JACKSON, Tenn. – Sept. 3, 2008 – Union University students moving back to campus for the fall semester will receive a free copy of the book “God in the Whirlwind,” by Tim Ellsworth, with photography by Morris Abernathy.
Published by B&H Publishing Group of Nashville, Tenn., “God in the Whirlwind” tells the story of the Feb. 5 tornado that slammed the Union University campus and includes the stories of students and others who point to God’s care and protection for them that night.
The book consists of 20 chapters, each a different story about a Union student, family member or employee. Interspersed throughout the book are brief first-person testimonies from students about their experiences during the tornado.
“The accounts you’ll find here aren’t simply survivor stories,” Ellsworth, Union’s director of news and media relations, writes in the book’s introduction. “They are stories of faith in the midst of the tornado. They are stories of how God had His way in the whirlwind and storm. And they are potent examples of how a loving God protected the helpless, and used imperfect, sinful people to showcase His miraculous power and His saving grace to the entire world.”
Also included is a 16-page insert of color photographs taken by Union photographer Abernathy. Union University President David S. Dockery wrote the book’s foreword, and George Guthrie, the Benjamin W. Perry Professor of Bible at Union, wrote the afterword. Proceeds from the book’s sales will benefit Union’s Disaster Relief Fund.
“I have never read a book (the Bible of course being considered separately) that fed my faith like this book,” wrote Gordon Cloud, pastor of Pine Bark Baptist Church in Cairo, Ga., in a review of the book. “On a night when emergency personnel informed the local hospital that they should be prepared for one hundred casualties, God providentially delivered everyone on campus from dying in this storm.
“Testimony after testimony provides a cohesive and gripping account that literally left me with goose bumps on my arms and tears in my eyes,” Cloud continued. “Without a doubt, the faith and lives of those who encountered this twister have been changed forever.”
Virginia Walker’s daughter Elizabeth is a Union student whose testimony is included in the book. Virginia said in reading the book she would finish a story, cry, pray, rejoice and then move to the next chapter.
“Incredible, amazing, indescribable and truly miraculous is the power of God,” she said. “To see the destruction caused by the storm, to read and hear story after story of God’s providential protection displayed personally to each student, and to know that your child was there, safe in the Lord’s strong hands, can only yield one response: to worship the true and living God. The stories from ‘God in the Whirlwind’ brought tears to my eyes, a lump in my throat, but praise in my heart.”
Incoming freshmen who registered during the summer received a copy of the book when they were on campus in June. Returning students living on campus will receive a copy when they check in for the fall semester. Faculty and staff also received the book during the summer.
Students who did not get their free copy during freshman registration or who are not living on campus may pick up a complimentary copy at Union Station during office hours beginning Sept. 8. Books will be available there until Sept. 19. Union students who graduated in 2008 may also pick up a copy of the book during those times.
The book is available for purchase at Amazon and in select LifeWay Christian Stores.
By Mark Kahler