Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
It’s been just over ten weeks…ten intense, often emotional, challenging, sad weeks. But it has also been ten weeks of blessings beyond what we ever imagined, relationships strengthening, faith building, hope giving, humbling weeks.
Ten weeks ago, early in the morning hours, our home and all that was in it was lost to a devastating fire. In the process of recouping from the fire, Keith’s 103- year-old grandmother had a change in her health and her journey on this earth ended. We buried her two weeks after her death, next to her beloved husband in Missouri.
Fire, death, tragic loss. This has taken an emotional toll as so many “treasures” are gone, though we do know in our hearts that our treasures are in heaven.
So, what is our current status and what’s next? How do we even proceed from here? I shared photos in a previous update…you can see that there truly was a total loss.
Before I continue, I do want to just take a moment to pause and THANK everyone from the depth of our hearts for the massive outpouring of love and support that has been given to us. Within a few hours of the fire, every single immediate need was met. It was truly astonishing and humbling to see this all happen.
What next? Though we had insurance on our personal belongings, the house itself was not insured. This home was not “ours”; it was a home on the farm and became our home. All of this is part of the ministry that my father founded over forty years ago. We came back over five years ago to steward the property and maintain it and, we feel that we are to continue to do so.
With that being said, we do feel that we should rebuild on the same site where the house was. The cement slab is intact, the plumbing is still in place, the well and electrical are all present. The ministry has remained debt free and our heart is that it stays that way. We will not be taking out any loans to rebuild. We truly believe that the Lord will provide all that is needed to rebuild!
COVID 19 has deeply impacted the cost of building materials. With volunteer labor to do the actual construction, we are looking at around $100,000 to build the house. The cost for building materials has skyrocketed as you can well imagine!
How can you help? First and foremost, pray. Pray for wisdom and guidance. Pray for healing and peace. Pray for His provision to accomplish this task that is before us. It is not ours, but His to do according to His will and purpose.
Due to many who have already generously given financially, we already have $30,000 in the building fund. We will build as we can, as the funds come in, and trust that we can complete this project quickly so we can return to the farm. We have been so blessed with temporary housing and are thankful for this provision from Mount Zion Church, here in Bemidji.
Along with the building supply costs, we will also need of physical help from carpenters, electricians, painters, plumbers and so forth. To keep costs down, it will take those who have these gifts and talents to help us.
Again, we are so thankful to those that have already given financial gifts! If you are able to make a financial contribution towards the rebuild, donations can be made via PayPal (benisrael.org/donate) and please indicate that it is for the fire fund or, sent it directly to the farm and mark for the FIRE FUND.
All donations can be sent to:
Ben Israel Fellowship
c/o Fire Fund
43237 Cass Line Road
Laporte, MN 56461
If you can help with the building construction, please send an email to bifellowship [at] gmail [dot] com and please put FIRE REBUILD in the subject line. This will be passed on to Keith and others who will be organizing the team(s). You can also send us a letter with your availability and how you could help at the above address.
I will continue to place updates here and on Facebook page. Please feel free to contact us with any questions!
We know that from the ashes, beauty will rise.
In His love and grace,
Keith and Sissie
Ben Israel Fellowship