If you needed a reason to pray for your itinerating missionaries, this weekend surely made our need all the more apparent as torrential rain and floodwaters nearly stranded us in the state of Tennessee on Saturday.
We were travelling from Dalton, GA to Caruthersville, MO, returning from services in Georgia and a family reunion in South Carolina. We were on our way back to Missouri on Saturday morning via I-24 and I-40 with hopes to spend a leisurely afternoon with the Titus family, pastors of Caruthersville First, before holding services the next day in the Kennett section of the Southern Missouri District.
Things progressed as expected until just after lunchtime as we reached the Murfreesboro area. As we continued west, the skies opened up soaking the roads and slowing our momentum to 40 miles per hour at times on 70 mile per hour freeways. This kept up for at least an hour, finally breaking as we passed through Nashville. However, just as we thought that the worst was over, our progress ground to a halt in front of a river that had overflowed it’s banks and now crossed the entire highway.
The next two hours were spent in a number of switchbacks as we looked for a suitable detour. We traveled across US-70 through the flooded Dickson and then onto Waverly, where the river had virtually cut off that town from the highway. We crossed the water to travel down route 13 only to be turned back again 4 miles from rejoining I-40. We drove back to US-70 then and on to route 641 where we were finally able to regain I-40 and continue our forward progress toward the boot heel of Missouri.
As we looked to the right and the left of the roadways, everything seemed to be underwater–houses, businesses, churches and farms. The water was everywhere and seemingly in everything. By the time that we made it through Dyersburg and across the Mississippi it was well after 8:00 PM, and we were overjoyed to have reached Missouri and our journey’s end.
As we traveled, there were moments when I doubted that we would be able to make it through. I second guessed our decisions to continue, thinking perhaps that it might have been safer to stop and attempt forward progress at a later time. However, after spending a stormy night in the hotel in Missouri, I was confident that the urgency that I had felt to press on was well founded. The situation only got worse the following day in Tennessee.
So I am thankful that God had His hand upon us, guiding us through. And I am grateful for the prayers of those who stand behind us, as much during our itineration as during our time on the field. We appreciate this much needed support!
Still, as I am glad to be home to tell my tale, my heart goes out to the many who weren’t able to escape the flooding–those who lost possessions, homes, even loved ones to the raging waters. One quote from a news story read, “I know God doesn’t give us more than we can take, but I’m at my breaking point.” As you pray for us, please lift up these who are now suffering in the devastation through which we were guided this past Saturday.