The pastor of a church that was completely decimated when tornadoes ripped through Nashville, Tennessee, on Saturday is crediting God that there was no loss of life.
The Associated Press reported that Saturday evening members of the Community Baptist Church were attending an appreciation banquet for Pastor Vincent Johnson and his wife, Donella Johnson.
Suddenly the alarms on attendees’ cellphones began going off warning of tornadoes in the area.
“I was sitting in a chair, but by the time everything was over, I was on the floor,” church member Karen Higgins told the AP.
“I could feel that wind, I’m like, ‘Lord, please don’t let that wind take me away.’ You couldn’t take cover if you wanted to take cover, that’s how swift it was. You could hear people praying,” she added.
After the storm passed, Higgins said injured people began calling out, “‘I’m here. I’m here,’ or ‘Help me. Help me.’” The pastor and deacon were calling back, “‘Are you in there?’” she said. “They were picking up boards and stuff. They were getting us out.”
Donella Johnson posted on Facebook that several members needed emergency surgery, including for injuries as severe as broken hips and femurs, according to the AP.
George Presley, who was attending the banquet, suffered a head wound requiring several staples.
“When the roof came off, all the water and stuff just started coming in,” he said.
Presley did not know exactly how he was injured “because when the storm came through it got so black. It just got dark. And all the lights went out. Everything got to shaking and stuff got to falling.”
In a Monday post on X, Pastor Johnson wrote, “Dec 9th Tornado in Nashville TN! Community Baptist Church was demolished, yet We are still standing! Images of Sanctuary the day after, and our Life Center the night of….. We got to say Good Morning Again…..”
Dec 9th Tornado in Nashville TN! Community Baptist Church was demolished, yet We are still standing! Images of Sanctuary the day after, and our Life Center the night of….. We got to say Good Morning Again….. #wematter pic.twitter.com/KAA4w4Iq6m
— Vincent C Johnson (@PastorVCJ) December 12, 2023
USA Today reported Monday, the tornadoes that went through Tennessee killed six people and injured dozens of others. Top wind speeds hit 125 miles per hour in the Nashville area and 150 mph in Clarksville about 50 miles northwest of Nashville.
Looking at the destruction afterward, Timothy Turner, who was catering the banquet, could not believe anyone survived, the AP reported.
He had just driven away to pick up some more food, leaving members of his family and employees behind working the dinner, when the twister came through.
“I think those were angels,” Turner said. “I don’t like to go with luck. I believe in blessings. That was a blessing.”
Pastor Johnson agreed.
“Though we have experienced devastation beyond measure, we did not lose life,” he said, according to the New York Post. “God took brick and wood and metal, and it was mangled in a tornado … yet God preserved us.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.