Thursday, June 23, 2011

"The Very Jaws of Hell..."

About a year ago, my life changed significantly.  No it was not when I graduated high school or when I came out on my mission.  June 26, 2010, changed my life because of this moment...

My kitchen is where the big fireball is coming from

That house on fire, that was mine...

After a lesson we had in Great Falls, my companion and I noticed we had missed a call from President Gardner, our mission president.  Jokingly I turned to my companion and said something to the effect of "A surprise phone call from President is never a good thing."  I could not have been more accurate in that statement.  When I called him back that evening, he told me the news that my home in La Verkin had been burned to the ground.  A neighbor had been burning some weeds when the wind picked the embers up and lit the hill my home was on ablaze.  In a matter of minutes the house was consumed.  He told me that my family was safe and told me to call them.  I did so, and then found out my mom had been taken to the hospital due to smoke inhalation and that the fire was still smoldering.  As far as my family knew, we had nothing left.
The remains of the house

At first, my mind could not comprehend it all.  Soon I began to register everything and I became an emotional wreck.  I went out into our garage and did what missionaries do...I prayed.  I literally just poured out my confusion and anxiety and frustration and all my emotions to our Heavenly Father.  As I did so, three verses of scripture came to my mind.  They were...
  • Therefore, thrust in your sickle with all your soul, and your sins are forgiven you, and you shall be laden with sheaves upon your back, for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Wherefore, your family shall live.  Behold, verily I say unto you, go from them only for a little time, and declare my word, and I will prepare a place for them. (D&C 31:5-6)
  • Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands.  Thou art not yet as Job; thy friends do not contend against thee. (D&C 121:9-10)
  • ...If the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. (D&C 122:7, emphasis added)
The basement walls
I then felt the calm reassurance that all would be well.  Not a moment after I finished my prayer, an inspired ward mission leader called to check on how the work was progressing, and I was able to report all the good things that were going on in our area.  I then walked back into the house to be greeted by three of my best friends and fellow missionaries.  My family was safe and I realized that that is truly the greatest blessing of all.

Miracles abounded and love was felt by both myself here in Montana as well as my family back home.  People from all over the community began inundating my family with gifts of clothes and food and shelter.  My brother said it best in an essay he wrote for school when he said,
For weeks after the fire my family was asked everywhere we went how we were doing. And we would always say we were fine and thank them for their concern, but in truth we were far better than fine, because we had so many people there for us that we were just overwhelmed with love. (Wixom, Wil. "The Worst Day". West of Zion.)
Construction as of Jan. 2011
We may have lost almost all our material possessions that summer day, but the experience has truly been a blessing for my family.  We are closer and more united.  The doubts and concerns we had about the goodness of humanity were replaced by the knowledge that people care, are genuinely kind,  and have an innate desire to serve and to help.

The Lord truly watched out for my family and prepared a place for them.  My family was able to rebuild on the same lot that our home once stood.  Life has continued to go on as time keeps its steady beat.  My dad one week after the fire stated "Our life before was great, we couldn't imagine it being better. Right now life is good, but it will be great again. ("From Ashes-Blessings". West of Zion)"  I can now say that life has reached that unimaginable level of better, because we have grown and we ourselves have become better; for as the Lord says in 1st Nephi, "Behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. (1st Nephi 20:10)"

The new home, a beacon of life and hope on the hill

1 comment:

  1. I remember very well when you got the phone call from President and made that comment of "getting a random call from President is never a good thing."
    I also remember reminding you that God won't put anything in our path that we can't handle.. And that you have so much strength because He knew you could handle a trial such as this. I don't know if I could handle something like that.
    I'm grateful for your example Wixie! Thanks for sharing!


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