If Meagan Hall had done what she had intended rather than what her parents asked, she might not be with her family today.
She could have been among the victims of the massive tornado that ripped through the heart of Joplin, Mo., Sunday night, killing at least 132 people and leaving a wide path of destruction unlike anything she could have imagined.
The third-year student at Messenger College had finished her classes, but was going to stay in Joplin for a few days until her parents, Tom and Lela Hall, came home from California, where her father was preaching. But her parents wanted her home.
“They just didn’t want to be worrying about me traveling,” she said.
So Meagan came back to Winchester on Thursday, and was attending Sunday night worship at the Church of the Living God, where Tom is the pastor, when they heard about the killer storm.
“I just wanted to know that my friends were OK,” she said. “Then I went home and saw the news, and it was just like, oh, my gosh!” she said.
Hundreds of miles away at her other church, Christ Point in Joplin, the congregation had just gathered for worship when the sirens went off.
“They moved to a back room and started praying.”
The part of the church where the people were wasn’t hit, but the children’s wing was damaged, the roof collapsed, and the cars in the parking lot were all damaged.
“They neighborhood around it was flattened though,” she added.
The church’s pastor was interviewed on CNN.
“They called it the Miracle on Annie Baxter Street,” she said.
None of the congregants were hurt except for one friend who had to have stitches.
In the days since the tragedy, Meagan has been getting texts, calls and Facebook messages from friends.
“I’ve heard from every one of them, thank God,” she said, with a laugh. “A lot of them have horror stories, but they’re all OK.”
Some of her friends were driving when the storm struck and saw the funnel cloud, then found they couldn’t get home because of the roads were choked with debris.
“One of my friends was at a friend’s house when the sirens went off,” she said. The house was damaged. Also “the church she attended was destroyed, and she can’t get to her house.”