It only takes a moment for things to change. Most of us have experienced that in some way over the last several months.
Imagine, one evening sitting down to have dinner and hearing the loud roaring sound of a locomotive coming straight for your home.
This is exactly what the residents of Onalaska, a small east Texas town of about 2800 people located on Lake Livingston experienced on the evening of Wednesday April 22nd, 2020. In a moment, a category three tornado came raging across the lake gaining substantial strength as it was destroying everything in its path.
This swirl of fury was quickly picking up speed of up to 140 miles per hour while heading straight for the residential area along the lake. It was moving so fast that most people were unaware that this horrific tornado of fury was headed straight for them.
The report was that (306) homes were damaged with (173) homes totally destroyed. It was a miracle that only (3) individuals lost their lives with many hospitalized and severely injured. Our hearts go out to all of those who lost loved ones and also lost everything they owned except for the clothes they were wearing.
Over the years, disaster relief has been a vital outreach of Kenton Pate Ministries. We have had the opportunity to help thousands of people who have been affected by natural disasters and devastation with debris removal, food, clothing, emergency assistance, prayer and support.
This outreach is so vital because this is a time when people are so fragile and need to FEEL the love of Jesus like never before. It is such a crucial time to allow people to experience who God is by experiencing generous acts of kindness and knowing that others truly care. As the body of Christ this is a perfect time for us to SHINE in a dark, scary, uncertain situation.
Together, you empower us to reach many who have lost everything and who are working through the trauma of loss and devastation.
We arrived on the scene to offer help with the clean-up, but also to pray for those who had lost EVERYTHING. So many who survived the storm were emotionally traumatized and honestly in a state of shock and extreme dismay and hopelessness.
In a moment they had lost friends, neighbors and watched as their home and all of their belongings were ripped to pieces. Many were left with only a pile of rubble as they shared the memories of raising their children in the home and their dreams of what the future held. In an instant they felt as if all of that was gone forever!
However, we heard so many stories of how God had spared lives and protected so many from harms way. Many shared how within seconds before they had made a decision to go from one room to another, where if they had not acted upon that decision, they would have been killed by a tree crashing through the roof and crushing everything it fell upon. Some moved only moments before from the upstairs to the downstairs only to find out that the whole roof was ripped off and everything was literally gone!
There is a large elderly Veteran population within this community, and we have had the opportunity to serve many of them. We have prayed for them, encouraged them and helped them with clean-up. We were able to help get them the assistance that they needed and help walk them through the process with insurance adjusters, Veterans benefits and emergency shelter.
Our hearts were broken as an 84 year old veteran man and his wife stood on the front porch of his house and cried knowing that he had lost everything and didn’t have a place to go. We were able to assist them with resources to take necessary steps to move forward. There were many more just like him, standing in a pile of rubble not knowing what to do next. We know that God is the master at taking broken things and putting them back together, better than they were before. We know that God can take things that look like total devastation and bring about great restoration in the lives of those who will call out on HIM!
Please join with us to pray for these precious families as we continue to assist them in putting their lives back together.