Ice Storm Hits Canadian Members

CANADA—On April 5, the capital region of Ontario and Quebec was hit with a downpour of freezing rain. Over several hours, two inches of sleet froze on impact, encasing power lines, trees and roads in a layer of ice just as Philadelphia Church of God members were beginning to gather and observe the spring holy days.

Members would be keeping the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread at the same venue where we had kept the Passover service in Cornwall, Ontario. I was staying at the hotel in Cornwall with my family when the freezing rain hit. While running errands the roads didn’t seem too slippery, and I forgot to fill up on gas.

We planned to keep the Night to Be Much Observed with the Montreal brethren at a restaurant in the city of Montreal, a 90-minute drive. While getting ready, the power went out in Cornwall and was still out when we left. Fallen tree branches blocked roads, and some streets were nearly flooded. The traffic lights flashed red. Trees on the side of the road shuddered under the ice. Some snapped and fell over as we drove past. Cars were abandoned on the side of the road. Gas stations were vacant and dark. I calculated that I had enough in the gas tank for less than 7 miles more than the distance to the restaurant.

As we entered Montreal, the city was dark. Parking lots were deserted and street lights off. Before leaving, we had prayed as a family that God would help us find a gas station along the way. With 18.6 miles left in the tank, we came across a gas station teeming with people who had been in the same predicament as us.

The city block where we gathered for dinner was unaffected by the power outages. I checked the Hydro Quebec outages map, and it became clear that God performed a miracle. The green dot on the map is the restaurant where we met, and the red patches indicate where power was out. All around, the restaurants, businesses and homes were without power, but we were able to celebrate the Night to Be Much Observed because God had caused the power outages to “pass over” His people.

Over 1 million people in Quebec and Ontario were without power for more than a day. In Cornwall, where we kept the first day of Unleavened Bread the following morning, power was restored to the hotel at midnight. Cornwall has its own hydro-electric dam, which allowed service to be restored much more quickly than in other areas.

The Hydro Ontario outages map shows that the worst of the power outages were concentrated where brethren lived. Brethren observing the Night to Be in their homes around the Ottawa area persevered through the weather and power outages. Two groups had dinner by candle light. Another family had to weave around fallen trees on its way to a member’s home. While driving back, the father decided to take the side roads instead of the highway. Only a few minutes after making that decision, an entire wheel of the car came off, becoming lodged under the bumper. The nuts holding the tire had been stripped, an event that could have been catastrophic if they had been driving on the highway at high speeds.

These miracles illustrated for us that God delivers His people (Psalm 18:2; Hebrews 13:5). When we step out on faith and put our trust in our spiritual Father, there is nothing that can stop His people from moving forward. Whether it is wildfires around headquarters or ice storms in Canada, God performs miracles on behalf of His people.