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'I'm not surprised' | Pastor speaks after church spared from Barnsdall tornado

Emmanuel Nduka Barnsdall Priest
Posted at 8:35 PM, May 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-09 12:04:33-04

BARNSDALL, Okla. — The Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in Barnsdall is one of the buildings left standing in the tornado's path.

Save for some window and roof damage, the tornado's wrath spared the house of worship.

The church’s pastor Emmanuel Nduka, expected nothing less. “No, I’m not surprised. God is in charge, God is in control. So why would I be surprised?”

Nduka lives in nearby Pawhuska. It wasn’t until a parishioner called him that he knew an EF-4 tornado blew threw the area near his church.

Crews constructed the church in the 1930s. For decades it’s brought the gospel to Barnsdall neighbors, including one of its deacons, Robert Axsom.

“I was impressed with our little church,” Axsom said.

Axsom walked 2 News cameras through the church. He pointed out some areas where debris had made it in the church. He also showed that the altar was left untouched.

“It just looked like God put up his hand and stopped it,” Axsom said.

It wasn’t until the day after the tornado that Nduka saw his church.

“So when I saw it, I knelt down, in adoration to the Lord, and said, “thank you for everything.”

Crews were busy cleaning up the church for a mass planned on Sunday. Nduka said he will remind parishioners of one of the church’s core lessons.

“We as Christians should rely on God every time. God is the only reason why we’re here on earth. Outside God life has no meaning, I believe in that strongly, and that’s why I’m a priest now,” Nduka said.

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