They Escaped a Deluge!
By Awake! writer in Switzerland
IN October 2000, reports of floods were received from various parts of the world. Copious rains had soaked mountainsides, causing landslides that carried all sorts of rubble and even entire trees!
The canton of Valais in southern Switzerland was the site of such a disaster. This section of land is divided lengthwise by the Rhône, a river that flows westward from the Rhône glacier in the Central Alps to Lake Geneva—a distance of about 100 miles [170 km]. The mountain ranges on both sides of the river shed runoff water into the river by means of numerous brooks of varying sizes. Normally, this drainage functions smoothly. But when excess rainfall covers the entire area, calamity often follows.
This was particularly so in Gondo, on the border of Italy. This mountain village of 150 inhabitants was hit by an avalanche of mud and stones that destroyed a large section of the village. Soon other parts of Valais were inundated by the heavy rains. Roads and railway lines were blocked, and houses began filling up with mud and stones. In some places muddy slime piled up to 13 feet [4 m] high. One woman watched as an avalanche of mud over a hundred feet [30 m] high carried huge rocks and standing trees right toward her village!
Markus and Tabitha, a married couple, were living in Mörel at the time of the disaster. “We were awakened just after 6:00 a.m. by a hollow-sounding blow and a shake,” Markus recalls. “I went outside with a flashlight to investigate, and I was shocked at what I saw. Houses and bridges had been damaged by masses of rock, and a car had been slammed against a neighbor’s house. Farther down, a neighbor and his wife were trapped in their home. I helped them out through a window. When I returned home, Tabitha and I had just enough time to gather a few belongings.”
Markus and Tabitha are Jehovah’s Witnesses, and they found refuge with fellow believers outside the danger zone. “Although we escaped,” says Markus, “Tabitha felt the shock of the event for days.” What helped her endure the traumatic ordeal? “The company and support of our brothers and sisters in the faith,” Tabitha answers, adding: “So did the interest shown by many in our neighborhood.”
Markus and Tabitha were reminded of Proverbs 18:24, which states that there exists “a friend sticking closer than a brother.” In times of disaster, how precious such friends prove to be!
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Markus and Tabitha
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