Friday, May 31, 2013

Our May 20th Experience.

If you've followed the news for the past 11-12 days, then I'm sure you've seen footage of the horrible storms and tornadoes that ravaged many parts of Oklahoma on May 19th and May 20th. 
I wanted to share with you my husband's experience on May 20th.  Andrew was in Newcastle, Oklahoma that day working.  He left early that morning and planned on working there all day long.  That same Monday morning, I headed to take my oldest to pre-school.  Each and every day, I pray with my children and cloak our day in prayer.  That day was no different.  On the way to school I prayed the following:
Thank you, Lord, for our family.  Thank you for the constant hedge of protection over each of us.  Thank you that your guardian angels are encamped around us always.  Thank you, Lord, that no weapon formed against us will prosper, no evil will befall us, nor any plague come near us.  Thank you for blessing each of us with long, healthy, peaceful and prosperous lives, in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

As I went about my day in Broken Arrow, my husband went about his day in Newcastle, Oklahoma.  Later that afternoon, my husband and two other employees were working on the interior concrete of a home when one of the employees saw the tornado on the ground headed towards them only two houses away.  My husband and his employees had merely seconds to take shelter before the tornado hit.  My husband and one employee took shelter in a bath tub, while the other employee took shelter in an interior closet.  The tornado hit the home and basically leveled it, ripping the roof off and leaving only partial walls which were shifted 15-feet off of the slab.  As my husband took shelter, he cried out, "Jesus, save me!"  He prayed Psalm 91:15-16 while the walls began to collapse around him:

"He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation."
After the storm settled, my husband and the other employee dug out of about 4-feet of rubble and debris.  They then called out for the third employee.  All three men were safe and virtually unharmed.  With only a scratch here and there, they were basically unscathed after enduring a horrific force of nature.
They immediately went to other home sites around them, looking for other survivors and trying to help those in need.  My husband's truck was totaled in the tornado, so my husband and the other two men then set out on foot trying to seek shelter and find help.

The first place my husband and his co-workers sought help was the New Castle Walmart.  Even though they were in a strange town, Walmart was a familiar site.  My husband and his co-workers were dirty from the home collapsing on top of them and dirty from the storm debris.  Their phones were not working and they simply were seeking shelter, something to drink and maybe somewhere to clean up.  As the men approached the Walmart, they hoped to seek a safe haven from the catastrophic events that they had just endured.  However, Walmart staff turned the men as well as other tornado survivors away.  It was disheartening to hear that my husband and his co-workers, in a time of desperate need, were turned away to seek help elsewhere.  My husband as well as other storm victims, set out on foot to find shelter and help elsewhere.
The men finally made it to a local Braum's and met a woman who just happened to be in the same neighborhood that my husband and his employees had also been in during the tornado.  The fellow survivor mentioned that someone was giving her a ride to the local hotel and mentioned to Andy that this person might also give them a ride there.  My husband was then introduced to the "Good Samaritan" who offered my husband a ride to the hotel where he could seek shelter for the night until he was able to head back home.  On the drive to the hotel, my husband talked with the woman (Good Samaritan) about a few things.  From their conversation, it was obvious that the woman was also a Christian.  The Good Samaritan said that she was headed to Sallisaw, Oklahoma for a funeral and asked my husband where he lived.  My husband knew that Broken Arrow wasn't too far out of the way on the drive to Sallisaw, but knowing that the woman was traveling alone, my husband didn't want to ask for a ride.  After all, these three men were complete strangers to this Good Samaritan and my husband didn't want to make the woman feel uncomfortable by asking her for a ride to Broken Arrow.
Upon arriving at the hotel, the other tornado survivor went to check-in with the front desk.  The Good Samaritan and my husband continued talking when out of the blue she asked, "So, would you and your friends like a ride to Broken Arrow?"  My husband was stunned.  Obviously, this woman had to hear from God that it was OK to help these men, these complete strangers.  The Good Samaritan had to have a complete peace and know that she could help them.  My husband and his employees were thrilled and arrived back in Broken Arrow around 10pm that evening on May 20th.
The Good Samaritan started her day off in New Mexico, got stuck in the New Castle Braums because of the tornado and then met my husband.  This Good Samaritan is a Christian and wanted to lend a hand.  This Good Samaritan reminds me of Matthew 25:40: "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."
Please continue to pray for Oklahoma.  We are in the path of more storms this evening and potential tornadoes.  In fact, there was a tornado touch down only about 1.5 miles away from our home last night.  Be alert and stay safe!
Blessings To You,
Toni Keltner
Shower of Hope Oklahoma
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