A pastor in Mayfield, Ky., talked and prayed with a woman trapped in the rubble of the Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory Friday night, holding her hand until she was rescued. Pastor Stephen Boyken joined other members of his church and community in pulling people out of the debris after a tornado demolished the factory building.
“Tonight we lost more than just the buildings downtown, landmarks, or even traditions￼—we lost precious people that called￼Mayfield their home,” said Boyken in a Facebook post published in the early morning hours of Saturday, Dec. 11. “My heart is grieving for every family that lost someone dear to them. I am praying the comforter makes himself known in this hour. Please pray with me for Mayfield and Graves county.”
Candle Factory Flattened by Deadly Tornado
Tornadoes devastated the midwest on Friday, Dec. 10. At least 90 people have been reported dead as of this writing, including 80 in Kentucky. The town of Mayfield was hit particularly hard. The candle factory was flattened, and eight people who were inside have been reported dead. Some employees have said that managers told them they had to stay even when workers wanted to leave because of the storm. Supervisors allegedly went so far as to threaten people with losing their jobs, although company spokesperson Bob Ferguson has denied that managers pressured employees to stay. State investigators are looking into the matter, and according to WJHL News, several employees are filing lawsuits against the company.
Stephen Boyken is lead pastor of His House Ministries in Mayfield, Ky., where he has served since 2019. He told CNN that he was searching through the rubble of the candle factory when he heard someone calling out. “She was stuck underneath a wall and asked, ‘Can you hold my hand?’” he said. Boyken did so and stayed with her until she was able to be pulled out from the debris.
“It’s 3 AM and most of our community is dark without power,” said Boyken in his Saturday Facebook post. “I just left the candle factory where I witnessed HEROES with and without uniforms help rescue those that were trapped underneath the rubble.”
He noted that “God saw fit in his providence to spare our church building. Once we get power on we will begin using it as a staging ground for help. I have also heard from so many wonderful people that HE protected them likewise. I am asking that if all is well with you, that you join me tomorrow in finding a place to Serve. As soon as I know of opportunities to help I will update everyone!” Later that day, the church called on members to gather to pray and help clean up the wreckage.
His House held an unusual service that Sunday. “Tomorrow service will look different. We will still gather at 10 am,” said the church. “Come expecting worship, prayer, and an encouraging word. But Plan to serve our community by not just coming to church but by being the Church.” His House asked people to help serve hot meals, clean up debris, and distribute clothing and other household items to people in need. The church is also collecting funds specifically to aid people impacted by the tornado.