Then in their trouble, they called to the Lord,
and he saved them from their distress.
He calmed the raging storm,
and the waves became quiet.
As hurricane Irma was approaching the Southern United States, and being right in the middle of the State of Florida, my family and I had to decide what to do…as I was preparing to head out west, to New Mexico for our WonderFull Weekend event.
After six months of preparation for a church—this event is not easy to cancel—and reschedule. Hundreds of posters had been printed; postcards had been mailed to every home—lots of things are happening to make it a success-filled event. That aside, First Baptist Church of Tucumcari, New Mexico and pastor John Hinze was very accommodating. He called and let me know that they would do whatever I felt needed to be done—rescheduling the event, etc., to do what was best for my family. My wife and I decided it would be best for me to go. After all, the storm would be over by the time I’d be done in NM. Of course, that meant that I might not be able to get back home, as planned.
So, as I wrapped up Sunday night at the church—Irma started heading up the Florida peninsula coming not from the east coast as originally forecasted—but hitting the west coast—and the eye was to pass right over our home about 3:00 am, Monday, September 11. So, between great services at FBC I watched the weather, re-arranged my flights (more than twice), shuffled rental cars—and made plans on how to maneuver home.
To make a long story a bit shorter here are the details: The wind and rain were monitored by my wife at home. 70+ gusts in our area were reported. We lost power about 1:00 am on Monday the 11th. Shingles are missing; fence down and a bit of water soaking a portion one of the bedroom carpets was the extent of the damage. About three days without power. Nothing to complain about.
I was able to re-route and get to New Orleans by Monday night. Then I drove up to Clinton, Mississippi to see my oldest daughter. It was a blessing to see her all day on Tuesday. Which also happened to be my 45th birthday. :0) It was a joy being with her! Irma had decided to come up towards Atlanta and B’ham—most flights were canceled from there Monday and Tuesday. I had booked a flight out of Birmingham for Wednesday afternoon–and hopefully after all airports had re-opened.
The timing worked out perfectly. And I was able to get home by Wednesday night. We are so thankful for His provision for our family during the storm—and pray that those who lost loved ones would know the peace that comes from a trust in a living, loving, God.
First Baptist experienced His wonder, too! We recorded 28 brand-new salvations for Christ! 30 folks made recommitments, and at least 20 made decisions to be salt and light in their community this week! We reached more than a 1,000 in the local schools; and saw more than 500 attend the services throughout the weekend!
Your continued prayers for the people of South Texas and all of Florida are so much appreciated!
(The posted photo is the drive into my office building, on Monday, September 11, 2017, after Irma passed over.)
Sharing His Wonder,