Thursday, 31 July 2014


What a foolishly confident city Edmonton was before 1987. "We never get tornados here," people often boasted. Small twisters had torn up farmers' fields and buildings from time to time but Edmonton had never had a tornado. All that changed on July 31, 1987.

Throughout July, we had thunder storms and muggy weather each evening. The temperature was unusually warm as well. To me, the gathering storm clouds on the last day of the month seemed like the herald of just another thunder storm.

The office staff and I began to realize this was no ordinary weather when the thunder kept rolling without a break. Usually, we would hear a thunder clap and than the rain for half a minute before the next lightning bolt hit. On that day, there were no breaks in the rumble of thunder. One lady, who emigrated from Hong Kong, said it reminded her of the typhoon weather she experienced as a child.

Somebody ran into our office at about three o'clock and announced that the industrial park had been struck by a tornado. We all thought it was just an overgrown dust devil until we heard reports of the damage.

Though we were allowed to go home early, I spent two hours trying to get home on the bus. The trip usually took ten minutes. I immediately turned on the radio when I arrived at my rented suite to get news of the tornado. It had torn up a trailer park by that time and an unspecified number of people had died.

The mood of Edmontonians the next morning was as grim as the overcast sky. The reality check of a category five tornado hitting the city had now sunk in. People suddenly realized that we weren't immune to tornados after all.

Pride makes us do all sorts of stupid things. I know because it kept me in a rogue house church for fifteen years. I wrote the compelling testimony of how God rescued me in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Read more about it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Virtual Bookworm Publishers.