Thank you all for the words of encouragement and concern since we shared our burden yesterday. Here is an update.
I left Julie in Cape Town early this morning to return to Knysna. We were there to assist my 87-year old mother as she underwent surgery for cancer on Monday. The surgery was a success and she is recovering well.
We watched the tragedy of Knysna unfold from a distance yesterday afternoon, not expecting the fires to spread so rapidly with devastating consequences.
Our immediate concern was for the wellbeing of our ministry team and for our church families. We tracked their frequently changing circumstances on social media. It very quickly became clear that the fires were out of control and even the authorities knew there was no way to stop them. The unusually strong dry winds fanned the flames relentlessly.
Once we had peace of mind that the evacuation of the Knysna residents was being well managed, we turned our attention to the status of our own home. Even though one of our team families had earlier “broken in” to find refuge, it soon looked as though the fires on the hill behind our house were headed that way. That family made for a nearby residential island to find safety.
Early this morning I drove 5 hours to Knysna from Cape Town. I was not prepared for the sights and smells that greeted me. Emotion welled up as I passed through the scorched hills framing the entrance to the estuary on which Knysna sits. Tears came easily as I drove along the smoky, and thankfully, rain-soaked streets of our beloved town.
The fire has decimated countless hectares of what was once beautiful “fynbos” vegetation. The smoldering scene resembles the aftermath of a fiery battle. The scarred remains of homes, restaurants, and businesses attack the senses and appear somewhat unreal, something one might see in a war movie.
The wind-driven fire has seemingly chosen random targets to consume in its anger, while leaving other structures completely untouched–a phenomenon I am struggling to reconcile in my mind.
The residents of Knysna are left stunned and grieving. Some of us have been spared with no loss at all, while others have lost all of their earthly possessions. Our home is completely untouched, as are the homes of every one of our ministry team partners. The same is true most of our church families.
To God be the glory! He answered your prayers. He answered our prayers. He is opening ministry in front of us. We pray for this daily, and now He has spoken.
And so ministry continues. Ministry of a different kind begins. Our faith in Him never wavered. Our love for Him has deepened. Our resolve to share the Gospel is as strong as ever.
Please pray for fertile hearts.
DAVE & JULIE