I'm awfully tired and ready to crash into bed, but first had to do a quick post because tonight's events were so unusual, I just figured I had to blog them.
We didn't have our normal Celebration service tonight because we took a bit of a 'church field trip' to another Dove church in Ephrata for an International worship service. There are many people from the Dove family in the area from all over the world (including Kenya, Bulgaria, Peru, Uganda, Canada and Britain - to name a few), as we are all getting ready to gather tomorrow at Sandy Cove for our yearly leadership conference. Well, tonight will certainly be a service to remember!
First of all, we opened up with one song, and by the end of it, there was a loud noise and all the power went out. The loud noise continued to thunder, and we soon found out we were in the midst of a major hailstorm. As it turns out, also apparently a tornado. Not sure if it actually touched down or we just experienced the winds, but the damage was unbelievable, as we found out afterwards. The steeple of the church we were in was actually ripped off, and a barn across the street was demolished. The siding on houses all around looked like it had been fired on by machine guns. We saw smashed windows, downed telephone poles/wires, and debris everywhere. We continued to worship in the dark, as some candles were lit, and leaders did their best to project their voices sans any type of sound system. People held flashlights on the worship leaders and speaker so we could at least see them. It was pretty cool to see the service go on, despite the major obstacles. Of course, I felt bad for the teams of people who had put so much into this annual missions-service, including the multi-media presentation they had prepared, but were unable to present. Also, because they wanted everyone to safely navigate the many detours, the international dinner and bazaar was unable to go on as planned. We were really bummed about that...especially since we had been smelling the scrumptious food from the moment we walked in the door!
To continue the excitement for us personally, at the end of the service someone made an announcement about a ring that had been found in the bathroom on the sink. Kaitlyn's gasp next to me told me immediately it was her new diamond promise ring that had been found. Wasn't really happy to hear that, but thankful that it had at least been found!! I immediately headed for the stage to retrieve it for her. I no sooner got back to our group when Betsy (my sister) in a rather panicky voice said "Where is Eva?" (her not-quite two year old). Keep in mind, it is still totally dark in the auditorium. As everyone in our group fanned out looking and calling her name, she was found in a matter of a few heart-stopping minutes. She was up in the front, being 'detained' by two men who were trying to figure out themselves where she belonged. Apparently when I bolted for the front, she headed after me without anyone realizing. We were all more than a little relieved to have her safely back with the group (especially since the exit doors leading right to the parking lot had been propped open to allow a least a bit of light into the dark sanctuary!).
Well, I think that sums up most of the excitement. All in all, it wasn't a bad night; we are quite thankful for all God's faithfulness and protection. But, it was more adrenaline pumping than normal, I think, and so now I am crashing. Looks like an early-night for me (anything before 11:00 is early for me). That's good though...I still have packing to do in the morning!