“We knew something was wrong when we got a call that tiles from our roof were causing cars to dodge them on U.S. Highway 101.”
Pastor Mike Champlain of the Gold Beach Apostolic Church and several members rushed to their church to find that 85-mph wind gusts had ripped away a large portion of the building’s roof, scattering black tiles everywhere.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, it was now raining inside the church.
The apostolic church had become yet another victim of last week’s powerful storm that ranged up and down the southern Oregon/northern California.
Certainly, it wasn’t the Thanksgiving weekend the senior pastor had envisioned for his congregation of 100 or so. Time to pray.
“It’s pretty bad. We have water all under the sub-flooring, running down the walls, filling up all the light fixtures,” said Champlain. “And there’s water oozing up from the floor, wrecking the tiles.”
A large rubbish trailer pulls up outside as a crew of volunteers springs into action, dragging debris from the building. A large bulletin board inside, dripping water, urges church members, “Oh, Give Thanks To The Lord.”
Champlain had no idea where services would be held this past Sunday. Anthony Perazzu, a member of the congregation and one of the first on the scene after the building’s tiles began raining down on the highway, helps shovel out debris as he answers the pastor’s question:
“Hey, we’re Apostolic. If we have to, we’ll meet right here, like it is.”
But the church received a better offer of a dry location from “a brother in the Lord,” pastor Mike Quesada of Calvary Chapel in Gold Beach. Quesada’s congregation “just happened” to have moved out of their longtime location a few days earlier to relocate to a new chapel.
On this day, Quesada is there with his wife, Jen, to see if they can help Champlain and his members. “We want to help them anyway we can,” said Mike Quesada.
At least Calvary Chapel’s building is fully insured, said Champlain, rubbing the back of his neck and looking around. He’s just received confirmation of that good news from his insurance adjuster a mere 15 minutes ago. What has been lost can be replaced.
The powerful mega-storm that slammed the south coast, snapping trees, downing power lines, and rendering large portions of Gold Beach without power for a couple of hours, has moved on.
Given the circumstances, was Champlain finding it difficult to be thankful over the Thanksgiving weekend? “No, God is always good,” he said.
Rolling up his sleeves, the good pastor resumes his work.