It was Easter Sunday, morning and our city and state were shut down because of the Coronavirus. So, like you, we watched our church’s Easter service on the Internet. Then we watched our own program on TV here on the local ABC station in which we began to lay out the evidence for the 12 historical facts about Jesus’ resurrection that 4,000 scholars around the world now accept.
In the afternoon we were warned by the Weather Channel that there was a chance of violent thunderstorms and even tornados Sunday night. So when warnings came out later that day, we went down in our basement, began to listen to the tremendous rain and wind, and see a lot of lightning.
And then suddenly the lights went out and it was completely dark. We listened to our local TV weatherman who said that a number of tornados were beginning to touch down in different parts of our city. They strongly advised us to, “Go right now to the safest place in your house.”
We began to hear that a number of tornadoes had touched down around our area, killing at least 11 and injuring many. Soon 60,000 homes were without power, and our cities’ fiber optic internet service had done offline citywide. So now our office has no Internet.
A devastating EF-3 tornado with sustained wind speeds of 145 mph touched down a short distance from our home. As it touched down, 344 homes were destroyed, 274 homes sustained major damage, and 556 homes had minor damage. In all, 1,630 homes and businesses were affected in some way. Hundreds of trees were cut in half, many landing on houses and roads. Telephone poles and electric power lines were snapped and covered our streets. God mercifully protected us, our staff, and our office buildings. Half of our staff had no electricity and no heat for many days, and restaurants were closed except for carry out. One of our staff members had destruction all around his home, but he and his wife and three children were safe. Right now they are living in a hotel. After about four cold nights, most of our staff got power back on. Our Governor said, “There is great loss and great tragedy out there right now.” God has miraculously protected our staff. Yet it has made things harder for us to stay in touch with you.
First TV. To keep our TV programs on the air across America, Canada, India, Russia, Europe, Finland and Africa, most of our staff has had to work from their homes. They know that a lot depends on them, and realize people around the world are at home watching TV because of the virus. As a result, TV viewership in America and around the world is up 30%.
Second, our phone operators. Due to the storms, we have no phones or internet at the office. So this is hampering our work from here. It could take a couple of weeks before everything in our city is up and running and phone and internet service is returned to our office.
Third, to meet this challenge, we have provided our operators with new cell phones. They are calling many of you to check on you. We know many of you live in areas where difficult things are happening—from the virus, to work, to storms in your state. Know that when our staff operators call to check on you, on your phone you will see Ankerberg Show come up on your caller ID. We will tell you that we love you and are just checking to see how we can pray for you. Maybe you have a special need. If so, tell us and we will pray with you on the phone.
Fourth, no one knows what the future will bring. Hopefully it will bring better times for all of us. Maybe I could share with you a few of God’s promises that have encouraged me.
- God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
- God will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. Psalm 72:12
- Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear to dull to hear. Isaiah 59:1
- Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Psalm 68:19
Praying for you,
John and Darlene