Mudslide Aftermath: 'God Was in the Middle of This'
OSO, Wash. -- President Barack Obama visited Oso, Wash., Tuesday, where a mudslide left more than three dozen people dead. While the search for bodies has ended, people there are still looking for answers.
The March 22 landslide covered approximately a mile of state Highway 530, which is now lined with signs with messages like, "Oso strong" and "God bless Oso."
Still, the heartbreaking tragedy has at least one silver lining: It has given area pastors an opportunity to talk to people about Jesus.
Michael Duncan, pastor of Mountain View Baptist Church in nearby Darrington, is one of those spreading the Word. He and his wife share a unique perspective: They missed the mudslide by just two minutes.
"It's hard to talk about this because I don't think I deserve to be the man that was saved by two minutes," Duncan said.
Yet here he is, alive and trying to make the most of it.
"We don't have days left. I had two minutes. That's all I had and there were people died that I knew that didn't have that time. They don't have the rest of the year to get saved. They have that day," Duncan told CBN News.
Amber Skorjanc almost joined the dead when her home slid 600 feet before stopping.
"I know that God was with us because as it was going I cried out to him and I said, 'Please save us,'" she recalled.
But what about those not saved? Many wonder where God was for them?
"Well, God is in the middle of all this," Pastor Duncan said. "He's right in the middle of it all."
"The Bible says that God brings the day of disaster as well as the day of blessing, that we don't necessarily charge God with a fault, that he's not wrong in letting these things happen," he continued.
"There's a day appointed for everybody and nobody gets to that day without God's permission," Duncan said. "That appointed day belongs to God. Life and death are in his hands."
It's a theme that's being preached by pastors in Oso, and many are listening and seeking help.
"About 32 have come in here in the past week or so for prayer and to find out more about comfort," Gary Ray, pastor of Oso Chapel, said.
"And so it's been a great opportunity to meet new people and share with them the love and power of Christ."
Statistics show this area of the Pacific Northwest has the least amount of Bible-believing Christians.
"It is a highly un-churched area, perhaps in the top five un-churched areas of the United States," Pastor Ray said. "And so there is a real opportunity now for the church or churches to rise up and show the love of God."
Some are indeed getting closer to God through this ordeal. Pastor Duncan told CBN News about a woman who lost a family member.
"She is not saved yet. I don't believe she is, but she is enquiring about God now where she wouldn't talk about God at all," the pastor noted.
"She wants to know about eternal things: 'Is my loved one with God in Heaven? What happens? What comes next?' And those are the questions that will lead her to a relationship with Christ," he said.
The pain will linger for some time in this majestic area of the country, but a majestic God is making his presence felt during a time of great agony and suffering.