The Hurricane That Wasn’t

Posted on September 3, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Down Home in Mississippi

People around here in the South get fanatical about local football and live for hunting season, but nothing creates excitement like an approaching storm. Our town was touched by a fairly destructive tornado last year, and we are close enough to the Gulf Coast to feel the lingering effects of hurricane force winds. So as storm trackers plotted the course of Isaac last week, all of Mississippi was thrown into a frenzy.

Every conversation for days focused on the “what if” scenarios; old-timers talked about their Katrina experiences and the devastation of Camille years ago. Kroger was a madhouse with shoppers stocking up, and cars were congested at the gas pumps, wanting to have a full tank in case evacuation was called for. Well, we had a lot of rain but the hurricane petered out once it made landfall. Vacillating between a tropical storm and category one, the damage was minimal but the flooding significant as it plodded its way north.

Occasionally the winds gusted to 40 mph, but there were periods of respite when we enjoyed sitting on the porch watching it rain. Our rain gauge measured four inches in the 36 hours it took for the fringes of the storm to pass. Though there were big limbs severed from our trees and the yard was covered by clusters of oak leaves, twigs and debris, we were fortunate not to have the fallen trees as did others in the neighborhood.

Having been away at the One8 Church Planters Bootcamp near Memphis, we relished the storm-imposed restrictions for the next couple of days. With attention focused on the Weather Channel it was wasn’t advisable to run errands or engage in the usual yard work. Sequestered in the man cave we relished the opportunity for quiet days of reading, preparation for future ministries, watching the U.S. Open Tennis tournament and indulging an occasional game of pool.

I led two days of seminars on Spiritual Warfare in the task of church planting at the One8 conference. We enjoyed seeing pastors we knew from the area, including former IMB trustee, Wayne Marshall, who pastors the host church, Longview Heights in Olive Branch and a host of young, enthusiastic, visionary church planters among the almost 300 participants.

After cleaning up from the storm and preaching at our home church in Clinton last Sunday, we take off for another extended road trip that will take us to engagements in North and South Carolina. I encourage friends in South Carolina to attend the Prayer Conference on Thursday, Sept. 6, at White Oak conference center sponsored by the state convention. Bobbye will be sharing and I will be speaking three times on “Effective Praying to Change the World,” “Overcoming Obstacles to Victorious Praying,” and “Intimacy with God through Praying the Psalms.”

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