[see the first half of this letter in yesterday’s post]
Dear friends and friends of friends and people we barely knew who’d heard help was needed showed up. Two friends came and sweated in the soot and filth all day on their birthdays the day after the fire (thank you Katie and Colin). Volunteers from churches we had never even visited came ready to help. Men pulled out anything that looked salvageable. Women took boxes and albums and frames filled with thousands of pictures and mementos and carefully wiped and laid them out to dry all over the mission house floor, saving irreplaceable memories. For weeks later, as I posted needs on twitter and facebook, people came and served our family with love and generosity that took our breath away. I have never experienced such a tangible outpouring of the love of Jesus through His people before. For all who loved my family and me so well, I can’t begin to thank you. My family’s prayer is that God will return a blessing to you who have loved us so well.
You can read about how my wedding ring was found under piles of rubble and ash and more stories of the incredible things God did after the fire in posts from August and September. For now, I’ll tell you that in the months since the fire, we’ve been asking our insurance company to correct the error in the way our policy was written that led to a huge shortfall in our settlement. In God’s perfect timing, we got the good news that the error was corrected yesterday. We can finally begin clean up and rebuilding!
There is so much more to tell of the ways people have loved us, prayed for us, brought us meals, given us a temporary home with them (thanks for your love and hospitality Doug and Jan), and been the hands and feet of Jesus in a thousand different ways. God—and many people—have loved us well. As Kyle has always loved to say, we are thankful for life and breath. We’re thankful for the many treasures that were salvaged and for the time we had sharing and enjoying those that weren’t saved. We are thankful for new beginnings. We are thankful period.
And in the midst of this turmoil, God has abundantly blessed our family. We are celebrating Kyle’s new business opportunity that began in October. He and his dear friend Jay Van Ert have already been amazing assets to the firm and I’m thankful for this new opportunity and challenge for Kyle. For the past year and a half, I have been working with our friend and mentor Doug Sherman to write a book about enjoying life with God. I am very excited to say that the manuscript for More Than Ordinary should be handed over to NavPress by the time you are reading this letter. It is scheduled for release in June 2011. Torey is a junior at Texas A&M this year. She loves being a part of a prayer leadership team for Impact (a retreat for incoming freshman) and is applying to the master’s program at the Bush School of Government and Public service in January. Kyle and I couldn’t be prouder or love her more!
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. (Isaiah 61:1-3)
God really is giving us beauty in exchange for ashes. The pictures our Christmas card are of our family on the Ford’s porch swing on a peaceful Thanksgiving Day and in front of our little tree upstairs in the Sherman’s home that is filled (miraculously) with ornaments that made it out of the fire. We’ve learned that our home is our God and our family and friends. We hope you will have a wonderful season of celebrating the Savior’s birth. We can’t wait to see what He has planned next.
Terra for the McDaniel family