While a tornado ripped through McCracken County, Kentucky, and ripped off the roof of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 40 preschoolers and 10 staff were inside.
While the storm raged outside, the children sang songs like, “Jesus Loves Me” and “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” inside. None were harmed.
The EF2 tornado carrying winds of up to 135 mph ravaged a 5-square-mile area.
“God was definitely with us,” preschool director Michelle Rushing told WPSD Local News 6. “The secretary and I walked through the doors just as we heard our glass breaking and felt the suction sucking the roof off.”
“We didn’t really realize what was going on,” Toni Mathis, a teacher at the daycare, told WPSD. “We were singing with the kids. We just blocked out anything else that was going on and was occupied with making sure the kids were safe.”
“I think it didn’t really hit me until about 10 minutes after the tornado, after I left here, that — what could have happened, and why God was on our side, and why he was even with us moments leading up to the tornado,” she said.
Ryan Willcutt, a McCracken County sheriff’s deputy who tried to get to the church but couldn’t said, “I saw the trees coming up out of the ground and flying through the air and power lines coming up and laying down over the road. I just kind of put my head down covered my head and prayed for the best.”
Another preschool teacher, Lauren Haneline, told WPSD, “My ears popped, and I knew this was it,” she said. “But there was so much peace and a calming in that room. I’ve never felt God’s hands on me like I felt that day. I knew we were going to be OK.”
“The nursery, where the roof is gone. I mean, I have a door across the hallway, and if I just reached out that door, I could reach their door. It’s that close … we really were protected by God.”
“When you look at this building, and you see the destruction, and you recognize it had about 50 people in this facility when this hit and no one had a scratch on them, I think that is what really gives us the focus of what all of this tragedy is all about,” Senior Pastor Wes Conner said.