By David Sargent
Some students recall hearing the principal of Plaza Towers
Elementary School telling them over the intercom to go to the cafeteria
and wait for their parents. But then the tornado alarm sounded and
selfless teachers of this school in Moore, Oklahoma, frantically tried
to secure their students’ safety. The tornado struck the school. Seven
students were killed. But many were saved due to the heroic efforts of
Rhonda Crosswhite, a sixth grade teacher at Plaza Towers, and
several students, sought refuge from the twister in a school bathroom.
As the tornado tore through the building, she shielded three of her
students with her own body.
“It just started coming down so I just laid on top of some of them,” she said on NBC’s Today show.
One of the students Crosswhite shielded, fourth-grader Damian Britton, said the tornado “sounded like a train coming by.”
“A teacher covered us — Ms. Crosswhite,” Damian said on the show.
“I told her we were fine because we were holding onto something. Then
she went over to my friend Antonio and covered him. So she saved our
“The whole time I just kept screaming to them, ‘Quit worrying,
we’re fine, we’re fine,” she told the Today show hosts, adding that she
was unsure if her attempts at reassurance could be heard over the
twister. Yet she kept reassuring them. “We’re going to be fine, I’m
protecting you,” Crosswhite recalled telling the students. “Then I said a
few prayers: ‘God, please take care of my kids’ — and we’re fine.”
The students shielded by Crosswhite were relatively unscathed. One
student had a cut on his head. Crosswhite had cuts all over her back and
feet — she was wearing sandals.
Damian’s mom, Brandi Kline, said her home was destroyed — but she
was grateful her family was okay. “Everyone around us lost everything,”
the 29-year-old mom said, referring to her devastated neighborhood.
“But we have our kids,” she added, tearfully thanking Crosswhite.
Thankfully, we also have Someone to shield us from the deadly destruction of sin...
As sin wrought havoc in the lives of all mankind, God, because of
His great love for us, sent Jesus to our rescue. He "shielded" us from
the deadly blows of sin with His own body as He died on the cross for
our sins. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we
might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have
been healed” (1 Peter 2:24). He died for us so that we might have
forgiveness of our sins and receive the GIFT of eternal life (Eph 1:7; 1
Jesus will save those who seek refuge in Him by: placing their
faith and trust in Him (Acts 16:30-31), turning from sin in repentance
(Acts 17:30-31), confessing Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and being
baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts
2:38). He will continue to shield THOSE who continue to trust Him
enough to follow Him (1 John 1:7).
Many children are thankful for the heroic efforts of teachers like
Rhonda Crosswhite who risked their lives to shield them from the storm.
And ALL of us can be thankful that Jesus gave Himself for us to shield us from the eternal destruction of sin!
By His wounds, YOU can be healed IF you will trust and obey Him.
* Information gleaned for “Oklahoma teachers hailed as heroes for
selfless acts that saved kids” by Edgar Sandoval, Corky Siemaszko, and
Stephen Rex Brown in the New York Daily News (5/21/13)
- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in
Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled
Living Water." To learn more about this excellent resource contact
David via their website: http://www.creekwoodcc.org