On Wednesday afternoon, a very powerful wind storm passed through our area. Wind speeds of up to 70 miles per hour were recorded all over the region. These storms caused a tremendous amount of damage as houses had shingles and siding torn off, semi-trucks were blown off the road, power lines were destroyed as trees were knocked down We even lost a pine tree on the church property near the house. (Thank you to Fred Samuels for cutting it up! Now we need help getting it into the dumpster.) DTE reported that this was the largest weather related event in their history.
During our church service on Wednesday night we lost power shortly after I began preaching. We finished the service with a LED lantern on the pulpit so that I could read the Scriptures, my notes are on my iPad, so it proved the light needed to read my notes. It was a great service. The children also lost power and lights during Master Clubs. It was kind of amazing to see all of the cellphone screens light up as people tried to light up their Bibles. Some of the kids in Master Clubs said, “This is the greatest church service EVER!”
Like so many people in our area, our family spend several days without electrical power. We lost power at noon on Wednesday and did not have it turned back on until 10:30 Friday night. Some have not yet had their power restored We “coped” with the situation by setting up a gas generator to power a mini-fridge, space heater and a “charging stand” to power up our electronic devices (phones, tablets, etc.)
All of these things reminded me of my time in Wipim, Western Province, PNG. That area has no electrical power, very primitive “roads” and not much in the way of stores or civilization. When I was in PNG with Missionary Jason Russell we had to go to extraordinary lengths to communicate with the outside world. A couple of times a week we would drag his generator to the former government house to power up the satellite dish and modem to connect to the internet to send emails. Because there was no electrical power, there were no lights. Our entire day was determined by the rising and setting of the sun. We would teach in the Bible School until it got dark, and then we would go back to Brother Jason’s house and start over the next day. One night, after teaching for several hours, we heard a knocking on the gate. We went out to check on the noise and found many of the students from the Bible school standing at the gate. They asked if I would leach them more from the Bible. We sat in the living room and studied the Bible by candlelight for three hours.
As I considered these things several observations became obvious to me:
- We are too reliant and distracted by technology. We have gotten so tied into “apps” and social media that we have forgotten how to have personal relationships.
- God can turn our world “upside down” with just a simple storm.
- Our priorities change when “survival” is at stake. Things that seemed important, no longer are, when just staying warm and getting or preserving food is the biggest task of the day.
- We have gotten so enamored with programs and events that we have forgotten the simplicity of just singing hymns, reading scripture and preaching.
When contemplating the events of this past week and remembering my time with Jason Russell I was reminded of lessons learned in PNG
- Determine to savor every moment with those that you love.
- Keep your priorities based on “necessities” and not “wants.”
- Do not allow anything distract you from the simplicity that is in Christ.
- Serve the Lord while you can!