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Our Crazy Adventure in Tornado Alley

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7:33 a.m. “Stay weather alert today. OKC forecast is high to extreme risk of thunderstorm with tornado potential.” Clint

We were on track to travel to Moore, Oklahoma to help with cleanup.

The arrangements I had made for lodging and work assignments fell through on Tuesday. Churches in Moore were full of displaced families and volunteers. Hotels citywide were completely booked due to the college world series and 3 big softball tournaments.

At the last minute, a church in Bethany invited us to stay with them. The text above came from our contact there. It popped up on my phone yesterday morning.

By mid-afternoon, we had the church van loaded and headed out.

mywarminghouse.comThe radar on our weather apps looked absolutely wicked. We watched them constantly. A nasty storm hovered over the entire Oklahoma City area. It was monstrous in size and extremely intense.

One of our team members (Reggie) was about an hour ahead of us on the same highway. At 4:30, I texted to tell him, “Be safe. Big storms headed for OKC.”

I texted Clint at 6:16 p.m.

“Praying for you all. Storms look nasty on our weather app.”

Clint’s response shocked me.

“Thanks. Tornado currently 6 miles west of my house.”

Another tornado in OKC?!

Our team prayed and drove on.

Checked back with Clint at 6:52 p.m. His reply:

“In shelter. Roof toast from hail. Another tornado building to the west of us again.”

Meanwhile, Reggie had pulled off the road to take shelter at a Love’s Truck Stop.

We stopped for gas and one of our pastors called to suggest we eat dinner to give the storm time to pass through.

mywarminghouse.com

Oklahoma Sky

At dinner, we constantly checked our weather apps and watched the sky through the restaurant window. The storm squatted and stalled over Oklahoma City.

At 7:40 p.m., Clint texted again.

“We have huge tornadoes on I-40. Careful you don’t drive into the mess. I-40 is shut down. Multiple injuries, some fatalities.”

I contacted Reggie who was still hiding out at the truck stop. At 7:56 he responded with, “Lights are out. Store is running by generator.” He was trapped there until about 9:00 p.m.

And at 8:02 p.m.:

“I’m concerned. We are under warning until midnight and I don’t know if you will be able to get across OKC. With all the rain we’re getting, they may have everything shut down.” Clint

Clint called later to confirm huge power outages and flash floods in the city.

It was time to go home – and fast! Storms were approaching and wrapping around us to the north. Our little church van headed northwest until we learned Joplin was being hammered. We rerouted to a highway to the south trying to escape the storm.

At a toll booth, the woman told us to get off the road and take cover. There were tornado warnings all around us. And it was dark. We could easily drive right into one without ever seeing it.

We knew how big, bad (and slow-moving) the storm was. If we stopped, we could literally be trapped for hours in the most ferocious part of the storm. We drove on and moved out of its path.

At 11:21 p.m., another friend texted me. She was headed to a wedding in Tennessee.

“Hey Lisa! Where are ya’ll at now? We were driving to Tennessee and horrible storms made us stop. We don’t really know what to do. It’s just a car full of 5 girls. We’re in Rogersville.” They were hiding out at McDonald’s.

I’m happy to report Clint and his family survived the storm. Our team, Reggie, and the carload of girls – all made it home safely. And I am extremely thankful for God’s protection. (I’m also thankful for the group of people I got to share this adventure with.)

Our journey into tornado alley didn’t go as expected!

God had different plans for us. We got rerouted. We experienced fear, disappointment, and sadness. We invested a lot of time into something that didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to.

Those are the hazards of living life. I would much rather put myself out there, make myself available to God, and live life intentionally . . . fully . . . missionally during this short time I have here on earth than stay home and miss out on the adventure! 

“For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Are you a person who embraces the adventure and lives life fully? If not, what’s stopping you? What fears do you have?

Please pray for everyone affected by the storms.

Lisa~

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2 Comments

  1. Carey says:

    I grew up in Pampa, TX (youtube “Pampa, TX tornado”) and you’ll see why it’s relevant. You were in the midst of what many consider everyday (or at least “every year” life). But you were there for the sake of the KING, and His priorities and plans in redirecting you were no doubt exactly what needed to happen. I’m glad you were there, and that you were faithful in trusting Him in the midst of it all. Blessings to you!

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