Updated: Aug 9
A little over a year ago, we were sitting in ashes. Very literally sitting in ashes.
Speechless at the devastation that the raging fire caused, sweeping through our Mission Home. Only one of the four porcelain plates clung stubbornly the wall, as if to ensure we didn't miss the message on it: “Live each day as if it were your last”.
Many deeply personal and treasured items went up in flames that day. Clothing, linen, memorabilia, photographs, antique jewelry, heirloom items, tools, furniture and laptops, my hearing aid, Lesley's Bible that I gave her as a special gift, and her wedding ring...
As we sifted through the ashes with the Dekkers family, who were spending a few months with us, we didn't have much hope of finding anything in tact.
And then my eye caught something... Could it be? I stared in amazement.
That Sunday morning, three days after the fire, I surprising my wife by slipping her wedding ring on her finger a second time... It miraculously survived the fire!
God stirred so many hearts far and wide during this time.
The young Dekkers USA family, who were visiting when our home burned down, had co-ordinated a whole new wardrobe, as well as some personal items for Lesley and myself, via their parents, family and friends in the USA. These were delivered in person by Carrie's parents last year and among their gifts, was a new Bible for Lesley with her name embossed on the front. These kind and thoughtful friends were a blessing to us in so many ways.
The Dekkers Famliy, with Carrie's parents during their visit to us.
In addition, the ITMI - USA support has been absolutely overwhelming and a constant stream of support! The churches and individuals we met on our USA trip that year, went out of their way to assist. Even people whom we had never met before, graciously sowed into the fund after hearing our plight.
Friends and family in the UK, Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand and South Africa, dug deep into their pockets and came to our aid. We gratefully received donations of home ware, toiletries, material, curtaining etc, some from folk we have never met!
We started the clearing up rubble. Knocking down walls. Clearing the ground and doing the planning for a new structure. It was a most humbling experience, to take down what was left and trust God in faith, that we would be able to rebuild again.
Of course, rebuilding had its own challenges, contending with floods and delays, as our workers had to also attend to their fields. But now restructuring is almost complete and our workers, all unskilled, have learned so much over this year of building. They even made roof trusses from local Rosewood - expensive elsewhere, but growing abundantly here!
Since stepping out into full time missions 24 years ago, I have worn many hats: Architect, Construction Site Manager, Builder, Plumber, Electrician, Tile cutter, Landscaper, Driver, and Carpenter. I give Glory to God for equipping me with these skills that have enabled us, together with your support, to rebuild a family home that will welcome overseas guests and weary travelers who often arrive after 4000km (± 2500 miles travel by road.
We thank God for His constant provision to keep going with the building. And we are beyond exited to be moving from our garage flatlet (where the temperature in summer rises to an unbearable 52C/126F) into our new home, which bears the name "Providence". To God be the Glory. Great things He has done. Beauty from ashes indeed.
We are so truly grateful, in whatever way you have sown, and for the many prayers and encouraging messages throughout this last year in particular.
To have our own home again, is such an awesome privilege.