“I lost my stuffed animals when my house caught on fire.” Naomi told missionary Mary. Even though her house had burned to the ground the day before, little Naomi and her family were at peace. They were thankful that no one had been hurt. They had very little to begin with, and now they had nothing. But they still had the peace of Jesus in their hearts.
The Bible calls God’s peace “The Peace that passes understanding” which is just a fancy way of saying, “Unbelievable peace!” There’s no way to explain that to someone who has never experienced it. It’s crazy. Standing in the middle of their pile of ashes and debris, the family said, “Maybe God has something better for us.”
We just happened to be there on the scene, some of us missionaries. We just happened to be hosting a team this week. And the team just happened to be working at the school just around the corner from the 3 houses that burned to the ground. And the families just happened to be Christians. And the children of those families just happened to go to the school where we were working. Was it all a coincidence? I don’t think so.
The next day we walked down to the charred ruins to see what the family needed. Turns out they needed everything. They walked us through a sad tour of the destruction. I saw a broken plate, some red fabric from something, the skeletal remains of furniture, stairs that lead to the open sky where the second story used to be. Then I saw the wall with the hand prints painted on it. The entire family had painted their hand prints on one wall… and that wall was not destroyed! They still had their family.
The team and I went to Walmart that morning. We bought clothes and shoes for the children. We bought a new backpack and school supplies. We bought bedding. But the thing that meant the most to little Naomi was that we bought her stuffed animals. The ones that she lost were the ones that her sponsor family had sent her over the years. The value of those lost treasures can never be replaced, but maybe, just maybe a new stuffed dog or bear will bring her comfort as the families begin to rebuild their lives on the ashes.
I read this quote on Facebook today. “The right thought, plus the right people, in right environment, at the right time, for the right reason, always produces the right result” by Dr. John Maxwell. I can only thank God for putting us in the right place at the right time to help these poor families who have lost everything. God is Good.