Faith helps couple move forward after fire destroys home

Richard and Bonita Given are grateful for the tremendous - and ongoing- community support

  • Nov. 8, 2019 10:30 a.m.

Richard and Bonita Given lost their home to fire in early January.

But as one chats with the warm, engaging and welcoming Erskine couple, there is an unmistakable sense of gratitude shining through as well.

They are grateful for their solid Christian faith that has seen them through, and also for the surrounding community that has, without fail, helped out in so many ways.

The suddenness of the fire was overwhelming.

“We had our pastor and his wife over for lunch that day,” recalls Bonita. “They left at about 4 p.m., and we just both went back to what we were doing.

“At that time, our house had a shed on it. Richard was in there, and I was in the back bedroom sewing.

“All of a sudden, we heard this banging on the door. The neighbour told us a fire had started in the garage and the flames were leaping everywhere.”

The cause of the fire is thought to be from a power bar.

The couple, who are retired pastors, lost virtually everything and it was eight months until a new home was available.

While most material possessions can be replaced, lost heirlooms and special items, such as photos and mementos, can’t be.

But comfort and support came in other ways, including from neighbours who consistently checked in with the couple to see how they could help out.

The outpouring of help was touching and inspiring for the Givens, who had been in Erskine for a mere six months.

“That strong kindness was the thing that carried us through,” explained Richard.

“There were times within the first few weeks, when someone would show up with an act of kindness, and you just had to surrender to it. There is such a strong, spiritual component to kindness.”

The couple’s Christian faith is central to their lives, and shaped their perspective throughout the trying circumstances.

Bonita said she began to look forward to seeing what God was going to do in the community as a result of the fire.

“For me, letting go of some of the cherished things has been a bit of a ‘God’ journey, showing me that I’m still too tied to this earth,” explained Richard.

“I can listen back to my own sermons over the past 25 to 30 years and still not get it,” he said of the lessons that can be learned from such an experience.

“Where the Bible talks about God being our provider and our caregiver, those words have very little meaning unless you’ve gone through something,” added Bonita.

“Seriously, I have no stress because my belief now is that it doesn’t matter what you go through. You won’t be conquered if your faith is in the right place.”

Richard agrees.

“God was the stable line through this — the rock, the carrier — all of those things. But he also used people (to help us), and I don’t think we would have gone through this journey that well without the human interaction we encountered.”


@mweberRDExpress
editor@stettlerindependent.com.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘School plan is not sufficient for children with diverse needs’: Rally to be held in Red Deer Tuesday

People who are unhappy with the province’s return-to-school plan will rally in… Continue reading

‘So sorry,’ says driver guilty of gas-and-dash death

Mitchell Robert Sydlowski was charged with second-degree murder, but the 29-year old pleaded guilty to the lesser offence

84 new cases of COVID-19 reported Friday

1,036 active cases across Alberta, 10,796 recovered cases

Cast your votes for Best of Red Deer

The Advocate’s Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are back. Community… Continue reading

Raffle will enhance lives of region’s women and girls

The Red Deer and District Community Foundation is hoping central Alberta can… Continue reading

Ventilator supply starts to increase as Tam warns of possible surge of COVID-19

OTTAWA — Only a small fraction of the 40,000 new ventilators Canada… Continue reading

‘Don’t let this happen to anyone else’: families seek change to border rules

OTTAWA — “Please don’t let this happen to anyone else.” That’s what… Continue reading

New Zealand’s wizard says time spent in Canada in 1952 was ‘a great lesson’

Long before he became The Wizard of New Zealand, Ian Brackenbury Channell… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $20 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $20 million jackpot… Continue reading

Bo Horvat scores in overtime as Canucks beat Blues 4-3 in NHL playoff action

Bo Horvat scores in overtime as Canucks beat Blues 4-3 in NHL playoff action

Lewis, Munoz share lead at Ladies Scottish Open

Lewis, Munoz share lead at Ladies Scottish Open

Most Read