HONOLULU—Buck Run Baptist's pastor and Southern Seminary professor Hershael York's Hawaii vacation with his wife, Tanya, and 85-year-old mother became what they thought was a near-death experience in a matter of minutes.
He and Tanya had decided to take his mother on a long vacation to Hawaii's Big Island, while her health permitted. On the morning of Jan. 13, their phones rang out with the alarming message: "Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill."
"I thought it was a cruel joke for somebody to do that to my mother-in-law. But the tone came again. And I checked my phone and sure enough it said it on my phone," Tanya said.
At first look out the window, it appeared to be a peaceful Hawaii morning. But soon after, the fire alarm began to sound a noise similar to that of static—"like someone had left a mic on in our room"—and people were running across the hotel's lawn.
"With the reality of the threats and tensions with North Korea, it started to sink in. Surely this can't be real. It felt very surreal at this moment, and then maybe five minutes passed and there was no resending of it," she recounted
Hershael began to surf the news stations, but no one was reporting on it yet. Meanwhile, her mother-in-law remained calm and kept getting ready for the day. "It was as if she'd gotten an alert that there would be two inches of snow," Tanya said.