I, Refuge - Good News Christmas
Giving is a god-like quality. God gives good gifts to the world in the form of a planet on which we live that contains everything a human needs to survive and thrive for a long fruitful life.
The purpose of life is to prepare to meet God. What better way to prepare than in giving to others the things that they need? I, Refugee - Warmth at Christmas tells the story of a family, a true story of how Christmas was taken from them by fire. Following is the conclusion of that story. how the kindness of a friend gave them more than they had before. As the Lord did for Job, and in his meek commission, "the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away." Job 1:21
Where Shall We Go?
Rodric and Afryka Johnson months prior, nine months to be exact took a trip to Peoria, AZ with their family looking for another place to live. It was a trip based on a dream Afryka had about moving near one of the temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints so the family could more frequently attend it, being that they are members of the Church.
In the process of visiting the church locations, Afryka, inspired to visit different congregations in the vicinity of the Phoenix Temple, convinced the family to visit the congregation of the Church called the Sonoran Mountain Ward where they met the Hansens, Taryn & Colby, for lunch after the meetings. Taryn and Afryka become fast friends, a friendship that proved fortuitous after the fire.
Most of the work finding a place for the homeless family fell to Afryka because Rodric was busy with the new job. Fortunately, extended family members also helped with the transportation of kids and dad back and forth to school and work.
The Christmas fire was a devastating blow to the family, but the outpouring of love that came from the family and friends in the community softened the blow of the fire and displacement this family suffered to the point where the only thing the family had to worry about was clearing out the burned out dwelling of nine years and finding an abode.
In the process of visiting the church location, Afryka felt inspired to visit a congregation called the Sonoran Mountain Ward, where the Hansens, Taryn & Colby, met them, inviting them for lunch. The two women formed a friendship that proved prophetic for Afryka and Rodric.
"the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away." Job 1:21
Taryn made it her life's purpose to help Afryka and her family recover from this devastating blow of losing a home. Inspired by God to do so, she started a campaign in her community and through social media to rais money to help the family with finances. It was no secret that Rodric and Afryka had not thought to prepare for a fire, and error they would never make again. Indigent circumstances put them in a position where charity was the only source that could help them. The money they had, was not enough to start a new life in a new location, again, for a family with six kids and two adults.
Taryn used her influence to get the media involved in the story and the following video shows what happened.
The community outpouring of love continued to overwhelm the family as gifts came in from family and friends of cash assistance and goods to the point where the family had basic needs met and some wants. Between the Red Cross, family and friends, the kids all had at least one gift to open, but no place to live other than the charity of strangers. what happened next came as a surprise, a true Christmas miracle caught on television.
The Bittersweets of Christmas
Christmas 2016 was an extraordinarily sad time for the family and a truly blessed time for the family. Suffering loss is never a joyous occasion. Things lost in a fire are not easily replaced, things like a favorite chair or pair of socks. Afryka lost a memorial to her daughter Zipporah because the fire snuffed it out causing the family to relocate.
Nine years that house was the home for these people. Friendships and community came to fruition in that community where kids have grown. Church relationships and associations grew to loving family in that community. It was time to go, leaving the old familiar environs for a new challenge in a different and better place than before.
The new Christmas tree was four times larger than the one in the burned home. The presents were so numerous that they filled the sitting room of the new house! The one thing that did not change was the familiar Spirit felt in church. In answer to Afryka's prayer, the family received a home next to the temple.
With the tragedies that happen in the world, it is important to point out the miracles that happen many times over more than the tragedies of life. For the billions of inconveniences and unfortunate things that occur to the human family, millions of billions of things that are good and satisfying happen. It is more profitable to report the bad things since compared to the good, they are rare.
God bless us all at Christmas time and throughout all the year.
© 2018 Rodric Anthony