The boy in this story would eventually become the second president of what would become Wildwood Health Institute. Warren and his wife, Loretta, were congenial folks who deeply cared for people living in their community. Besides his official duties, Warren and his wife took both students and several infirmed elderly individuals into their homes. As president of Wildwood, Warren focused on the worldwide outreach of the institution and helped to start clinics, other lifestyle centers, and schools in Africa, Asia, and, of course, the USA.
As a child, I lived with my family on the Colorado plains near Haswell. It was the flattest, most barren country I had ever been in. It was capable of having terrific storms. In the winter of 1931, my father had been teaching school in Haswell, about 14 miles away. He drove the school bus and picked up the children along the way. On this day, having dropped off the children at their homes, he headed home. It was snowing when he left, and the wind started to come up to a high velocity. The snow increased. Soon, the wind blew in the radiator and drowned the motor out so it would not run. He got out of the bus. Now, in a real blizzard, you cannot see your hand in front of your face. You can’t see anything. You can look as hard as you can, and you can’t see anything but snow. My father was a mile and a half from home, so he started walking. The temperature dropped to below zero, and the wind was 80 mph. He walked home against this north wind. He found the fence with his hand. Following that fence to the gate, he turned in and walked north until he bumped into the house. He followed the house around until he came to the door and entered. Therefore, his life was spared.
During that storm, many people lost their lives. There was a school bus of children who all froze to death. With another busload of children, a 12-year-old boy saved the lives of several of them but died himself. It was a very bad experience, occurring about 25 or 30 miles from where we lived. It made a deep impression on my mind.
The next morning, the house was buried under a snow bank from the barn. At 10 a.m., the folks were still asleep, but we got up. It was pitch dark; we could not look out the windows as snow covered them. We found a little window in the back that was not all snowed in, and you could see daylight shining brightly. So, we opened that window and dug our way out. The snow began to melt, and it ran through all the cracks in the walls of our house. It was really something!
The cattle and horses were in the shed. The snow drifting back into the shed made the animals tramp it down until they were clear up into the peak of the shed, and they could not get out. The neighbors had given us a pig that lived in a little pig house. The pig’s house was completely packed with snow. My father said, “Dead pig.” My mother was more acquainted with blizzards than my father was. She said, “No, it’ll be all right. We need to dig it out.” So we did and set him in a little place where he could thaw. The pig was nice and warm in there!
Our car was packed completely in the garage. It was an open garage on the south. The snow had packed it completely to the rafters. You couldn’t see a thing in there. We had to dig it out. There were drifts 14 feet high in the yard. They were so high that the neighbors came driving their Model T over the snow banks to see if we were all right. As the snow melted, the cattle got out, were able to walk over these snow banks, and kept walking right over the fences! We heard you could not keep a cow inside of any fence at that time because of high heaps of snow. They would walk through a fence, and you would never know the fence was there.
During the deadly snowstorm, God’s presence became real to me.
Our family moved to Kansas, and there we had a nice herd of about 50 head of cattle. The pasture started right close to the house and extended for half a mile. It was a nice-sized pasture. One day, the cattle were clear at the other side of the pasture. Our registered prize bull was about a quarter of a mile from the cattle gathered in a herd. It had been dry for months, not a drop of rain; the pasture was completely dry. Suddenly, a little cloud came up. A bolt of lightning hit the ground halfway between the bull and the cattle, setting the pasture on fire. The wind blew toward the house. Suddenly, the flames leaped up. We saw our neighbor, who lived on the other side of the lightning blast, run to his barn to get some equipment to deal with the fire. But he just could not catch up with the fire. It went so fast, and the wind blew so hard.
We went to the house with Mother. She prayed, and a little shower came up. It put the fire out! We didn’t have another drop of rain for three months. Not a drop. In addition, Mother’s prayer brought rain that did not even wet the ground. It just put the fire out! That is all it was. There is no question that it was a miracle. The Lord loved us and showed us that He did.