Angie Williams story - a survivor of the Joplin tornado
This story was posted on our blog. We wanted to share it with you. -Lisa & Eric
On Sunday May 22, 2011 my family and I got up to get ready for church. I took a few moments to check facebook. God laid it on my heart to post as my status: Joshua 24:15
"...But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
If you don't have a personal relationship with Christ I pray you will find him today.
Little did I know the horrific event that would take place later that day.
After we got home from church and had eaten lunch the girls and I took an afternoon nap while daddy had to go to work. After we woke up I started to do dishes and was going to get dinner ready. Adley was watching a movie so we didn't have the local newstation playing, completely unaware of the weather.
Treay called which is unusual to tell us to watch the weather. I turned the tv on to the newstation and he and I decided together we were safe that the storm was heading north of us. so we hung up and I started back to what I was doing. Then my mom called and said "do you know you are under a tornado warning?" I said "really? No" and then the sirens started going off. I hung up and took the girls to the bathtub and sat down. The sirens quit going off so we got out of the bathroom and started to resume our evening.
I put Averie in a stand up bouncer seat in the living room and Adley was sitting on the couch. My mom called again to check on us. While on the phone I continued to look through the windows keeping an eye on the extremely dark sky. When looking out my front window the sky to the left was a pretty light blue while the sky to the right was black. I kept hearing the weatherman saying the storm is "over the heart of joplin" "I thought is that me?" Then I noticed hail sparatically falling out the front window. I told my mom who is still on the phone that it is hailng. She said "get in the hallway this is not a good sign."
So I told Adley to get in the hallway and I picked Averie up still in the bouncer seat and placed her in the hallway. I went to Adleys room and grabbed her bed pillows and her special puppy dog and blankies then shut her bedroom door. I went to my bedroom and grabbed just a few more bed pillows and shut our bedroom door along with Averies bedroom door and the hall bathroom door. These things I don't always do...
Then something told me to remove Averie from the bouncer seat and hold her in my lap, so I took her out and put the seat back in the living room. Then I realized the tv was too loud and it wasn't telling me anything worth hearing, it was playing the tv show Seinfeld so I got up to turn it down so I could hear more of what might be happening outside. It felt like seconds after I sat in the hallway the hail and extreme winds began banging on the front of the house. Still on the phone with my mom I was giving her a play by play of what was happening. I said its hitting the front of the house and its really strong, then the power flickered and I let out a shreik then it flickered back on then off.
Then I heard the sound of a train.
I told my mom and she said thats it "cover your heads and get as low as you can! get low!" The force pushing on the house got stronger until it ripped through the house taking everything in its path The noise was unbelievable, it was so loud! The wind was so strong and the skies were dark!. All I could do was cover my babies and yell "God PLEASE keep us safe! PLEASE put your Angels all around us!" I begged and pleaded God to keep us safe.
The tornado seemed to go on and on, the thought of what it would be like to wake up in Heaven passed through my mind. The pillow that was on my head flew immediately off and I thought man its me against the tornado now, so I got lower down on my girls. I begged God to "PLEASE let it end! PLEASE let it end!"
When it finally came to an end and I sat there checking on the girls and I hear a voice that I know very well yelling "Ang? Ang? Ang?" It was my mom! She had been on the phone the entire time the tornado ripped threw my house! I couldn't believe it. I had to search a little through debris and I finally found my phone. First words out of my mouth where "Everything's gone!"
It was so surreal. I covered the girls with there daddys coat that landed nearby us. It had started to rain huge rain drops. I sat there thinking "what do I do?" "Where do I go?" "Should I stay here or go for help?" I decided I needed to get the girls to safety. The lightening was stricking extremely close and the rain was really coming down.
So I had Adley stand up and then I stood up with Averie (we did not have to crawl or dig out, just stood up from where we were sitting, everything was gone around us, not a single wall was standing) then picked Adley up and carried both girls in my arms along with Adley's favorite blanket and stuffed puppy dog and carried them barefoot to a nearby church. I can't believe I carried them that far not to mention barefoot. I didn't look around much, I was too afraid of what I would see.
The girls and I just held each other close and walked to where we knew we would be seen. I walked to 20th and Wisconsin. I heard screams and cries. It broke my heart knowing there were injured or even trapped people out there but I had to keep walking to keep my girls safe. My mom still on the phone tried to figure out a place for me to go but communication was hit and miss.
Once I reached the church we were all cold and tired and scared. We sat down on the church parking lot. Everywhere we looked had been destroyed. A nice Chrsitian couple drove by and saw the girls and I sitting all alone in the middle of a deserted parking lot and told us to get in theor truck. I am so blessed by this family. They gave us towels and blankets to warm up. They drove to the grandparents house and got the girls new t-shirts to wear, Averie was beginning to turn blue because she was so cold.
Both girls were so brave and barely cried. Adley was worried about daddy and so was I but we couldn't reach him by phone. I knew in my heart he was ok. Adley and I said a prayer for daddy trusting that God had took care of him too. (Treays work was not hit. Praise the Lord!) The sweet family took us to the home depot parking lot where I saw a Highway Patrolman. My mom had told me that a trooper would be looking for me so I knew I had to talk to them. I finally got to talk to a trooper and he helped get word to my dad where I was. This nice trooper drove my girls and I down 20th street to my mother in laws house, which thankfully was not hurt by the tornado.
Not much long after I arrived a familiar vechicle sped into the driveway and it was my mom and dad! I have never been so realived to see them in my life!! I gave my mommy a huge hug and started to cry. I had stayed so strong until that moment.
Thinking back over that night I can see how God had a hand in keeping us safe.
1. Treay called and told me to watch weather, he normally does not call me while at work.
2. My sister in law accidently text my mom that their is a tornado warning in Joplin.
3. My mom called and told me about tornado warning just seconds before sirens went off.
4. I got out the of bathtub and stayed in the hallway.
5. We just stood up and walked out of tornado basically untouched. (I had a few cuts and bruises but no big deal)
6. The houses surrounding my house which there are 5 of them all had atleast one wall still standing in their home and I had none. Not a single one.
7. Adleys dresser was knocked over at a 45 degree angle holding the outer brick wall up to act as a ramp at the exact spot where we were sitting across the "hall" which we believe helped things go over our heads.
8. I believe God put us in the exact spot we needed to be during the tornado. IF we were further back we would have been crushed. If we were further forward we probably would have been blown away.
9. We can't find our major applicances but Treays gmas glass candy dish we got after she died was untouched.
10. Two cars flew into my house on either side of us...they could have easily landed on us!