Tribal Tribune

Reflecting on the St. Andrew’s Church Fire

Ben Wallace, Staff Writer

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Water slicked rocks cracked under my feet as I walked towards St. Andrews Church. The smell of burnt wood filled my lungs as I got closer and closer to the ruins of a fire that broke out earlier that morning.
My mind was racing. I was hoping and praying that the damage would be minor, that the building that had practically raised me would be safe. I crossed under a thick line of bright yellow caution tape to find around 100 people, standing, waiting and watching.
The entire roof of our church had been destroyed, erased from the rest of the building. Through the blackened and cracked windows, I could make out the remnants of our ministry center. A place that was once filled with joyful singing and worship was now filled with blackened wood and ash covered walls. The church that I knew was no longer there.
Although it was just a building, this church was not just four walls and a roof to me. It was a place where I first attended school, a place where I learned about God, and a place where I felt at home.
I learned the basics of education when I went to preschool at St. Andrew’s. Fast forward two years, and St Andrew’s became a place that I worshipped. It led me to create a relationship with my church, and most importantly, God.
By age 13, I began serving in the children’s section of the church, the Deep End. I formed relationships with the children that I served with, I learned leadership skills, and I felt as if I had become a member of something bigger.
But St. Andrew’s impacted my life the greatest when it sent me on a mission trip to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. It provided me with an opportunity to show people the love and compassion of Jesus Christ, and also supplied me an experience that I will never forget.
This church was a place where people could be themselves, where relationships would flourish and where God was most present in my heart.
Despite the fact that the church itself is gone, the the faith of God prevails in my heart, and the hope for a brighter future remains in my soul.

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Reflecting on the St. Andrew’s Church Fire