Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member
So, as you all know we had quite a weekend the past few days. Power outages, heavy rain storms, and most damaging, tornados. Sadly, some lives were taken by these. Last night, after the power came on, I wrote a Facebook post about some of my impressions. Surprisingly, it got way more attention than it deserved and several more comments than usual. My part was minimal but the weekend gave me cause to think and reflect. So, I thought I would use the Facebook post as a base and expand on it some.
It all started Saturday night. About 5:30 or so our power suddenly went out. That has happened before and I assumed the power would be on before too long. We have had power outages here before but they have usually been short lived. So, I sat around in the dark that evening. It was actually quite pleasant. Instead of wasting the evening sitting around watching TV or whatever, I spent some time in prayer and reading the Word. I thought, “I could get used to this.”
On Sunday, I got up and started with my time with the Lord. I turned on my cell phone for a short time and checked for emails, etc. I knew that church had been cancelled but I also saw that the church building was a distribution center for supplies for those who were in need. I drove to Stonepoint and found what they needed for supplies. I jumped into my car and drove over to Brookshire’s. I rushed into the water aisle and grabbed some and got a few other items. As I walked around the store, I realized there were several other people who were doing the same thing. I didn’t know any of them but I knew that they were not just buying all these things for themselves. That gave me a lot of joy. I drove back to Stonepoint to drop my items off and I figured unless they needed me at the church, that would be the end of it. Soon, I saw Megan McGarrah and Hope Harlacher from GFA come in and we started talking. They talked to Pastor Brandon and found out there might be a need in Fruitvale. I checked with Pastor Brandon and he suggested I just follow him out to the town. So, Megan, Hope and I followed pastor B out to Fruitvale.
As we approached Fruitvale on highway 80, the first signs of the tornado I saw were two houses, one on each side of the highway. Both were heavily damaged and collapsed in. While I have been around, and even watched tornados before, but this was the first time I had seen tornado damage up-close and personal. It was rather sobering (Emily Hart from GFA used that word). My first inclination was to stop and get some pictures, but there were cars and people all over the area. Besides, I couldn’t lose Pastor Brandon whom I was following. So, I just prayed and kept moving. We arrived at what I guess was a gathering and supply distribution area. I figured I would be working a table or something like that. There seemed to be a lot of chaos trying to organize things but Pastor Brandon got things started.
Megan, Hope and I waited around for a while and soon were told get into our cars and follow some other vehicles. The house we went to was off the main highway and in an isolated area. The house was not too badly damaged, at least compared to the other houses I had just seen, but there were a lot of large trees broken down and we were there to help with removing the debris. I knew the work would be hard and physical for me but I was there and wanted to help. The tree limbs were huge for the most part but we dragged them over to an area where there was a wood chipper. As we were working, I saw a small plaque over the front door of the house that said “The Lord is my Shepherd.” That made me smile but still, it reminded me that life is so fragile. Unfortunately, I could only work a couple of hours. I don’t like being 70 at times. While I keep thinking I’m 25 and can do whatever I want, that just isn’t the case. Especially when it comes to helping at something like this. So, disappointed, I told Hope I needed to leave and headed home. Hope and Megan stayed on and worked a couple of other houses beside.
When I got home I cleaned up and then laid down and read the Word and prayed again. Soon neighbors came over to check on me. I was invited to dinner by my next-door neighbor as they had a generator and a camp stove. So, I had a nice dinner with them and we spent the evening watching a movie.
Monday morning arrived and we were still without power. I got up and again read the Word and prayed. Then about 10:30 I headed up to Wills Point to an appointment. Since I was in already town, I also took care of my chiropractor appointment that was scheduled for Wednesday. I thought that worked out just groovy!!! I came home and started the “no-power for two days cleanup.” I ended out throwing out some frozen food and think I still have more that I might need to throw out. But compared to others, my problems are minimal. I also learned that trying to melt dry ice is really cool (no pun intended)!!! I put it in my sink and when I let water run on it this white cloud rose from the sink! This gave me a lot of entertainment, but then again, I’m easily entertained. About 2PM I laid down on the bed and read my Bible. Soon, I heard a knock on the door and realized I had fallen asleep for a couple hours. That was weird as I never intentionally take naps (I don’t know why). But in this case, the nap took me. After answering the door, I laid back down and started reading again. I thought about having to sit around in the dark again and what to do with the time when the lights suddenly flashed on!! Our time of dark nights was over!
It’s funny. For the most part, I thoroughly enjoyed the darkness and solitude. Over the time, I spent more time in the Word and prayer than I had in a long time. I went over to neighbors for fellowship and had fellow staff stop by here to check on me. I read a lot from the book Radical. Ever since attending Secret Church a little while ago, I had wanted to re-read it. And I didn’t have any coffee for two days! Whoever would have thought I could do that? Anyway, I enjoyed the break from my “normal life” and in some regards, was a little sad to see it come back to “normal.” These past few days reminded me of how life was in the past and should be today. I saw the Church and community come alive and sacrifice time and money to help those in need. Many people caught in the tornados had stories of miracle escapes with their lives. I heard one of them today and it amazing to hear of the grace and mercy of our LORD. So, there is much joy that went along with all the tragedy. But there is also hurting for those who didn’t make it through the tornadoes.
So, what’s the bottom line? Here are a few thoughts I had during this time. God is in control, even of nature. God is still good, no matter what some people might think. These things have nothing to do with His love for His people. His love is still perfect. I saw the Church come together like I haven’t seen in some time. It wasn’t just Stonepoint, although I saw a lot of people from there helping. But there were also people from other churches, from GFA, and just people helping anyway they could. I believe the LORD was pleased. On a personal note, the weekend made me think about how I spend my time. I do seek to spend time daily, both in Bible study and prayer. But having all this time with nothing to do made me think of the time I waste just hanging out and doing whatever. I pray that the Lord will change that in my life. The weekend also made me think about small ways that I could just help or encourage people.
So, thank you to all who sacrificed time, money and labor to help those in need. I witnessed Galatians 6:10 lived out is so many ways this weekend: “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Thank you again and God bless you.