Daily Dispatches

After the fire


Mark and Rhonda Renfro teach Financial Peace at First Baptist Church of Bastrop in central Texas, where they are members. They had to remind themselves of their own teachings this month when a tree fell on electrical lines less than a quarter mile from their home and a fire began that destroyed the house in which they had lived for 19 years and half of the equipment for their business, Renfro's LawnCare Service. That fire ended up destroying 34,000 acres in Bastrop County and becoming the impetus for headlines across the United States.

"You can do one of two things when something like this happens," Rhonda Renfro said. "You can either curl up in a ball or trust that something good is going to come out of it."

Renfro and her husband are trusting and "looking more for God's blessings now." About 1,500 others in Bastrop County have had to make that same decision after losing their homes, and some their livelihoods.

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"Some people lost everything," said Ron Hunt, camp director at Wilderness Ridge Camp, looking over the debris that was his home. "Because this is all they had. But I still have my faith."

Last weekend Hunt, his wife Sandy, and other First Baptist Church members were sifting through ashes and looking for valuables. They gleaned a pocket watch passed down from Sandy's grandfather, burnished metal peeking through melted colored glass and forever encapsulated by what she calls "fire art."

Ron Hunt described the weeks since the fire as an emotional roller coaster. He cited Job 13:15: "Though he slay me, I will hope in him." Last Saturday, Hunt's elderly mother fell and broke her hip, so he left the sifters Sunday afternoon to catch a flight to Tulsa, Okla., and care for her. The camp ministry will continue at nearby campsites until Hunt and others have completed their evaluation of all 95 acres. Most of the trees will be removed, but Hunt knows that the ground is now more fertile than ever.


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