BGEA Chaplains Minister to Claremont, NC, Tornado Survivors

By   •   January 12, 2024

Chaplains listen as a homeowner shares his grief after a tragic tornado ripped through his neighborhood, killing one man and injuring others.

It only took 45 seconds for a terrifying EF-1 tornado to tear through Sam’s* yard—and turn his life upside down.

Gathering his fiancée, her mother, and the couple’s two young boys in a hallway, Sam heard windows shattering and wind rushing in through the chimney of his childhood home. Fortunately, their house was spared from major damage, while 30 surrounding trees in the yard were knocked down.

In the wake of the tornado, chaplains Alan and Joy Rowe from the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) offered Claremont residents emotional and spiritual support and a chance to work through their trauma.

“How are you holding up?” Joy asked.

Sam really didn’t know how to answer the question. He had been going on adrenaline, and the reality of what happened was beginning to set in.

Dustin Ray Weaver—the 39-year-old man killed in the tornado—lived just up the road. And Sam’s fiancée had tried to revive him, to no avail.

After talking with Sam, the Rowes prayed with him, reminding him of God’s great love for him and of the peace that He offers through His Son, Jesus Christ.

“We stand here looking at miracles,” Alan prayed. “Lead this family on the path you want them to take.”

God Hears Our Prayers

“It’s a miracle that the tree didn’t crush this house” chaplain Alan Rowe said. He gave praise to God as he and his wife, Joy, stood amazed at how many trees narrowly missed crashing onto one man’s trailer home.

Another man, Ray*, sat in his trailer and watched the storm through his window in horror.

“I sat right there and prayed,” Ray sobbed.

Tears streamed down his face as he expressed gratitude to God for sparing his life and his home.

“All the trees fell away from my house. God had His hands right here.”

Chaplains left Ray with a copy of “When Your Whole World Changes”—a short booklet to help him overcome trauma with God’s help.

“I can’t believe these people,” he shared, overwhelmed by the support of chaplains and volunteers from Christian humanitarian aid organization, Samaritan’s Purse. “They are really a blessing.”

Please pray for Sam, Ray, and the Claremont, NC, community, that God would provide help and healing as they pick up the pieces.

*Names changed for privacy.