Faith Only Thing Left For Some After Tornado

Sunday, May 18th 2008, 5:47 pm
By: News On 6

Picher-area churches held their first Sunday services since the May 10th tornado. Many of them say their faith is the only thing the storm didn't take away.

The News On 6's Jeffrey Smith reports many Picher residents are finally returning to houses of worship, but they're having to show up without their houses, their cars or a community to return home to.

Some say their faith has been shaken, but it's events like this that make you realize what's really important.

Sunday services come every week, but for Picher residents, Sunday was different.

"Where we live and where we're going to live we don't know yet," said David Conrad.

It's different for Conrad. His car was destroyed in the tornado and his house has been declared unlivable.

"It blew out the back windows and put holes in the back end of the house," said Conrad.

But his faith is strong.

"You get to a point where you're tired and you wonder where God's at, but he's there. If you just listen, he's there," said Conrad.

Conrad prayed on Sunday at the Tri-State Faith Center. Located in Cardin, the church is just a few miles from the devastation.

"In times like these, this is when we find out, where we're at with our faith with the Lord," said Pastor Charles Clevenger.

Like most area churches, Tri-State didn't have a service last Sunday. Pastor Clevenger says that makes this week's sermon all the more meaningful.

"In these kinds of situations I think we, a lot of people, re-evaluate their faith, their priorities, and where their trust is," said Clevenger.

"It makes you see, that you have a lot of friends that you didn't know you had," said Conrad.

The church has been active in the clean-up. They've collected water, food, clothes, even soap and shampoo.

"In the midst of a tragedy, we've seen so much love. And so much giving," said Clevenger.

"He's seen us through hard times before in the past and he's seen us through this," said Conrad.

Conrad's lost a lot, but his wife, children and grandchildren are safe. He says he's a blessed man because he came out of the disaster with his faith intact.

Conrad says the outpouring of support and supplies from the church has been a big help.

Pastor Clevenger says many of his members have questioned their faith this week, but he says that's a normal, human reaction to tragedy. He says coming together to help out Picher residents is a great remedy to restore your spirituality.