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May 27, 2013

Obama joins Oklahomans in mourning tornado victims

(Continued)

“We’ve got a lot to be thankful for,” said his wife, mostly because their home and family were spared.

Hill, the youth pastor, moved to Moore in December from Arkansas, and recently bought a house for his family. He had just made his second payment, but now the house will have to be demolished.

“You sold me a house in a tornado zone!” Hill said teasingly to his real estate agent, a fellow congregant.

Despite the toll exacted by the tornado, the kind of devastation that could shake a person’s faith, Hill said he has instead tried to fix his focus on the things that reaffirm it, such as the generosity of others—some from as far away as Australia—who have offered help. Or the fact that members of his youth group were fine. Or the stories of survival he’d heard in recent days.

One such story was that of a church member who had huddled in a hallway of his home with his wife as the tornado approached. After it had blown through, that hallway was the only part of the home left standing.

“That’s our church, gathered together,” Hill said, nodding to the congregation sitting in lawn chairs under the pavilion, their heads down in prayer.

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