Chapter 2.
Julie Boyer: A Prayer of Desperation

2001 Union University Graduate, Snohomish, Washington

"The Lord your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will bring you quietness with His love. He will delight in you with shouts of joy." (Zephaniah 3:17)

Jesus, I need you." That was Julie Boyer's prayer the night of February 5. She prayed it while lying in a bathtub, suffocating and crushed by 15 feet of debris from the building that had collapsed on top of her.

Like so many others at Union University, Julie escaped without serious injuries. Like so many others, she has a story to tell about how God was with her that night, and about how she was a beneficiary of the miraculous.

"I know this is something God did for His glory and His glory alone," Boyer said. "It's very evident because we had a building fall on us, and we did nothing to get ourselves out but rely on the Lord."

As a resident of a second-floor apartment in a complex just across the street from the Union campus, Julie knew with the incoming storm that she would have to find shelter in a safer place. Her downstairs neighbors weren't home, so she decided to come to Union and ride out the storm with some of the young women to whom she is a mentor—Kellie Roe, Heather Martin, and Suzanne Short.

She figured she could spend the time in their room (Jelks 11) visiting and having fun. Just in case she needed it, she brought her "tornado bag" with her, filled with pajamas, dinner, her favorite Bible, another book she was reading, a first aid kit, a flashlight, and her purse.

19For some reason she can't explain, she felt the need to call her father and let him know where she was going.

"Dad, this may sound strange, but I feel like I need to tell you that I'm going to Jelks 11," she told him. "Write this down. Here are the names of the girls who live there."

Joining Julie and her friends in their downstairs room were three women who came down from upstairs. Suzanne had left the room for a while to perform her duties as a resident assistant, warning the residents under her care to take the necessary shelter.

As they were tracking the storm on TV, and only two minutes before the tornado's arrival, Suzanne burst back into the room with an authoritative warning:

"Get in the tub, NOW!"

Julie's own written account provides a chilling picture of what happened next.

We moved instantly to the bathroom. The three upstairs girls climbed into the tub, bobsled style. They were positioned toward the end of the tub with the faucet. Kellie, Heather, and I stood by the edge of the tub debating whether or not we should close the bathroom door. If we did, we couldn't hear the TV. We thought the storm was still two or three minutes away. All of a sudden, the wind picked up and baseball sized hail or debris started hitting the outside door and windows. We immediately moved to close the bathroom door the rest of the way.

At that moment, my ears popped. I've been extremely close to three other tornadoes in my life, and the pressure always changes making me swallow in order to pop my ears. Never, though, has the pressure changed instantly, forcing my ears to pop. I looked at Kellie and Heather and said, "Girls, pressure change. Get in the bathtub now!" Heather said later that my face was a mixture of shock and disbelief. I knew we were about to be hit hard.