Alicia and all of her friends are ok. If you see the pictures, it's amazing to know that not one person died...only six kids ended up in the hospital over night (five of them are considered in serious condition -- no one in critical condition). 13 students were trapped in the rubble (some photos at www.jacksonsun.com and at my photo blog) and had to be rescued. The women's dorms are totally destroyed, as are many of the boys dorms. The main classroom building on campus lost it's roof. Cars are stacked up like dominoes. Not a single building on campus was unscathed.
Students spent the night at professors homes and in Red Cross shelters. Alicia lives off campus, and the only damage she had to deal with was a broken windshield. They lost power for several hours, but it's back now. The kids are being let back onto campus right now, 8:00, and I imagine it is a horrifying experience.
The verse that keeps coming to mind is Deuteronomy 31:6,
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
Union apparently received the brunt of the storm in the town of Jackson...a place filled with students praying desperately through their fear. Some may say that it's interesting that God would hit a Christian college...but I keep thinking about what might have happened if it were a different location where people weren't praying. Despite the damage, God protected each and every one of the students and professors on campus (night classes were in session). I know that he is there now and that he will use this disaster to further his plan.
Please pray for the students, and their families who are far away, that they will be able to deal with the emotional trauma, that they will demonstrate Christ to others through out the clean up, that they will be able to return to classes quickly enough not to cause problems with graduation plans, and that God will be glorified through this disaster.
There are thousands of people who have been impacted by these horrible storms. And apparently they aren't over -- lots of tornado warnings in eastern Tennessee/Kentucky, and Western/Central Georgia. Pray that they will be strong and courageous, and that they will know God will never leave or forsake them.