‘The Lord’s Good to Us’: Alabamians Cling to Faith in Wake of Tornado

By Todd Sumlin   •   January 30, 2021

chaplain prays with locals circled in front of damaged home
Crisis-trained chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team are offering emotional and spiritual care within the Birmingham suburbs after a deadly EF-3 tornado uprooted the heart of Fultondale, Alabama.
Chaplains walk through the same neighborhood where a 14-year-old boy was killed in the twister.
chaplain coordinator talking with AL resident
Chaplain coordinator John McGuire talks with a local about his experience in the storm.
The tornado injured many more after touching down on January 25. A little more than 8,000 people call the northern suburb of Birmingham home, and chaplains are ministering alongside Samaritan's Purse volunteers who are helping with cleanup.
“The Lord’s good to us, isn’t He?” 92-year-old resident Ruth Hewitt asked chaplains Sam and Ethel Landry during their visit. “I wouldn’t be here without Him.” During their visit, Hewitt sat with her Bible turned to 1 Corinthians 13 and shared how she attended a Billy Graham Crusade in nearby Birmingham in her 30s. Since then, she's continued to listen to Mr. Graham’s radio and TV programs and keeps up with Franklin Graham’s ministry today.
"Let’s pray for this community as they mourn this loss of life and the destruction in their town," Franklin Graham shared on his Facebook page last week.
Hotel ripped apart by a tornado
Two of Fultondale's hotels were heavily damaged.
The toll isn't just physical for affected homeowners. Natural disasters sometimes can compromise or destroy items that hold significant sentimental value like a stuffed bear, or hold vital importance like a birth certificate.
“We’re blessed. I don’t believe in luck; I believe in blessed,” one resident told BGEA as a tear slipped down between her sunglasses and face mask. “Thank God—and my brother survived that.”
Dog sits in front of tornado devastation
Glimpses of love aren't hard to find in this community as neighbors help one another. In this photo, pieces of a home appear to have melded together to form a cross, a striking reminder of God's love for us. Learn more about the peace God can bring no matter what storm you are facing.
Stationed at First Baptist Church of Gardendale, chaplains listen, talk and when appropriate pray with residents walking through the aftermath of this tragic storm.
Please continue to pray for this hurting community, including first responders and those mourning the loss of a Fultondale High School student. This tragic natural disaster has impacted so many.