This parish family came through a recent tornado, but their description is harrowing:
I was reading to the kids, when the house started shaking and got our attention. When we looked out the window, we saw horizontal rain and our weeping willow almost flat to the ground and branches out horizontal looking like a giant broom. Then I noticed our small work trailer pointing the wrong way. The lull from the eye of the storm was there in just a few minutes, and I ran out to inspect for damage (and get *****'s car in the garage), and found the trailer had been pushed up over the chalk blocks, spun around to nearly 270 degrees from its starting position, back to a little less than 180 degrees,then pushed back about 10 feet just barely nicking the garage and wedging against the travel trailer. There was clear evidence of a near miss, and I ran back inside as the back end of the storm started pummeling hail and howling the wind back up. In about another 15 minutes or so, we caught the beginning of the sunset. We were truly fortunate to have only the minor scratches to our trailers and garage. I wish I could have shared it better, but it was a powerful reminder to us of how powerful nature is, and at the same time, how gracious God is. We are truly blessed. We don't deserve it, but we are. And we're grateful.
In our neighbor state, Iowa, the town of Parkersburg was hit hard and suffered fatalities among the wrecked buildings. It is the home town of our parish Sunday School Director, and Good Shepherd has been raising money to send for relief efforts. I encourage you to give through trusted disaster relief agencies or, if you are moved to help Parkersburg specifically, you can send help via Church of the Good Shepherd, 2707 W. 33rd St., Sioux Falls, SD 57105.
Other parts of the Midwest are dealing with floods. Then there are the disasters in China and Myanmar/Burma.
O GOD, merciful and compassionate, who art ever ready to hear the prayers of those who put their trust in thee; Graciously hearken to us who call upon thee, and grant us thy help in this our need; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.