Saturday, July 14, 2012

If a Tree Falls --------

This past weekend we took part in our church's annual family camp at Camp Elkanah.  We again had a great turnout but the weather was different this year.  Saturday we had rain and thunder storms for the first time so the afternoon activities were curtailed and most everyone moved into the dinning hall for board and card games.  About mid-afternoon, a couple of people noticed that the wind across the road from camp was swirling and the trees in the camp ground were swaying in a circular motion rather than back and forth.  The tree above snapped off about 20 to 25 feet above the ground, dropped straight down and then toppled over onto the roof of one of the cabins.  The force of the 75 to 80 ft section that fell broke a water line three feet under ground. Several girls had only moments before left the cabin, as had Valerie from the white and orange trailer.  Had the tree fallen 5 degrees more to the right it would had taken out the white and orange trailer.  15 degrees to the left and it would have taken out the newly purchased Suburban with the black cattle guard in the first picture, which the Martins had owned all of 48 hours. 
The red pick-up in the third picture just 24 hours earlier had been parked directly in the path of the tree.  I had moved it for Charlie so another couple could park their trailer, the one the tree just barely missed.  Charlie half joked that I should have left his pick-up where it was because he could have now been looking at new trucks. 

As you can see from this picture, our trailer (with the green ladder) was only 6 ft. from the tree, as were several others.  Had this tree gone in any other direction the level of destruction would have been much worse.  If it had not been for the rain, there would have been numerous people sitting in lawn chairs visiting and kids running around. There was a minimal amount of space available for the tree to fall and do the least amount of damage.  Anyone thinking divine intervention here?  No question about it from those attending camp.

Let's see, we will need a chainsaw, back hoe, shovels, pipe fittings, -----
The other amazing thing about this whole incident is that it took place on a week end, and not during the previous 4 weeks when there were kids everywhere for summer camps.
It also occurred at a time when we had numerous men with the various skills needed to remove the tree, dig out the pipe, knew what was needed to repair the pipe and put it back together.  

Roof damage to the cabin

How deep is the pipe??

What a blessing to have young backs with hands that fit a shovel and know how to use it.
The young guys dug down about 3 ft. before they found the pipe, then Russ brought in the back hoe to dig the hole bigger to make room for the repair.

Bringing in the heavy equipment.

A little final hand work.

Measure twice, cut once.

Apparently somewhere along the way this became a state work site as we have two people actually working, six supervisors and one shovel leaner, making sure it(the shovel) doesn't get lost or stolen. 
Work site peanut gallery
And the final pressure test was successful with no leaks!  Praise the Lord!  
It was wonderful to see so many men pitch in to help, each one bringing different skills to the table, each offering suggestions as to how to accomplish the task, everyone seeing what needed to be done and then doing those things they were good at.  Some shut down the power to the cabin and repaired that line, some started cutting up the tree to remove it out of the way, some started digging out for the water line, and others started cleaning up the branches and covering the damaged section of cabin roof.  
Russ removing the logs.
 It was great to see God's people working together, no one individual trying to comand everyone, but everyone taking reponsibility for a part and then doing it, no matter what the task was.  

So, what was my job?  I was trying for the shovel leaner position but Mike M. was younger, bigger and stronger so I lost out on that and was delegated to the pictorial history position.  Tough job but someone has to do it. 

It is a rare occurrence that you actually get to see our loving God, Heavenly Father, perform a miracle right before us.  The tree that He allowed to fall had to be guided by His own hand or by guardian angels to fall in the only space where the damage was limited.  We are so thankful that no one was injured and property damage was limited to the cabin. 


  1. Yes, we serve an absolutely great and gracious God!!

  2. Great narrative, Mike. What a blessing and praise for His awesome kindness. On another note, do you have a new email address? My emails to you are bouncing back. Thanks. Eric

  3. Hey Mike and Jeri,

    You two must have nine lives....must not have many left after your many years of close calls! So, you better call is quits in the danger department. But, then again, you are of the Faith and God is your strengh and guiding light....just don't tempt Him anymore than you already have! :)

    Sharon D.