Town ravaged by tornado prays at church that sheltered many - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Town ravaged by tornado prays at church that sheltered many

Posted: Updated:
(AP Photo/Vasha Hunt). Stephanie Dunson, right, rests her head on the shoulder of her daughter, Jesi, Sunday, March 10, 2019, at Providence Baptist Church in Beauregard, Ala. Sunday church services were a step towards normalcy as the community continue... (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt). Stephanie Dunson, right, rests her head on the shoulder of her daughter, Jesi, Sunday, March 10, 2019, at Providence Baptist Church in Beauregard, Ala. Sunday church services were a step towards normalcy as the community continue...
(AP Photo/David Goldman). In this Wednesday, March 6, 2019 photo, Rusty Sowell, pastor at Providence Baptist Church, speaks to volunteers organizing donations at the church in Beauregard, Ala. Dealing with the dead became a huge task in a rural Alabama... (AP Photo/David Goldman). In this Wednesday, March 6, 2019 photo, Rusty Sowell, pastor at Providence Baptist Church, speaks to volunteers organizing donations at the church in Beauregard, Ala. Dealing with the dead became a huge task in a rural Alabama...
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster). President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump pause at a line of crosses outside Providence Baptist Church in Smiths Station, Ala., Friday, March 8, 2019, during a tour of areas where tornados killed 23 people in Lee Co... (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster). President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump pause at a line of crosses outside Providence Baptist Church in Smiths Station, Ala., Friday, March 8, 2019, during a tour of areas where tornados killed 23 people in Lee Co...
  • NationalMore>>

  • Facebook says service hindered by lack of local news

    Facebook says service hindered by lack of local news

    Monday, March 18 2019 11:31 PM EDT2019-03-19 03:31:44 GMT
    (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File). FILE - In this March 29, 2018, file photo, the logo for Facebook appears on screens in New York's Times Square. Facebook's effort to establish a service that provides its users with local news and information is being hin...(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File). FILE - In this March 29, 2018, file photo, the logo for Facebook appears on screens in New York's Times Square. Facebook's effort to establish a service that provides its users with local news and information is being hin...
    (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File). FILE - In this March 29, 2018, file photo, the logo for Facebook appears on screens in New York's Times Square. Facebook's effort to establish a service that provides its users with local news and information is being hin...(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File). FILE - In this March 29, 2018, file photo, the logo for Facebook appears on screens in New York's Times Square. Facebook's effort to establish a service that provides its users with local news and information is being hin...
    Facebook says that a service it established last year to provide users with local news has been hindered by cutbacks in the news industry.More >>
    Facebook says that a service it established last year to provide users with local news has been hindered by cutbacks in the news industry.More >>
  • Truck-driving preacher charged with killing Alabama teens

    Truck-driving preacher charged with killing Alabama teens

    Monday, March 18 2019 10:52 PM EDT2019-03-19 02:52:29 GMT
    (Dale County Sheriff's Office via AP). This Saturday, March 16, 2019 booking photo provided by the Dale County Sheriff's Office, shows Coley McCraney.  Al.com reported McCraney, of Dothan, was arrested Saturday and charged with rape and capital murder ...(Dale County Sheriff's Office via AP). This Saturday, March 16, 2019 booking photo provided by the Dale County Sheriff's Office, shows Coley McCraney. Al.com reported McCraney, of Dothan, was arrested Saturday and charged with rape and capital murder ...
    (Dale County Sheriff's Office via AP). This Saturday, March 16, 2019 booking photo provided by the Dale County Sheriff's Office, shows Coley McCraney.  Al.com reported McCraney, of Dothan, was arrested Saturday and charged with rape and capital murder ...(Dale County Sheriff's Office via AP). This Saturday, March 16, 2019 booking photo provided by the Dale County Sheriff's Office, shows Coley McCraney. Al.com reported McCraney, of Dothan, was arrested Saturday and charged with rape and capital murder ...
    Authorities in Alabama say a DNA match found through a genealogy website has led to an arrest in decades-old slaying and rape case.More >>
    Authorities in Alabama say a DNA match found through a genealogy website has led to an arrest in decades-old slaying and rape case.More >>
  • Homes flood as Missouri River overtops, breaches levees

    Homes flood as Missouri River overtops, breaches levees

    Monday, March 18 2019 10:52 PM EDT2019-03-19 02:52:26 GMT
    (Kent Sievers/Omaha World-Herald via AP). CORRECTS MONTH TO MARCH NOT MAY - Anthony Thomson, left, and Melody Walton make their way out of a flooded neighborhood Sunday, March 17, 2019, in Fremont, Neb. Hundreds of people were evacuated from their home...(Kent Sievers/Omaha World-Herald via AP). CORRECTS MONTH TO MARCH NOT MAY - Anthony Thomson, left, and Melody Walton make their way out of a flooded neighborhood Sunday, March 17, 2019, in Fremont, Neb. Hundreds of people were evacuated from their home...
    (Kent Sievers/Omaha World-Herald via AP). CORRECTS MONTH TO MARCH NOT MAY - Anthony Thomson, left, and Melody Walton make their way out of a flooded neighborhood Sunday, March 17, 2019, in Fremont, Neb. Hundreds of people were evacuated from their home...(Kent Sievers/Omaha World-Herald via AP). CORRECTS MONTH TO MARCH NOT MAY - Anthony Thomson, left, and Melody Walton make their way out of a flooded neighborhood Sunday, March 17, 2019, in Fremont, Neb. Hundreds of people were evacuated from their home...
    Hundreds of homes have flooded in northwest Missouri after the Missouri River overtopped and breached several levees following heavy rain and snowmelt upstream.More >>
    Hundreds of homes have flooded in northwest Missouri after the Missouri River overtopped and breached several levees following heavy rain and snowmelt upstream.More >>

BEAUREGARD, Ala. (AP) - The pastor of a church that became a center for shelter, help and grieving when a tornado killed 23 people in eastern Alabama said in his first Sunday service after the storm that the Lord has reached out his hand to the community.

Imperfect things like tornadoes and other tragedies happen because we live in an imperfect world, Providence Baptist Church Pastor Rusty Sowell said Sunday.

His sermon focused on the Bible verse Isaiah 41:13: "For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you."

Nearly 100 people safely rode out the March 3 storm in the church, which then because a center for donations and the place where Sowell and the county coroner told families they had lost loved ones.

This Sunday, 23 crosses sat outside the country church, one for each victim of the huge EF4 tornado that roared through Beauregard a few hours after last Sunday's services with 170 mph (270 kph) and a path nearly a mile (1.6 kilometers) wide.

As she sat in a pew, Sunday, Cindy Samford said all her emotions hit her suddenly. She lost her home in the storm hours after last week's service.

"I'm heartbroken by the loss of lives and the devastation of it all. Today in church was a confirmation of faith that God was watching over us. God has his hands on us," Samford said.

President Donald Trump visited the church Friday as he looked at the damage, signing Bibles for some victims there seeking help.

Sowell said it was easy to speak badly about the president and wondered if some of the critics owned Bibles.

"My first thought is if that is what you are worried about, bring your raggedy self down here to our corner of the world and get to work," Sowell said to applause from the packed congregation. "The ones that are running their mouths are not down here getting their hand dirty, walking alongside the walking wounded."

But most of Sowell's sermon was how God reaches out his hand in times of need. He talked about how the church built a second building across the street with showers, a full kitchen and a large gathering space after the area was devastated by Hurricane Opal in 1995 and could not get help.

That building became the center of the relief efforts after the tornado.

"This is why this building is here," Sowell said. "And God knew."

Carolyn Thrower said being at Providence Baptist this Sunday was awe inspiring, knowing they were helping to show God's love and healing.

"Church always helps, but today it was a special blessing," she said.

Supplies continue to pour into the church, and Sowell said he was amazed at the generosity of people, even if Providence Baptist was dealing with a problem many places face after a disaster - too much donated water and clothing.

"Please we don't need any more," Sowell said of the thousands of cases of water and bags of clothes. "In fact, everyone here gets to carry home a case of water."

___

Freelance photographer Vasha Hunt contributed to this story from Beauregard, Alabama.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Hot ClicksHot ClicksMore>>

  • Facebook says service hindered by lack of local news

    Facebook says service hindered by lack of local news

    Monday, March 18 2019 11:31 PM EDT2019-03-19 03:31:44 GMT
    (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File). FILE - In this March 29, 2018, file photo, the logo for Facebook appears on screens in New York's Times Square. Facebook's effort to establish a service that provides its users with local news and information is being hin...(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File). FILE - In this March 29, 2018, file photo, the logo for Facebook appears on screens in New York's Times Square. Facebook's effort to establish a service that provides its users with local news and information is being hin...
    (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File). FILE - In this March 29, 2018, file photo, the logo for Facebook appears on screens in New York's Times Square. Facebook's effort to establish a service that provides its users with local news and information is being hin...(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File). FILE - In this March 29, 2018, file photo, the logo for Facebook appears on screens in New York's Times Square. Facebook's effort to establish a service that provides its users with local news and information is being hin...
    Facebook says that a service it established last year to provide users with local news has been hindered by cutbacks in the news industry.More >>
    Facebook says that a service it established last year to provide users with local news has been hindered by cutbacks in the news industry.More >>
  • New Zealand's darkest day: 36 minutes of terror

    New Zealand's darkest day: 36 minutes of terror

    Monday, March 18 2019 10:52 PM EDT2019-03-19 02:52:54 GMT
    (Abdi Ibrahim via AP, File). FILE - This undated file photo supplied by Abdi Ibrahim, shows his 3-year-old brother, Mucaad Ibrahim, the youngest known victim of the March 15, 2019, mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand. Mucaad Ibrahim had big brow...(Abdi Ibrahim via AP, File). FILE - This undated file photo supplied by Abdi Ibrahim, shows his 3-year-old brother, Mucaad Ibrahim, the youngest known victim of the March 15, 2019, mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand. Mucaad Ibrahim had big brow...
    (Abdi Ibrahim via AP, File). FILE - This undated file photo supplied by Abdi Ibrahim, shows his 3-year-old brother, Mucaad Ibrahim, the youngest known victim of the March 15, 2019, mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand. Mucaad Ibrahim had big brow...(Abdi Ibrahim via AP, File). FILE - This undated file photo supplied by Abdi Ibrahim, shows his 3-year-old brother, Mucaad Ibrahim, the youngest known victim of the March 15, 2019, mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand. Mucaad Ibrahim had big brow...
    The attack on two mosques in New Zealand was 36 minutes of terror, telegraphed by a chilling email sent by Brenton Tarrant.More >>
    The attack on two mosques in New Zealand was 36 minutes of terror, telegraphed by a chilling email sent by Brenton Tarrant.More >>
  • Gunman kills 3 on Dutch tram; mayor fears terrorism

    Gunman kills 3 on Dutch tram; mayor fears terrorism

    Monday, March 18 2019 10:52 PM EDT2019-03-19 02:52:36 GMT
    Police in the central city of Utrecht say on Twitter that "multiple" people have been injured as a result of a shooting in a tram in a residential neighborhood.More >>
    Police in the central city of Utrecht say on Twitter that "multiple" people have been injured as a result of a shooting in a tram in a residential neighborhood.More >>
  • More NewsMore>>

  • Newton Falls to make thousands in tax dollars from Venture Plastics

    Newton Falls to make thousands in tax dollars from Venture Plastics

    Monday, March 18 2019 11:24 PM EDT2019-03-19 03:24:36 GMT
    The City of Newton Falls is in line to collect tens of thousands of dollars in tax revenue thanks to a new agreement.  The new agreement will allow the city to collect income tax from Venture Plastics which is technically located in Braceville. Because Braceville is a township, it can't collect income tax, and without this agreement, Newton Falls wouldn't be able to collect it because Venture isn't located in the city. This agreement means that Newton Falls can colle...More >>
    The City of Newton Falls is in line to collect tens of thousands of dollars in tax revenue thanks to a new agreement.  The new agreement will allow the city to collect income tax from Venture Plastics which is technically located in Braceville. Because Braceville is a township, it can't collect income tax, and without this agreement, Newton Falls wouldn't be able to collect it because Venture isn't located in the city. This agreement means that Newton Falls can colle...More >>
  • Grove City man charged after he allegedly almost hit an officer with his car

    Grove City man charged after he allegedly almost hit an officer with his car

    Monday, March 18 2019 10:54 PM EDT2019-03-19 02:54:46 GMT
    A Grove City man faces several charges after an incident on Friday. Grove City Police have charged 47-year-old Adam Coulson with Reckless Endangering Another Person, Reckless Driving and Duty of Driver in Emergency Response Area. According to a press release from police, Coulson is charged after he nearly struck an officer and stopped police car after he approached the vehicle with lights activated at an "unsafe speed."More >>
    A Grove City man faces several charges after an incident on Friday. Grove City Police have charged 47-year-old Adam Coulson with Reckless Endangering Another Person, Reckless Driving and Duty of Driver in Emergency Response Area. According to a press release from police, Coulson is charged after he nearly struck an officer and stopped police car after he approached the vehicle with lights activated at an "unsafe speed."More >>
  • Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force offering reward for information on fugitive

    Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force offering reward for information on fugitive

    Monday, March 18 2019 10:18 PM EDT2019-03-19 02:18:57 GMT
    The Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force is offering a reward for any information that could lead to the capture of fugitive Ricky Jackson. Jackson is wanted by the United States Marshals Service and the Drug Enforcement Agency. He is wanted for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances. Jackson, 29, is a black male, approximately 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 168 pounds. His last known address is the 5400 Block of Grasmer...More >>
    The Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force is offering a reward for any information that could lead to the capture of fugitive Ricky Jackson. Jackson is wanted by the United States Marshals Service and the Drug Enforcement Agency. He is wanted for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances. Jackson, 29, is a black male, approximately 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 168 pounds. His last known address is the 5400 Block of Grasmer...More >>
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2019 WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms