For anyone who's watched the news over the last four days, you know that there's been horrific and severe storms across most of the southern states and up the East coast. For us Arkansan's it hit Sunday evening. We heard the sirens start and we began rounding up the kids to put them in a closet under our stairs. After living through the horrible tornados that passed through Birmingham and Tuscaloosa a few years back, we always get on heightened alert. Adam went to get the kids bike helmets (a trick we learned in AL) and we listened as Ned and the rest of the Channel 7 Weather Team talked about a tornado in Ferndale and out toward Roland (both about 15-20 minutes from our house). We had the kids stay in the closet and we prayed for safety.
Thankfully, for us, it was just a drill, we were safe. It was a completely different story for so many though. I woke up early this morning and laid in the bed just praying for all the families effected and hurt by the storm, for God to put His perfect, extra portion of peace on them all because I cannot imagine what they're going through.
This morning I laid there and cried as I read this blog post from The Hodgepodge Darling She shared the story of her good friend April Smith who lives in Vilonia, which was hit tremendously hard on Sunday. It is a powerful story of faith and hope, but just a fair warning, it is gut wrenching yet inspiring. This is all that was left of their home!
And right before the storm reached Mayflower and Vilonia it had already struck homes and lives in Ferndale and Roland where we know many people who were affected by the storm. Some good friends of ours, the Kinzler's, were thankfully not at home when the terrifying tornado barreled through Roland. They've been living at her parents house for a few weeks before they move out of state. Nicole's sweet parents home with stood major roof damage and some windows were blown out, but the most devastation was the amount of trees (over their many acres of land) that were thrown like toothpicks all over the place. It truly is amazing what the tornadic winds could do in just minutes!! The pictures
Do not do the scene justice!
Tuesday night our small group from church rallied around them to help how ever we could, picking up tree limbs, pulling insulation from the bushes and the guys cut down a lot of pine trees. It's amazing to look around their property, it looks like it could be a logging company. The amount of trees that fell during the tornado is amazing!
When we arrived that night I saw this beautiful etching into one of the tree stumps in their front yard. If you know Mr. Butkowski at all, you know that he is a talented man. He can do almost anything from pottery to welding to photography. He chose to praise the Lord by giving glory to the One who'd saved their lives, what a beautiful carving! We are all so thankful that no one in their family was injured. What a blessing.
Unfortunately, that was not the case for everyone. There were 15 fatalities in Arkansas from the storm that night, a precious family of eleven lost their husband/father and two daughters.
Mr. Tittle was on staff at FamilyLife, I did not know the family personally but those who did have nothing but wonderful things to say about them and their walk with the Lord. Please pray for this dear family as they grieve, mourn and try to begin rebuilding their lives. The Chick-Fil-A on Cantrell is donating a portion of their proceeds to help tornado victims, particularly, the Tittle's, on Monday, May 5th, so please consider going and supporting this sweet family.
There was another friend of mine whose family was devastated by the tornado. You can read about Leslie Kingrey's terrifying experience here there is both praise and pain in this story as well.
There are so many in need in the state of Arkansas right now and there's many ways to help. If you'd like to donate toward the Tornado Relief, you can click here where our church has a place to give money toward helping with the cleanup. Hearing the stories of faith and hope are truly inspiring. May Gods spirit continue to be poured out upon our state and may those whose lives are forever changed from the storm be covered in His peace.
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