Wilkesboro, NC, Residents See the Light After the Storm

By   •   April 17, 2024

The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team is offering the people of Wilkesboro—a small town at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains—emotional and spiritual support in Jesus’ Name. God is at work in the wake of a tornado that ripped through this North Carolina town.

Jake* made a run for the basement on April 11 as a powerful EF1 tornado tore through his neighborhood in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

“It was a bad night,” he said.

Chaplains Alan and Joy Rowe stood in Jake’s yard amid a trail of debris and fallen branches left behind by the storm and offered a listening ear as he processed the scary event.

His girlfriend was so traumatized that she had a panic attack and was hospitalized the next day.

He later told chaplains that if he hadn’t escaped, he’s not sure where he would spend eternity.

Alan and Joy shared with Jake that he could have peace with God through His Son, Jesus Christ—and be sure of eternal life with God.

Jake told the chaplains that he wanted that peace and assurance. He prayed with them to turn his life over to Christ.

“It really is a good day,” Jake smiled after he prayed.

Joy noted the stark contrast between the two events in Jake’s yard that week—the first filled with terror and the next filled with joy.

“Standing right there where the dark storm had left so much damage, he received the Light of life,” she said.

I Want to Know the ‘Alive’ God

Anil* moved from Nepal to Wilkesboro with his wife and two small children several years ago.

“My parents are Hindu, and my brother is a Christian pastor in Nepal,” he explained to the Rowes in broken English. “When I call my family, my brother prays to Jesus for me, and my parents pray to the Hindu gods.”

He pulled out a booklet containing a handwritten paragraph about Jesus that his 10-year-old son, Sagar,* gave him.

Sagar wrote it during Good News Club—a ministry that offers children ages 5 to 12 Christ-centered activities in schools, community centers, and churches.

“My son has been talking to me about Jesus,” Anil said. “I need to know the real God—the alive God.”

Joy’s professional background is working with people who speak English as a second language. That helped her navigate the language barrier and explain to Anil how he could have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

“We broke down every little piece of the Gospel so he could understand,” said Joy.

After going through the “Steps to Peace With God”—a booklet from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association that explains the Gospel—Anil prayed to ask “the real God” to give him a new heart and life.

Anil said he will ask his son to read the Bible to him in Hindi so he can grow in his faith.

“God was already working on his heart before we got there,” said Joy. “That was a God appointment right there.”

>>Please pray for the people of Wilkesboro as they recover from this destructive tornado, and for chaplains as they serve there.

*Names changed for privacy.