The world was horrified when the tsunami and earthquakes hit Japan in March, but tragedy struck our own nation last week as a rash of tornadoes tore through southern states, killing hundreds. But in the midst of tragedy, one Alabama youth is still praising God with everything in him.
Despite the danger he and his family faced, Joseph Snyder, a victim of the storms in Hackleburg, Ala., still found a reason to worship God.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that there were a record-breaking 197 tornadoes between April 25 and 28, and that number keeps rising. In the 24-hour-period from 8 a.m. April 27 to 8 a.m. April 28, there were 340 fatalities.
Sarah Weinburg, travel coordinator at Dutch Sheets Ministries in Hamilton, Ala., has directly seen the effects of the tornadoes.
"Seeing a tragedy like this firsthand has had an effect on me I didn't expect," Weinburg says. "I have seen many pictures of the devastation caused by [other natural] disasters ... but seeing the pictures is nothing like being in the middle of it and seeing it with my own eyes. The utter devastation, ruin and loss is something I struggle to put into words."
Alabama got hit especially hard. Meteorologists in Birmingham and Huntsville, Ala., say the state suffered through 36 tornadoes, according to Alabama news website, al.com. As of Wednesday, the death toll is at 236, and more than 2,000 are injured, according to the Alabama Emergency Management Agency. But believers there are still finding plenty to be thankful for.
Indeed, Weinburg was touched as she watched 11-year-old Snyder dance and praise the Lord during a worship service on Sunday. "He sees the devastation and experiences the trauma everywhere he looks, yet he still worships like this. [It's] absolutely amazing," she says.
According to the NOAA, the massive Hackleburg tornado—an EF5 with winds above 200 mph—could be the deadliest since 1955, killing 70. Snyder and his family were huddled in their hallway as a tornado ripped through their house, ravaging everything. Miraculously, the spot where the family of five took cover was the only place in the house left untouched, and they all got out unharmed.
"Looking at that house today is witnessing a true miracle that they are all alive," Weinburg says. "I have no doubt angels hovered around them, not allowing the storm to take their lives."
Click here to view a video of Joseph Snyder worshipping after his family lost everything.
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