Understandably, most residents and survivors of the February 15 F3 tornado which touched down more than a dozen times over a 22 mile path in Brunswick County, NC are visibly shaken. Many are genuinely afraid for their lives. Grief affects us all in different ways. Believers have hope that this world simply doesn’t know. Jesus said in John 10:10 that the thief comes to steal kill and destroy, but that He has come to bring life to the fullest. It’s that sense of hope and comfort that we take with us into a situation such as the aftermath of a tornado. We can’t change the circumstances or replace what has been lost, but we can bring a hug, an opportunity to share one’s story, a prayer of comfort and healing and much needed hands on help in overwhelming circumstances.
Pastor Steve Smith shared with me that several folks on Brookeshire Street and Cambria Court in Ocean’s Ridge Plantation shared the same sentiment with him, “Thank God you’re here, we didn’t know what we were going to do.”
The middle aged son of two survivors shared that his 87 year old parents who live at 6956 Cambria Court had no warning but the noise as the tornado picked up the home two lots over and slammed it into the home next door. They both grabbed their blankets and made their way out of the bedroom into a hallway just as the pressure blew all exterior windows and doors out of their home. They were unharmed, but terrified.
Joshua Riley, Pastor of Long leaf Baptist Church of Wilmington prays with survivor, Fred Thomas
Fred Thomas who lives at 272 Brookshire Place, about five homes away from ground zero, considers he and his bride to have been best friends of Richard and Phyllis O’Connor of Cambria County who both lost their lives in the storm. He shared that the tornado alert arrived on his phone about five minutes too late for those in the neighborhood. Through tears and after much time spent in prayer over he and his wife, Fred was thrilled to share that a quilt which Mrs. O’Connor had designed and completed in their local quilting group was found about 13 miles away in the town of Ash, Brunswick County. Link here to a Star News story about the quilt:
Baby quilt finds its way home after Brunswick County tornado winds take it away
Buddy Osborne, resident of Shallotte and former Missions Director at FBC park Street in Charlottesville, VA, shares the following stories.
“ The first couple I spoke with were very kind and offered the use of their restroom to our team. They shared with me how grateful they were that the Lord had protected them and He still has purpose for their lives. I responded to them how each of us need to understand the brevity of this life and the importance of having a relationship with Jesus Christ. The lady quickly spoke up with these words, “I just don’t think many of the people in our community GET IT! (With emphasis) I didn’t sense that she lacked compassion for them, but that maybe this was an eye opening experience for them to be more bold in their witness. You could obviously tell that this event, though tragic, will turn out to be a blessing in their lives.” Buddy Osborne
A team of 13 from the Cape Fear Network of Baptist Churches and the Brunswick Baptist Association served the community of Ocean Ridge Plantation, February 17, 2021
Pictured left to right: top left, Buddy Osborne, John McIntyre, Jeffry Long, Laura Roebuck, Caylee Johnson, Eric Brown, Front Left, James Connolly, Mark Johnson, Kyle Sullivan, Humberto Mendoza. Not pictured: Preston Casteen, Norman Horne, Steve Smith and Tad Thomas.
Pastor Steve Smith of Seagate Baptist Church, Pastor Humberto Mendoza of Primera Iglesias Beautista and Tad Thomas serve survivors on Brookshire Place.
Tad Thomas and Jeff Long, both of Wrightsville Beach Baptist Church, serve survivors in Ocean Ridge Plantation.
Devastation left by the F3 Tornado