Saturday afternoon, we finally regained power! Since Thursday, the electricity went off and the news broadcasts yielded nothing but ominous reports of a Category 5 hurricane which was maliciously making its way to the port city of Wilmington, North Carolina. What began as a tropical storm in the Atlantic rapidly gained strength with unprecedented speed. Forecasters predicted that, not only would Florence leave in its wake a destruction of unparalleled magnitude, it would also result in the loss of billions of dollars for this state of North Carolina. Added to that, there was no way to predict how many lives would be lost to the voracious appetite of this Goliath that kept increasing in strength.
“Florence” means “blossoming” or “to flower”, and is a direct contradiction to anything of beauty or life-giving. This tropical storm in the Atlantic quickly evolved to a Cat 5 monstrosity whose bulls-eye was Wilmington. We began to pray in earnest for the Lord to send this leviathan back into the sea from whence she originated. Not only was Wilmington on her radar, but so was Jacksonville, where we reside. It’s only a little over an hour’s drive from here to the outskirts of this fifth largest city of the Tarheel state. Florence would have ranked among the chief of the hurricanes which left nothing but carnage in its wake EXCEPT FOR …
Pastors in North Carolina began to sound the alarm for Christians to fast and pray from 6:00 a.m. through 6:00 p.m. on Thursday and not to relent until their prayers were answered. Prit and I sat and prayed in the dark. We have prayed through many hurricanes in Haiti. In fact, our daughter, Deb, was born 30 years ago this month during Hurricane Gilbert. Last year, around this same time, we were also imploring the Lord to divert Hurricane Irma away from the north of Haiti. Irma was already so powerful that it was registering on seismic instruments! We trembled in horror as we pled with the Lord to have mercy on that little island once again. She has already suffered so much destruction! Not only were we praying for the Haitian people, but for the life of our son, John, who was already back in Haiti at this time. Last year, Irma made it to the north coast and suddenly veered away from Haiti at the last second. As John put it, ”We dodged a bullet.” I shudder even now to think of what might have been.
While praying on Thursday night, Prit and I sat together listening to the foreboding sound of the outer bands of the hurricane winds coming in our direction. I have never heard anything so dreadful. The only thing I can think to compare it to is the noise one hears while sitting in an automatic car wash that cleans and buffers your car — only AMPLIFIED a thousand times. Finally, exhausted, we claimed Psalm 3:5 and fell asleep. Awaking the next morning, we could still hear the foreboding sound of impending destruction. After re-charging our cell phones with our car battery, we followed the news of Florence’s path which had now begun to take a bizarre turn as a Fox journalist described it. We did not doubt for a second that the incense of the prayers turning heavenward was thwarting the path of this beast. Like we have so often experienced when we prayed in Haiti, progress was slow — but steady, and the path began to shift. However, the continual predictions of much destruction that would be caused through heavy rains and flooding and ultimately, the loss of life, kept us on our knees. Because of the slowdown of Florence’s path, it did indeed begin to wreak havoc on this state. Even so, the death toll would have been so much greater if destruction had had its way. Florence’s path continued to shift, and move towards South Carolina. But, not before it caused widespread flooding. At present, the number of deaths recorded in North Carolina is 11 people. Florence was slowly reduced to a Cat 4, Cat 3, Cat 2, Cat 1, and finally, a Tropical Storm. Even as I write, Onslow County is completely surrounded by water. No one can enter, and no one can leave. We haven’t even been able to leave our neighborhood and venture into town due to all the flooding. God be praised, we have NO damage to our home or property.
We continue to ask for your prayers for the folks who did suffer loss. We also ask for you to pray for all those who are still in harm’s way. We thank all of you who were praying for us. We also thank our Haitian friends who were giving themselves to prayer and supplication in our behalf as well.
Pritchard: email@example.com/ 910 703 3098 / Haiti: 011 509 4160 4096
Dana: firstname.lastname@example.org / 910 916 7229 / Haiti: 011 509 3272 5600
John: email@example.com / 910 581 0390 / Haiti: 011 509 4785 9023
NOTE: Our stateside #’s do not work when we are in Haiti.
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