Reformed Seminary, College, Free Sermons, Scholarly Resources, and Overseas Missions Opportunities
Reformation Christian Ministries (RCM) has had an office in the State of Florida since 1986 when we relocated from Suriname, South America. RCM has had to deal with hurricanes since then. Hurricane season in Florida lasts from the middle of July through the middle of November. Anyone who lives or works in Florida develops a very fast learning curve for them at the approach of their first one. Our first years in Florida after leaving Suriname in 1986, were in Pompano Beach (the community immediately north of Ft. Lauderdale). During our 12 year stay there, we battened down for several hurricanes, the most significant of which was Hurricane Andrew in 1993. We evacuated for that one, taking all of our office computers with us in a motorhome up to Daytona Beach area as a precaution in case of total destruction. We only evacuated because, at that time, Broward County Florida was expected to be the landfall for Category 5 (150+ mph hours winds) Hurricane Andrew. That hurricane veered to the south 60 miles before landfall and hit a bit south of Miami, though winds were clocked at our office of 110 mph. Upon return, we were without electricity for about four days, and had a lot of cleanup from debris.
In 1998, we moved to the "Treasure Coast" of Florida, about 130 miles north of Pompano Beach. The word was out that this area was something of a haven from hurricanes and thus why Cape Canaveral (and Cape Kennedy) located their launching facilities just 50 miles north of us. We boarded up for Hurricane Floyd in 1999, but had no reason to batten down until the year 2004.
After the Hurricane Frances hit us, during the time of no power for many people, I did a little studying on the subject of storms and how God uses them. God led me to put together a sermon on the subject while were living through the aftermath of one to encourage our congregation at a time when it was very easy to be discouraged, not only because of what we had been through, but also because of what we were facing. We had just barely missed Hurricane Charley, had been hit by Hurricane Frances, and had Hurricane Ivan heading our way, followed by another potential Hurricane Jeanne.
To download this sermon in printable form, click here: Sermon on "God and Storms (Hurricanes)" [pdf] (sermon by Rev. Geoff Donnan).
Now, before we begin with the picture report, let's put things in perspective.
1. This was the first time since the 1880's that four hurricanes hit one state in one hurricane season. The last state hit was Texas.
2. This is the first time in recorded history that the "Treasure Coast" was hit by a major hurricane (Category 3 or higher) in recorded history. It has been hit by smaller category hurricanes which don't cause as much damage, but still with less frequency than other parts of Florida.
The graphic to the right from the "Treasure Coast News" (October 3, 2004) shows the tracks of the four hurricanes and one tropical storm that had hit as of October 3, 2004.
In the following pages, the report was written largely chronologically, with some exceptions, so that you can follow our experiences approximately as they occurred. We hope this style is interesting, and it must be kept in mind, that throughout this process, our hope was only in the strength of the Lord to see us through.
While taking you through the events of the hurricanes of 2004 that impacted RCM, we will also explain the precautions that have been built into our office and two homes located on the one property of RCM in Fellsmere. We trust that you will begin to see how God has both wonderfully provided, and granted us a growing learning curve which we have employed in both protecting ourselves from hurricanes and tornados, and also continuing to carry on (as much as possible) with our mission critical work, during such times. We welcome any comments or suggestions about anything that is not clear in this story of God's grace through our experience.