Monthly Archives: May 2015

Lessons from Tornado Alley

Tornado on the ground.

Tornado on the ground.


The area where we live in Missouri (USA) is commonly known as ‘Tornado Alley’.

During our years of living in Africa we were accustomed to some pretty fierce tropical thunder storms; having experienced them from childhood into adulthood I did not fear them. I knew to respect them, especially the deadly lightning strikes but an African thunderstorm pales in comparison to “riding out” a violent thunderstorm with imbedded tornadoes! These super cell storms sweep across Tornado Alley with such velocity that very few structures survive a direct hit; especially if it is an F-5 tornado.

An F-5 tornado has winds twisting at speeds reaching well over 261 mph. They cause total catastrophic damage with few, if any structures left standing.  Cars, siding, bricks and two by four wooden house structures become lethal flying missiles, literally penetrating any structure in their path.

We have had several F-5 tornadoes totally obliterate towns in our area and the carnage they leave behind can only be fully comprehended as one walks through the rubble of what used to be homes, businesses, schools and hospitals. The best way to truly survive these cataclysmic storms is to have an underground re-enforced Tornado shelter. Unfortunately many of us living in this area do not have these safe shelters as they are expensive to install.

Last night we were vaulted out of a deep sleep by the chilling wail of the tornado siren which we could barely hear due to the screeching wind that was driving rain against our outside walls with such velocity that it sounded like a machine gun peppering our home. The sirens had barely gone off when our phone rang and it was our very concerned daughter telling us to turn our TV on and prepare to take cover, as there had been a tornado sighted several miles from our sub-division and tracking in our direction.

We got up, turned the TV on and our local station was tracking the storm giving street names which were in its path. Quickly putting on our sweats, we sat on our bed listening to the storm rage. Lightning strikes were eerily lighting up the black swirling clouds, pelting rain was raking the house and trees were being buffeted by the ferocious wind. Our “safe place” in our home is our guest bathroom which is in the middle of the house; which will only give us a “measure” of protection from flying debris; provided our home did not get a direct hit. We were ready to grab blankets and pillows to hunker down in the bathroom; covering ourselves for protection; once the local weather broadcasters started to pinpoint the tornadic storm “knocking at our door”!

We were prepared for the worst but praying for God’s hand of protection.

Once the threat was passed we were able to crawl back into bed with thankful hearts while listening to the remnants of the storm move east. I began to muse that there was a spiritual lesson that we all can learn from riding out one of these deadly storms. I got thinking that I could see a comparison with the events of the night to the events taking place in the world today which point to the soon return of our Lord!

Allow me to use my spiritual imagination to press my points home!


Living in Tornado Alley means we can expect terrifying storms.

This reminds me that we are living in what the scripture refers to as the “Last Days” and we can expect to see escalating terror exploding world-wide.

Evil will abound as we have never experienced before; corrupt governments will pillage their citizens; preachers will teach false doctrines lulling their congregations into an apathetic sleep; men and women will be lovers of immoral pleasures rather than lovers of a righteous walk with God.

Jesus taught this in Matthew 24:37-39 (NKJV) “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”

Not a pretty picture I fear; but then getting pulverized by a tornado isn’t a pretty picture either! So we need to be expecting!


The tornado siren is the warning to take cover. Added to that the family has a plan –whichever member hears the sirens first they are to call and check on each other!

During the last days the Apostle Paul teaches that in the ranks of the church there will be many who have become deaf to the voice of the Spirit warning of the dangers to come.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NKJV) “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”

Wow! What a descriptive picture of the church of today!

So often, we mothers have used the following phrase when our children were being disobedient; “Do you have your LISTENING ears on”?

Friends, our ears NEED TO BE LISTENING for the warning cry of the voice of our soon coming Lord!


The time for preparing to survive a tornado is NOT a few minutes before it hits! You need to be prepared well in advance of what steps you will take to protect yourself and your family.

Jesus taught a parable about the ten virgins that clearly shows being prepared for His Coming in Matthew 25:1-13. Five were wisely prepared and five were foolish enough to not be prepared for the coming of the Bridegroom. The result was that when the call went out that the Bridegroom had arrived only the wise virgins were ready with their lamps trimmed. The five foolish virgins were denied access to the presence of the Bridegroom.

The “signs of the times” are all around us my friends – we must be prepared in advance; be ready and waiting for the trumpet call! Putting on the “whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:10-18) will prepare the Child of God to stand against the wiles of the devil whose sole agenda is to trick us into complacency and unbelief!


Fear will have a paralyzing effect on one’s clarity of thought when you have to ride out a tornadic storm. It will cause you to make rash decisions that could cost you your life.

Fear of life’s circumstances has no place in the heart of a Child of God for His Word assures us time and time again that He has sheltered us from the calamity that rages around us (Psalm 91) and He has already prepared a place for those who remain faithful.

I love the comforting words of the following passage of scripture:

Luke 21:25-28 (NKJV) “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”






Feathers and Temptation


Roaring Lion photographer unknown

Roaring Lion photographer unknown

My mother stepped out on the porch at the Rufaro Mission house scanning the area for me. It was early in the morning and life was stirring on the Mission compound.

I had hopped out of bed when I heard the herd of milking cows being driven into the milking shed. I dressed quickly, didn’t bother with socks or shoes and headed out to watch the milking. It fascinated me how skillfully Tubeho was able to quickly get a stream of warm milk directed into the pail sitting between his feet where he sat on a low milking stool. I was determined to learn how to do it and would beg Tubeho to let me try. He would chuckle and pat the stool for me to sit on. Then with the experience of time he would guide my hands to draw down on the udders. Some days I was not successful but other days I would manage to get a weak stream of milk which was cause for much laughter and squealing of happiness on my part.

When Mom could not see my red-head anywhere she figured I was down at the cattle kraal so she sent Matikala to call me to come up to the house for breakfast.

I raced back to the house, my eyes sparkling with excitement as I had been successful in learning my milking lesson this morning! My tongue was running a mile a minute and Mom shooed me to go wash my hands, then join her and Dad at the roughhewn table for our breakfast; followed by family devotions which included any of the staff that were in the kitchen or in the dairy.

While we were eating, my parents were having a discussion about what animal was getting into the chicken run and killing Mom’s  laying hens. They had reinforced the mesh chicken wire but after a few days the cunning animal would finally find a way into the run; in a flash it would grab a hen and make off with it through the opening it had found. I sat listening to the conversation; Dad speculated that it might be a fox or a mongoose. Mom was too frustrated to speculate what it could be but it was clear to me that she wanted it caught sooner than later!

Dad gathered the staff and after reading a passage of scripture the little group knelt and raised their voices in prayer. I loved to listen to the different voices call upon the Lord in prayer; a blend of hearts speaking in their own languages in humility to the Lord they loved!

As the devotion time was coming to a close there was a frantic knocking on the kitchen door and a voice calling; “Mfundisi (teacher or missionary) come quickly and bring your gun!” Startled by the unexpected intrusion Tubeho ran and threw open the door to see who was calling for a gun!

One of the school children from the Mission School had been sent to get some milk for the children’s morning tea. As he passed the chicken run a sight filled his eyes that sent shivers down his spine. A large wild cat had got into the run but was unable to find his way back out. Several dead chickens, a pile of stray feathers spread across the dirt run, combined with the snarling of the angry cat added an even more ghoulish atmosphere to the scene.

Dad grabbed his rifle, he and Tubeho were the first out the door with several of the male staff following. Naturally I wanted to go with but to my chagrin mother made me wait with her on the safety of the verandah. A short time elapsed before a single shot rang out, reverberating on the granite Kopjie  (rocky hill) beside the house.

I held my breath wondering what Dad had shot but did not have to wait long to see what the

Mom holding African Wild Cat

Mom holding African Wild Cat

chicken thief was. I let out a gasp when I saw the large wild cat Tubeho was carrying to the veranda to show Mom. Suddenly the tension of the unknown was broken and everyone began to laugh and chatter excitedly.  The chicken thief had been caught much to my mother’s relief; as the eggs from the hens played a vital part in our and the school children’s diet! Sadly for the wild Cat his taste for a juicy fat hen cost him his life.

Reflecting back on this episode, that took place while I was a mere child in Africa, I can see a valuable lesson that carries through into today.

The wild cat made a huge mistake by straying from his natural prey and chose to raid hens that were an easy catch. Today we are living in dangerous and evil times.  Look at what the Apostle Paul warns says on this topic:

Ephesians 5:15-16 (NKJV) “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

Paul is encouraging us to be careful with the choices we make in this life. If we chose the easy road that is littered with lucrative but questionable choices we will find ourselves in a world of hurt.

What does Paul mean when he says that we should “walk circumspectly”?

He is telling us that during these evil days we are to be constantly vigilant of snares that will affect our walk and relationship with God.

Even the Apostle Peter exhorts us along the same lines that Paul did. He reminds his readers:

1 Peter 5:8 (NKJV) “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

We are living in a time where wickedness abounds.  Peter likens the devil to a roaring lion “seeking whom he may devour”. In order to thwart the snares and wiles of the devil we need to be sober, alert and very wary of the choices we make in our daily walk. If we yield to the temptation to take the easy road we will end up just like the African wild cat did that early morning on our Mission Station in Rhodesia!

TAKE HEED my friends in the path you walk and choices you make!