When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie
My grace all sufficient shall be thy supply
The flame shall not harm thee, I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
Greetings! The words of this hymn recently took on special meaning for us. We had been happy staying in the prophets’ chamber of our home church….but that changed in the early hours of September 27th. Our 18-month-old son who was not sleeping well after having had a cast put on his foot that very Tuesday evening, awakened my wife. That was when Isabella smelled something burning, woke me, and we began looking to see what it might be.
It seemed like a dream as we tried to see what was burning. We later learned that each of us had soot in our nostrils, meaning that we had been breathing smoke for a while. If David had not awakened, we would have succumbed to the carbon monoxide and perished.
We were barefoot and in our pajamas as we left the building and called 911, and then our pastor. We regretted that we did not have our documents, but were grateful to be alive as we saw the flames quickly grow. The documents would be difficult to replace, but our lives had been spared. God is, indeed, most gracious!
The fire department arrived quickly, and due to the nature of the fire, ten different stations responded with three ladder trucks. They arrested and extinguished the fire within about an hour and a half. Then the fire- fighters went in and retrieved our glasses, wallets, and personal documents. What a blessing!
In the weeks that followed, both we and the church have seen many of God’s people extend His love to us and we are very grateful. A list of all who have helped us would be longer than this letter, but we have tried to send thanks to all who have blessed us. If we’ve missed anyone, please forgive us and know that we are grateful.
A few days after the incident, I, along with my family and a few others, accompanied our pastor to visit each fire station that responded in order to thank them and give them a gift.
The church has been declared nearly a complete loss and will be completely rebuilt. (Please note the church’s new address in the footnote below.) Please pray for our pastor as he faces many decisions with the insurance company, contractors, and building officials while at the same time shouldering all the ‘regular’ responsibilities of a pastor.
Numerous churches have offered assistance to our congregation and currently Tidewater Baptist is meeting at Providence Baptist Church. The many outreaches of the church (jail, Union Mission, Navy Brig, nursing homes, bus ministry, and others) have continued uninterrupted.
Thank you to many who have opened their doors to my family. We stayed with my mom several days; then a church put us up in a hotel. We spent another week with my brother, and are currently enjoying the hospitality of the Haynes family. We have hopes of a prophets’ chamber from another church in November. And Good News Baptist has offered further help as needed.
We know that incidents like this are a part of God’s growing process for His people. We look forward to seeing what He will do with our church and our family in the future; and we thank each of you who have been a part of this process. We are very grateful for the privilege to live another day to honor and serve our Lord.
Yours in our Master’s service,
The Drylie family