OUT OF THE ASHES: A Story of Resiliency
Fifteen years ago, a large squatter community in the inner city of Bangkok burned to the ground. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but about 1500 families watched as they lost their homes and everything they owned.
But from that devastation came something beautiful. A group came together and led the way in rebuilding. But they didn’t just rebuild a shanty squatter community, they successfully negotiated a 30 year lease on the land. This type of security was something they had never known before, and it empowered them to build better quality housing. They pooled together their resources and negotiated a low-interest loan as an entire community. Individually, none of them would have ever qualified for a loan of this sort. Then they contracted with a builder and built concrete homes with plenty of green space. It was a long journey from the fire to the opening of their new community, but from the ashes came beauty. And you cannot help but see a story of redemption in it.
A few days ago, they held a community-wide safety training. As you might imagine, fire safety was front and center. They have never forgotten where they came from. They tell their story to newcomers and to their children over and over again; it has become much like their Exodus story. Not only do they teach their children the importance of fire safety but they also talk about how they came together to build a better future in spite of their loss. A powerful lesson for youngsters to learn.
This is a community that owns their story, and that has been one of their greatest strengths. And it is a place that I am proud to call my home.
In the same way that the Exodus story pointed the Israelites to God’s ultimate redemption in Christ, pray that the Fire story becomes the redemptive analogy for this community.