Historic Lake Effect Snow Hits Buffalo New York Area

Sheltered from the Storm at the Spirit of Truth Urban Ministry

“And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.” — Psalm 55:6-8

“‘Come in,’ she said. ‘I’ll give ya shelter from the storm.’” — Bob Dylan

A winter storm hit across the U.S. East Coast over Christmas, bringing blizzards and several feet of snow in many cities, including Buffalo, Baraga, Sault Ste. Marie, Laurium and Watertown. In Buffalo, where over three feet of snow touched down in the city, the Spirit of Truth Urban Ministry, led by Al and Vivian Robinson, opened its door and saved 154 from the deadly storm.

One of the many helped by the Church was Nikki Tompkins-Ray and her family. On the way home from work on December 23, the blizzard trapped Tompkins-Ray in her car. She called her family who came to help her but, after finding her, their vehicle also became stuck and the six of them were stranded in the middle of a blizzard without anyone to help them.

Tompkins-Ray’s daughter posted their location on social media and someone told them that the Spirit of Truth Urban Ministry was about half a mile from where they were stranded.

Tompkins-Ray said, “We, as a family, bundled up what we had in the car and walked from William and Greene Street to this church on Gold Street in the midst of this blizzard—the wind was blowing, there was so much snow it was just unbelievable. Something like you would see out of a movie.”

Miraculously the church was one of the only buildings in the area to still have lights on and the family, helping each other along and guided by GPS, was able to find it and be welcomed by a pastor.

As if by some divine gift, beds were on hand at the church. Several weeks worth of food was stocked at the church for an upcoming large family gathering. Spirit of Truth Pastor Robinson said, “It’s so crazy. I mean, all things really do work together for the good of those who are called into love God.”