I was going to post a Chernobyl commemoration on or shortly after 26 April 2011, twenty five years to the day of the tragic explosion in the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine. I wrote my last update on the disaster’s anniversary, but then my plans to commemorate Chernobyl here were laid aside.
On 27 April 2011, an EF-4 tornado hit Ringgold, GA, and its path went right over my parents’ property. They were in the house when the storm hit, traveling 65mph (105 km/hr) and carrying 175mph (282 km/hr) winds, and though their house was damaged and all 36 of their large trees blown down, they were unharmed! God graciously kept them safe.
I took off work Thursday and Friday, the days immediately after the tornado, to help my parents begin clearing their yard.
Thursday three volunteers with chainsaws introduced themselves to my parents and asked if they wanted help cutting and clearing the 36 fallen trees from my parents acre and a half. The Ents lamented (roof-top video here), and the work began:
The volunteers who came Thursday returned Friday, Saturday, and again Sunday afternoon. Friends of my parents, new friends from repeat volunteering (including some German neighbors), and friends from my parents (and my) church. The fourth day after the storm we estimate upwards of 30 people came by to help at various points that afternoon, and five or six guys were running chainsaws at any time. We’d put tarps on the roof and cut many of the trees.
Saturday 7 May, we organized another volunteer workday, with the intent of moving the four or five huge piles of cut tree limbs to the edge of the property where the city would pick them up. Much to our surprise some folks from the Georgia Baptist disaster relief showed up and supplied my parents with two bobcats and operators, who moved the piles and provided invaluable help. With the help of about 25 volunteers throughout the day, by that evening, the yard was cleared of fallen trees:
During the storm, and in the days following it, I continually found myself drawn to Psalm 29:
Ascribe to the Lord Glory
A Psalm of David.
Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.
The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord, over many waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord makes the oaks to shake
and strips the forests bare,
and in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace!
I’ve seen in my parents’ response to the storm that the Lord does bless his people with peace. He showed his incredible power sending the storm, incredible mercy sparing my parents’ lives and house, and has given them many opportunities to help others see his glory and grace.
Please pray that my parents will have ongoing strength to continue the post-storm rebuilding.