Faith helps couple move forward after fire destroys home

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

Alberta had 1,571 active COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta’s central zone now has 1,101 active COVID-19 cases

Provincial death toll has risen by nine

Dustin Mitchell (Coats) is wanted by police in relation to a homicide this past Wednesday. (Photo contributed by Red Deer RCMP)
Red Deer RCMP looking for man in relation to homicide

An arrest warrant has been issued for a Red Deer man in… Continue reading

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta reports 1,731 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday

The province’s central zone has 992 active cases

Collin Orthner, manager at McBain Camera in downtown Red Deer, stands behind the store’s counter on Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
A few Red Deer businesses happy with Black Friday results

While this year’s Black Friday wasn’t as successful as it was in… Continue reading

Le Chateau Inc. is the latest Canadian firm to start producing personal protective equipment for health care workers, in a July 3, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Hundreds of millions of dollars for frontline workers yet to be released, says Alberta Federation of Labour

Information recently released by the Alberta Federation of Labour suggests more than… Continue reading

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre speaks during a news conference Monday, Nov. 16, 2020 in Ottawa. Poilievre says building up the Canadian economy post-pandemic can't be achieved without a massive overhaul of the tax system and regulatory regime. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Conservatives attack Trudeau’s ‘reset’ but they have ideas for their own

‘We don’t need subsidized corporate welfare schemes that rely on endless bailouts from the taxpayer’

In this undated photo issued by the University of Oxford, a volunteer is administered the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Monday Nov. 23, 2020, that late-stage trials showed its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its rivals. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
Moderna chairman says Canada near head of line for 20 million vaccine doses

Trudeau created a firestorm when he said Canadians will have to wait a bit to get vaccinated

There were 47 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta Tuesday. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
Spread of COVID-19 in Brampton, Ont., linked to systemic factors, experts say

‘We’re tired. We’re numb. We’re overworked. We’re frustrated, because it’s not our rules’

The courthouse in Iqaluit is shown on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. Three Nunavut judges, including the chief justice, are at odds over whether prison conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic should be considered when sentencing offenders in the territory. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Emma Tranter
Nunavut judges disagree on how to sentence offenders during pandemic

IQALUIT — Three Nunavut judges, including the territory’s chief justice, are at… Continue reading

A corrections officer opens the door to a cell in the segregation unit at the federal Fraser Valley Institution for Women during a media tour, in Abbotsford, B.C., Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017. Independent reviews of the hundreds of inmates placed in segregation over the past year found only a handful were inappropriate, new government data indicate. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Few federal inmates moved from solitary after external reviews, new data show

‘There can be rare cases where the removal may not be immediate’

A couple embrace during a ceremony to mark the end of a makeshift memorial for victims of the Toronto van attack, at Yonge St. and Finch Ave. in Toronto on Sunday, June 3, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
‘I’ve been spared a lot,’ van attack survivor says as she watches trial alone

Court has set up a private room for victims and families of those killed in the Toronto van attack

Banff National Park. (The Canadian Press)
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

EDMONTON — A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths on railway tracks… Continue reading

Cows on pasture at the University of Vermont dairy farm eat hay Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Burlington, Vt. Canadian dairy farmers are demanding compensation from the government because of losses to their industry they say have been caused by a series of international trade deals. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Lisa Rathke
Feds unveil more funding for dairy, poultry and egg farmers hurt by free trade deals

OTTAWA — Canadian egg and poultry farmers who’ve lost domestic market share… Continue reading

Most Read