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Family of The Month - Part III

Updated: Jun 8

We Know Where Our Treasures Lie: In May of 2003 in Camdenton, Missouri my wife Laurie and I survived a tornado that destroyed our home while we were in it. That “tragedy” was the catalyst to discovering so many amazing and wonderful lessons about life and relationships. To read "Family of the Month" - part II, click here )

The night of the tornado a fire truck and pickup were parked in our driveway. Our 500-gallon, 3,000 lb. propane tank ended up 50 yards from where it used to sit with liquid propane hissing out through a broken valve creating a cloud of white gas. The Fire Department was standing by just in case something went BOOM!

A High Voltage tower had fallen leaving live wires laying across the roadway, just beyond our house, so all north and south bound traffic on our county highway was blocked. Unfortunately, all our friends lived north of us. We had no transportation, and it was getting dark. We had no idea where we were going to spend the night.

A single car, the first we had seen in hours, coming up from the south pulled into our driveway and a young lady got out of the passenger side. She looked around and spotted Laurie sitting on the tailgate of the Fire Chief’s pickup truck with a blanket wrapped around her. We had both gotten soaked from an earlier rainstorm.

She walked over to Laurie and said,

“Is this your house?”

“Well, it was.

“You must be devastated, looks like you’ve lost everything.”

“It’s just ‘stuff.’ We survived, so that’s a good thing, and the stuff can be replaced.”

The woman hesitated for a moment, then looked at Laurie and said,

“You’re a Christian, aren’t you?”


“We know where our treasures lie, don’t we?” she said with a smile.

With that, the woman, and her husband, who had been waiting in the car, asked if we would come to their house for the night.

When we arrived at their house, they handed us a flashlight; their power was out too, some dry clothes, and showed us to our room where we could change. Her husband had placed several candles on the coffee table in the living room where we sat, while she disappeared into the kitchen with a flashlight. She had been in the kitchen for what seemed like an eternity and just as I was beginning to wonder what happened to her, she walked in with a serving tray loaded down with sandwiches, fruit, veggies, chips and drinks, and a flaming candle in the middle of the tray like a birthday cake. She laid out a feast for us. God bless them. We ate our fill, talking and getting to know each other. They were New Tribes Missionaries home on furlough and had just moved into their rental house a couple of weeks before.

In the morning, they brought us back to our house and would take nothing for reimbursement but instead prayed for us before they left. Sweet people.

"So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith." Galatians 6:10

We learned an amazing lesson from that night. All that we owned, could be wiped out in an instant. Everything we accumulated over 28 years of marriage was destroyed by a tornado that didn’t last more than 5 minutes.

If our sense of self-worth was tied up in our material possessions, we would have been devastated as she said. We realized that we must hold on to 'stuff' loosely but hold tightly to those things that are priceless. We learned that “RELATIONSHIPS” were our real treasures. They cannot be burned up, blown away or stolen. They are portable and weigh nothing. We can take those relationship with us wherever we go. We have lifelong friendships that we made during our 22 years in the Air Force and elsewhere. They are our ‘forever friends.’ We watched them have babies, learned their kids graduated High School and College, got married and had kids of their own. Some even have grandkids now. Nothing can steal or destroy those memories.

“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:20

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