Amazing Stories of Grace Pour in from Ellis County / Glenn Heights Tornado Response Team

by Rev. Laraine Waughtal* (Jan. 18, 2016)
The clean-up process continues in all of the areas effected by the December tornadoes. Some area s could take another 4-8 weeks for just the clean-up phase to be completed. Currently Early Response Teams (ERTs) from Midlothian, First Mansfield, Morgan Mill, First Hillsboro, Wesley Chapel - Gohlson, White's Chapel, St. John the Apostle, Community of Hope, First Burleson, First Weatherford and First Hurst UMCs are on the scene and lending a hand. 195 Methodists working a total (so far) of 1,500 volunteer hours. It is really awesome and inspiring to see the church being the church.
As the work continues by our ERTs in cooperation with other agencies, we continue to hear amazing miracle stories. 
One of those tales came to us from members of Ovilla UMC. Mr. Vasquez and his ten-year-old son, who are members at Ovilla, were home when the storms were striking.  Mr Vasquez shared with us that his son began insisting that they go to the bathroom to take cover.  Mr. Vasquez, who is home recovering from back surgery, kept telling him everything was fine. However, his son kept insisting they needed to go. Finally, Mr. Vasquez stiffly got up from the couch and went to the front door and opened it with his son standing beside him and stated, “See, it’s just a storm. There is no tornado.”  However, his son would not give up and told his Dad, “Dad, we have to get in the bathroom now!”  Mr. Vasquez admitted that he finally relented just to get his son quiet.  So, they went to the bathroom and got into the tub. Five seconds later the tornado struck their home.  His son is his hero for listening to that “inner voice” and continuing to insist with his stubborn dad.
Another family shared with us as we stood in front of their destroyed home that they did not have the chance to get to their usual spot and had only made it to the hallway when the tornado hit. We all turned and looked, and the only two walls and ceiling left standing, were those walls that made up the hallway. The rest of the house - including their normal "safe place" - had been blown away.
Another man, told us that his wallet was sitting on his kitchen counter when the tornado struck his home. He too survived, but his wallet was long gone and he was dreading trying to get a new drivers license, credit cards, etc. The next day he received a phone call. The person said they lived in Frisco (approximately 45 miles away as the crow flies) and they found his wallet in their yard with all his information, license and credit cards still in the wallet.
Over and over again we heard amazing stories.  And, even as we continue the Early Response Team effort meetings are beginning now for the Long Term Recovery effort for our mission teams to respond.  Patience is a virtue and that will still be a few months down the road.  Please, pray about making a financial donation to the Ellis County / Glenn Heights Tornado Disaster Relief Fund by sending a check to the Central Texas Conference Service Center (3200 E. Rosedale St., Fort Worth, Texas, 76105) - please note on the check that this is for Ellis County/Glenn Heights Tornado Relief. You can also send funds to the UMCOR Disaster Relief Advance Special No. 901670.
*Laraine is the disaster response coordinator for the Central Texas Conference.