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peace in the storm

By Charity Sexton


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On Monday, April 28, around 4:00 p.m., the weather alert on our local TV stations began to issue tornado warnings for our viewing area. Cailey (our youngest daughter) and I waited anxiously for David and the other three children to return home from school.


Peace in the Storm

When I glanced out of the back double sliding doors, it only took a moment for me to realize something terrible was about to happen. I saw an enormous, dark, funnel-shaped cloud spreading three-quarters of a mile wide over our neighborhood and the nearby downtown area of Suffolk, Virginia. Less than 200 yards away, I watched pieces of my neighbors’ homes breaking apart in the grasp of 160 mph winds.

It was in those frantic moments that David and the children pulled up in our minivan. We quickly hurried into our downstairs bathroom where all six of us stuffed ourselves into a one-man shower. Terrified, we all began to pray, calling on the one true living God. Our children began to cry as they pleaded for God’s protection and safety.


Tornado Damage

Photo: Destruction in the wake of the Suffolk tornado.


It takes only a few seconds for this type of F-3 tornado to demolish a two story brick home. God, however, had His own plans that day. As we crouched in the shower praying, we could hear the tornado’s force pulling at the roof over our heads. The storm sounded much like a constant train whistle as it ripped along its path.

The 15-20 seconds when the storm passed overhead seemed like an eternity, but what a Great God we serve. God heard our cries and placed His all-powerful Hand of protection upon us. At that moment, we realized we had experienced peace in the midst of the storm.


When the Storm Passes By

The tornado leveled 13 homes, caused 145 others to be condemned, and damaged 1,200. Yet by God’s grace no one died and only 120 were injured. Two of the neighborhoods that sustained the most damage were Hillpoint Farms (our neighborhood) and Burnett’s Mill (the neighborhood of another church family).

What an incredible effect this disaster is having upon the hearts of so many in our area! In the weeks following the storm, thanks to so many of you, we were able to purchase food and gift cards to help many needy families. We also have passed out over 1,200 meals to victims, neighbors, firefighters, police officers, and city workers. We have ministered to so many families and young couples that literally lost everything.



Photo: David Sexton (second from right) and volunteers from Crosspointe FWB Church talk to the mayor of Suffolk.


In addition, we also gave out over 1,000 pieces of church literature. As a result of the efforts of many people connected to CrossPointe FWB Church, we have received many positive and grateful comments and many have expressed interest in our church. We believe the Lord is going to use this tornado to help build


His church in Suffolk.

We deeply believe God has a wonderful purpose and plan for CrossPointe. Before the storm, 64% of the people in Suffolk, Virginia, claimed no religious affiliation. We believe God gained their attention in a mighty way.

We are praying that, because of the tornado, we can point them to the God who can save them and give them peace during their personal storms. Please continue to pray for CrossPointe FWB Church as we minister to the hearts of people in Suffolk, Virginia.


ABOUT THE WRITER: David and Charity Sexton are home missionary church planters to Suffolk, VA. Read more about CrossPoint FWB Church at



©2008 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists