that there were severe thunderstorms with some possible rotation in the clouds. We knew better than that.
All I can say is, God can use little children to accomplish His perfect timing and I know that he spared us from this tornado. It has taught me a bit more patience with my little one, that’s for sure. What an awe-inspiring thought that God can use even the tiniest of us to make a difference.
FYI: Today, they are still assessing the damage and as it has only been light for an hour or so, I am sure they will continue to find more. As of 6:30 this morning they were not even officially admitting that it was a tornado (although a large number of people saw funnel clouds touching down — how can that be??) Assessing it at level 3/4 with 5 being the worst. Please pray for the victims of this terrible storm. But I am praising God that he had his hand over our family last night — that 10 minutes later made all the difference!
39CA06B6.BE501649@andrews.edu (Send on Thu, 21 Sep 2000)