Skip navigation

This amazing testimony is from Heather Martin. She was at Union Universitythe night of the tornado.

Well, most of you have probably heard by now, my school, Union University was hit by an F4 tornado this past Tuesday night (Feb. 5, 
2008). Thanks for all the calls and messages. I will try to talk to you 
all as time and my emotional state allows.

I don’t know what reports you 
have read, but I was one of the 15 students who got trapped in the wreckage. I was in my dorm room with one of my roommates (Kellie), the 3 girls from upstairs, and my mentor from church.

About 2 minutes before 
the tornado hit, my other roommate (who is an RA) ran in and told us to 
get in the bathtub. We barely made it. Our ears popped, my mentor 
(Julie) looked at me and said, ‘We have to get in, NOW!’—then the 
lights went off. I was the last one in. My legs didn’t quite make it 
before the building collapsed on us.

I have not yet found words to 
describe the actual tornado, the noises, and the pressure. Maybe one day 
I will. We felt our bodies being compressed and compressed, and then it 
stopped. I couldn’t move.

We made sure everyone in the tub was alive. It 
felt like we were miles from outside—it was pitch black. My initial 
thought was, ‘this is where I’m going to die—there is no way the 
rescuers will get to us in time’. Then, I assessed my physical state. My 
body was twisted and contorted into a position that I plan on never attempting again…I think God placed me in there just so, because I don’t know how else I could have fit.

I had a pocket of air against 
Julie’s legs. I couldn’t feel my legs because they were pinned between the edge of the tub and all the debris on top of us.

I thought through 
what my death was going to be like. I realized I was probably going to pass out first, and then I would be with Jesus. I’ve always wondered 
what my ‘last thoughts’ would be. As one who has struggled in the past with doubts about salvation, I have always wondered what my last moments 
would be like.

All I can say is, God was there. I knew He had me. And I 
knew He was either going to save me unto Himself or He was going to save 
me for a little more time here.

I began to pray aloud, I prayed for peace, for the ability to trust Him.

I started accounting for everyone 
who was in the tub. At that point I realized that someone under me was near the point of death (from her breathing). Then, I called out Julie’s 
name and realized it was her. My heart sunk at that point. I didn’t 
think my heart could bear losing another friend. I started praying for her out loud, telling her to keep breathing, God was with her. I was so afraid she was going to die underneath me. I think I even asked God to 
take me if He took her. Every time I moved, she either couldn’t breathe 
or she had excruciating pain.

I tried to stay as still and calm as I 
could. I know God was managing my thoughts for me at that poin t. I could NOT panic…and by His grace, I didn’t.

I found out later we were 
trapped for 45 minutes. One of the other girls in the tub had her cellphone and was actually able to call 911. I honestly only felt like I 
was in there for 10-15 minutes. I don’t know if I ever lost 
consciousness or if God just allowed it to seem shorter. I was told 
later the rescuers had to use a backhoe to remove the initial debris. 
None of us remember that—again, that was by God’s grace. We would 
have been terrified had we heard that.

When the rescuers started digging us out, it was terrifying. Julie’s neck was exposed in such a way that 
one wrong move and it would have snapped…she was still having lots of 
trouble breathing. At one point, the rescuers could see my face and I was screaming out to them…telling them I was not panicking but there was a girl under me and I could not move or she would die, and that they needed to lift the debris and not slide it.

Once they broke through to 
us, they got everyone out in about 10-15 minutes. I was the last because my legs were stuck and I couldn’t feel them or move them.

Julie and I ended up needing to go to the hospital. But neither of us had to stay overnight.

It was a night of chaos. And yet, God was in the midst of us. 
We were buried in a tangled mess of wreckage and yet He knew how each board, each piece of brick and rubble was placed. For example, right next to my legs was a 2×4…it ended up keeping just enough pressure off my legs so that I did not lose them. I haven’t gotten all my feeling 
back, but I’m walking around.

I know I have mentioned God a whole lot throughout this note. I know many of you who are reading this do not 
know Him and may think I’m a bit odd. But it comes down to this, there is NO other explanation as to why I am alive today other than, God had His hand over us. He kept just enough pressure off. He didn’t let me 
panic.

Was I scared?? Yes—terrified at first. But at one point, my 
friend Kellie said ‘Heather, it’s gonna be okay’. And a sense of peace came around us. I know God was with us that entire time. And He did give 
me a sense of peace—it kept me from panicking, it allowed me to 
speak up for Julie when the rescue started.

My life has been a little screwy recently. I’ve struggled with trusting God. I’ve struggled 
accepting the fact that He loves me unconditionally. But God was with me. He showed me how to trust Him in the rubble—in the chaos.

I know
I have some long days ahead. There are sounds stored in my memory that 
I’m not aware of until I hear them again. I freak out at some very random times and I’m not sure what all the triggers are. But this is what I’m holding onto—God is not finished with me yet. He still has a 
purpose for me here on earth a little while longer. And the One who sustained me through the nightmare of Tuesday night will continue to 
sustain me, to love me unconditionally, to comfort me, and to hold me 
when I’m scared. And knowing that is what allowed me to get out of bed this morning.

He is a good God. If you don’t know Him, you need to. He 
loves you. He wants to know you intimately, and He wants you to know Him intimately. 
Like I said earlier, I want to talk to each of you. I am quite fragile 
emotionally—so it may be a while. I’m at home—have some fabulous 
painkillers—will probably not have to take them except for at 
nighttime today. So, my body is healing. Just feels like a building 
collapsed on it…:) I love each of you. 


Advertisements

One Comment

  1. Pastor Sam

    thanks for sharing the article. God is indeed sovereign

    Julie, mentioned in the posting, is a good friend of Erin’s. She was one of the bridesmaids in Erin and Jonathan’s wedding

    Jack


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: