Monday, April 13, 2009

Last Tuesday, my parents house went up in flames. The next day, this is the letter my Dad wrote.

Dear friends,

I am writing to a few asking that you forward this email to our mutual friends.

Yesterday, sometime between 4 and 5 p.m., our home caught fire. Rachel left the house at 3 p.m to pick Amy Katherine up at school, hang out with her until play practice at the Desoto Family Theatre which began at 6 p.m and return home. At approximately 4:45 p.m a neighbor noticed smoke coming out of the back of our home and called 911. I left my office downtown a little after 5 p.m to meet a friend at Pearle's Restaurant and Oyster Bar. On the way I had to stop for a fire truck that was headed over the bridge to Mud Island, our neighborhood. Soon after arriving at Pearle's I received a couple of phone calls, which I ignored, and then a text from a neighbor asking me to call immediately. He informed me our house was on fire, the fire department was present and then he asked if our dog was in the house. For some reason, that question communicated the severity of the fire. I was home within minutes.

We lost everything, we lost nothing. Zach, our family dog for the last 11 years, was killed. Most everything in the house is ruined by either fire, smoke, or water. Our family photo albums, Rachel's pride and joy, seem to have made it because of her meticulous effort in storing them and God's mercy! I had my two bags with me. One that had my Bible and Mac and the other that had my running shoes! What else does a man need? Amy had her backpack of school books, which she would gladly have sacrificed!

The firemen believe the fire started in the outlet behind the built in microwave. From what I saw, that seems plausible. No words can convey how thankful we are to God for not allowing this to happen in the night. The kitchen is just below Amy's bedroom. A fireman told me the upstairs was black with smoke and they almost had to abandon it because of the heat. I'm fighting tears even writing those words. We lost everything, we lost nothing!

As I was watching all the activity, wondering if my files had burned that stores our house insurance info, a man introduced himself as the owner of our Farm Bureau agency. It just so happens he lives on the island and he was dropping off some paperwork to a neighbor three doors down. What a coincidence! For the next several hours he made all the necessary calls and walked me through all the responsibilities before me and answered my questions. It appears we had great coverage for which we are very grateful!

Well, in a couple of hours, we will wake Amy Katherine up and wish her a happy 16th birthday. Before she went to bed, she told us she would feel guilty celebrating her birthday. We assured her we would have no reservations doing so! I think she might change her mind when she sees her present. Shhhhh! That is another great story. To be continued...

Thank you all for your prayers, calls and love. We really feel it. Hear is how you can pray.

- Rachel and the girls have not seen the house. We will go this morning. Pray for Rachel as she lost everything in a fire when she was 18. This has and will bring all those memories up.

- wisdom as we map out a plan for renting a temporary home, renovating the house, buying new clothes, furniture...I guess new everything.
Much of this will fall on Rachel. Pray for her!

- wisdom for me with the church plant. I am launching a series of Bible studies in three weeks. I have felt this whole time that "someone" doesn't want this plant to happen. I am more determined than ever. Much more on this to come...

- join us in thanking God for sparing our lives. We don't deserve that so thanks be to God great things he has done!

Much love and grace,

Richard Rieves

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