(This week's devotional is written by someone most of you have never met, but who worships with us online each week from his home in Signal Mountain, Tennessee. His wife, Jennifer, is a student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Charlotte who does her classes by Digital Live. Pastor Bruce Jones has been her mentor the last year in her mentored ministry rotations which they do by Zoom. John Agan is the author of our devotional, and he serves as the Director of Engineering and Facilities Maintenance for Hamilton County, Tennessee. The calamity he is referencing is the string of violent tornadoes that swept through Tennessee in February of this year. I hope you will read his story. -B.M.J.)
Good afternoon, Pastor Bruce. I hope this note finds you well.
Today I wanted to let you know that we completed a 45-day emergency debris removal mission, post tornado disaster. When I called you on Saturday, April 25, I was overwhelmed, overtaxed, and felt over my head. Something told me to call you, and you answered on the second ring. You listened, and we prayed. The following week you taught me, "I can't, but He can, and He can through me." I am selfishly proud to report that this 55-year-old man, father, husband, and combat veteran, finally learned how God moves mountains.
So, if I can bore you with some debris removal facts: on Monday, April 27, we started debris removal with a very capable national response firm, and commenced debris collection from the road right-of-way. The tornado was estimated as an EF3. It was 1,500 yards wide with a two-mile long debris field. Two schools were destroyed, and over 500 homes damaged, of which 150 were completely destroyed. The worst was that there were two fatalities, a father and a son.
At the height of debris removal, we moved 16,000 cublc yards in one day. They say the best way to estimate the volume of a cubic yard in your mind is to think of a queen mattress, so that's about 16,000 mattresses. All together in the 45-day mission, we have moved over 410,000 cubic yards of debris. I can't see that many mattresses in my mind!
On April 25, I couldn't move that amount. And on June 11, I still can't move that amount. But He can, and He can through a great team.
Thanks for being there when I needed someone to talk to.
All the best, very respectfully,
Director of Engineering and Facilities Maintenance
Hamilton County, Tennessee