Dave Meigs 

David Meigs is a novelist with a background in youth outreach, specializing in ministry to at-risk youth and their families. Though his writing is enjoyed by all ages, his novels provide a unique, life-changing quality, critical for the youth of today. David and his family lives in Seabeck, Washington, where he serves his church as youth pastor.

Blessings from the Ashes, Part 1

Greetings friends. I have much to report after my four-month hiatus; but first, I simply must say a word of gratitude to Bonnie Calhoun and Michelle Sutton (ezine owner and editor-in-chief, respectively) for not giving up on me. You rock! I also want to say a special thanks to our guest columnists, Loree Lough and Rel Mollet, for filling in during my absence. Your articles were fascinating. Thank you!

For all of you who are new to my column, last December 21 my family lost our home to a fire. Evidently, our youngest son, Johnny (16), was playing with matches—we have no way of knowing for sure, because Johnny is autistic and nonverbal. All we do know is that around nine in the morning, one of my other teenage sons heard Johnny scream from my bedroom. When he went to investigate, he saw Johnny trying to stamp out the flames with his bare feet.

“Dad, the house is on fire!” Joshua yelled. I rushed back and saw that the whole room was already engulfed in flames. We had no time to gather anything, or even to put on our shoes. We grabbed the puppy and ran outside into fourteen inches of snow. Once the kids were safely in the car, I ran back to the front door, hoping to rescue some of our belongings—anything. Unfortunately, the smoke was so thick I could not go inside. Within seconds, flames were pouring out the door.

We drove two and a half miles to my church office and waited there for the paramedics. Johnny suffered a small third-degree burn on the bottom of his foot, and I had to ride the ambulance to the emergency room to be treated for smoke inhalation. Other than that, we were all fine. I don’t know what we would have done if we had lost even one of our children. Praise God for the way he protected us!

That night, in the wee hours of the morning, I managed to send

out a few e-mails to my closest friends. As soon as our own Bonnie Calhoun and Annie McDonald, my local ACFW Northwest Zone Director, heard of our tragedy, they worked hard to get the word out. What followed was truly a parade of miracles. Pledges for prayer support and financial gifts started to flood in from all around the world. My wife and I were blown away! Now, I like to think of myself as a manly kind of guy. I managed to deal with the fire without any flights of panic or shedding even one tear, but when those e-mails and gifts started pouring in, I wept like a baby. God bless every one of you!

I am delighted to report that we lack for nothing. Between the generous help from my fellow colleagues around the world, the Red Cross, and my church family, we already have a houseful of furniture, and every piece of it is much better than that which was lost. We have better clothing, computers, musical instruments, and we even have better electronic toys for the kids (what did we do before video games?). I have no doubt that even the house, when we get one, will be far better that the one we lost. God is really taking care of us.

Presently, we are back on our property, living in a motor home. Unfortunately, the old girl is a little long in the tooth (motor home, not my wife) and she keeps me busy with constant repairs. Nevertheless, it keeps us warm and dry, and the toilet flushes (yippee), so all is good. We don’t have power, telephone, or Internet yet, but we hope to soon. All in all, the family is doing well and life is good.

Next month I plan to share about some of the hard lessons I’ve learned because of the fire, including which backup strategies did and didn’t work. In addition, I’ll share a few lessons that the fire taught me about writing life-transforming fiction. Until then, may God bless you all.