Earthquake and Tornado Hits Tupelo

Perhaps you heard about Tupelo in the news last week. If you like tornados and earthquakes, Tupelo was the place to be. On Tuesday, we were under tornado warnings for most of the day. The children and staff members hunkered down in the designated shelters on campus as the tornado sirens went off. The children from the Pre-K Class were under a table in the dining hall, as Sandy Shortridge was reading them a story. A tornado did touch down several times in Tupelo, causing moderate to severe structural damage and a lot of tree and power lines were down. It came within a few hundred feet of Ken and Margo Burton’s home on the west side of Tupelo, destroyed a building at the Furniture Market and caused damage along North Gloster near the Mall. Thankfully, nobody was injured.

And then on Saturday night, there was another volley of storms that came through our county, one right after another. We were up most of the night, and at one point, crawled down into an underground shelter beneath our home. Tamara and Ben, our daughter and son-in-law were visiting from Dallas for the Mother’s Day weekend, and there we were – all huddled together and trying not to act scared. Lightning struck the big oak tree in our back yard, and the whole house shook. That’s when Tamara said, “Okay, let’s pray!” And we did.

As if the severe weather was not exciting enough, we also experienced something very unusual for northeast Mississippi on Saturday. About noon, I was working in the yard, and heard a loud boom and felt the ground moving under my feet. At first, I thought that maybe there had been an explosion, or perhaps a sonic boom. People came running out of their homes, trying to determine what was going on. Later, it was reported that a 3.5 earthquake had occurred in an isolated area of west Tupelo in the Belden community where we live.

After this week of trauma and excitement, I am especially grateful for the Lord’s hand of protection upon the Mansion. In the seven years that we have been in Tupelo, we have not had one serious injury on our campus resulting from accident or tragedy. Several years ago, our main school building was nearly destroyed by a fire during the Christmas holiday, but nobody was hurt. Our tour group and field reps travel extensively across the country, and there have been a few accidents, but no serious injuries. From time to time, I drive around this campus calling on the name of the Lord as I pray for divine protection from any harm and danger that would come against us. Surely, He has dispatched guardian angels to watch over this little community known as the Mansion. And for this, I just want to praise the Lord.

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