I don’t even know where to begin with this story. Plus I’ve been awake longer than I can remember and on pain meds so bear with me. Just before Christmas of 2014, I bought Bronwyn a couple’s massage as one of her presents, a present that had gone unused and since we were about to move to Kenya and since we were sick on each other’s Birthdays in January and it was almost Valentine’s Day, we set up our massage and then planned to have a very relaxing, romantic evening together for our last night in our house. After our massages we went home, I built a fire in our fireplace and got ready to shut our brains off and enjoy being together one last time in the house we had lived in since 2004. We had pretty much cleaned everything out of the house in preparation for closing on it on Thursday. All that was left was the TV, our bed, an air mattress, and all of our boxes for Kenya already packed, weighed and ready to go. I made a few BlueSky phone calls, noted a few new members of our support team and got ready to enjoy our evening. Our air mattress had a slow leak so we decided to bring the King mattress into the den since we were moving it anyway. After some time we both fell asleep, relaxed after a great day together.
Around 12:30 Bronwyn woke up, our mattress we were laying on was on fire. I don’t know if it was the heat or a spark or what. Bronwyn jumped up and threw the sheets out the back door and I threw the water next to me on the fire. It was honestly just a small thing at that point. Brownyn went out the front to call 911 and I went to get the fire extinguisher from under the kitchen sink. Because we had moved some things around it wasn’t right where it always is. I looked for just a minute but by the time I decided I couldn’t find it and stood up the entire den and kitchen were black. I couldn’t see anything, and I inhaled a bunch of thick smoke. I quickly realized I was completely disoriented in my own kitchen. Everything was black except the fireball growing in the den and all I could feel was wall and no door. I hollered to Bronwyn I couldn’t find the door and about that time I started smelling my hair burning. Also my back was getting really hot. I never panicked but I new I was in trouble. For just a minute it occurred to me I might not make it out and all I could think about was that it was gonna hurt. By this time my face is feeling the flames I’m still hopelessly searching for a door. Then Bronwyn heard me, yelled back, and moments later grabbed me. She had come back in and saved my life. The true hero of this story.
I get outside and talk to the EMT’s they take my vitals and everything seems fine. However I think I was just in shock. The ambulance leaves and we go into our awesome next door neighbors house and for the first time I see my hand is a mess. Skin falling off and covered in blisters. Bronwyn went into our house with a fireman after the house was safe and found our passports, literally one of the only things to survive and probably the most important thing. When she comes back into our neighbors house it’s pretty clear I’m in pretty bad shape. I don’t know what the conversation was that led to this but Gregg, our neighbor, took us to St Francis Hospital. They take me back and for the first time I see my face, it looked like I had been laying in the Sun in Daytona all day without any sunblock. They give me some pain meds and decide I need to go to the burn unit at The Med. The rest is a bit of a blur, they treat my burns and in the process keep finding more. At some point they showed me how much of my hair had melted and that they need to shave around some burns on my head so I tell the nurse to just take it all.
I have to say the care here has been amazing. And the calls, texts, messages and visitors I have had has been unreal. I’m probably being prayed for by more people than have ever prayed for me my entire life. The reality is God is in this. I may have been shocked that this happened but He wasn’t. God has a plan and I’m excited to be a part of it. Our plan was to leave Saturday for Kenya but now we have some things we need to do here before that happens like dealing with insurance stuff, replacing all my clothes and a few other things, and healing a bit. We honestly are assessing all that now. I just want to say that I am not the tiniest bit discouraged by this and if anything I’m more excited than ever. If you have followed our story you know Isaiah 43 has been a big part of it. Well right there in the second verse is:
“when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.”
So maybe I did get a few burns but I could have been consumed, I wasn’t and it won’t be long till we are in Africa serving the Lord on the Mission Field.