It started just before dinner time.
While all of the adults in the village were finishing their days' work in the fields, the children were responsible for preparing the evening meal. In the rural hillsides of Myanmar, these families rely upon fire for cooking each day. It is the children's responsibility to cook and to complete other household chores, as there are very few schools in the area for them to attend. The children had completed their tasks many times prior without any difficulty. But, on this particular evening, an accident occurred. One of the cooking fires started by the children jumped from its pit, sparking over the ground and floor nearby.
Being made of wood and bamboo, the house ignited almost immediately. As the first house was engulfed in flames much to the children's terror, it quickly spread to six neighboring houses. Seven families, who make very little as field-hands, came back to the village after work to find their homes in piles of smoking ashes, and their children in tears. Everything they owned was gone. This was a great and terrible tragedy.
Praise God that no one was injured in the fires; however, what little hope these families had was taken away from them in an instant. It was a freak accident. The local church in the village was informed by neighbors of the devastation, and moved quickly to figure out how to help.
"The villagers shared some food with the victims. But they could not help them in rebuilding [their] houses, as the whole village is very poor," the local minister reported. Having partnered with IDES in the past, the minister knew he could call upon IDES for assistance.
Thanks to your generosity, all seven families received complete building materials for new homes. Made primarily of lumber, bamboo, and corrugated steel, the new homes cost only about $2,000 USD to rebuild.
"The families received a little amount of money from the government, and a few other organizations for some foods and clothes. However they did not get any aid for rebuilding their homes. We are so thankful to IDES for granting funds for helping these families who were homeless and hopeless," IDES' partner said.
As soon as the funding was received, the lumber was purchased, and carpenters were hired. Since the hillside village is so rural, the nearest place to purchase and cut the wood was 2.5 miles away by foot.
"Our volunteers hired some wood-cutters. They cut the wood and made the lumber. They all worked very hard. They cut the wood in the higher hills, about 2.5 miles from the village. The family members were actively involved in the project," our partner said. "They had to carry the sheets of metal for the roofs and the pillars and the lumber from the hills to the village. Everything was transported by hand. There was no truck! Even the children worked very hard carrying the lumber one piece of wood at a time. They could only go once or twice per a day."
From start to finish, the rebuilding project took exactly 40 days. The biblical significance of the number was not lost on the minister.
"Our volunteers spent 40 days rebuilding seven homes from the beginning to the end. There was no phone line in that area. I encouraged our volunteers that Moses and Jesus also spent 40 days for talking with God!"
The families were thrilled with their new homes, which were even sturdier than those that burnt down, as you can see in the photos below. Hope was restored because of your generosity and love in the name of Jesus Christ.
"The family members and their relatives are very happy and they praised God for these new homes. The new homes are better than the old homes! We used lumber for the floor, walls and also tins for the roof. The families now have new homes before the raining season. The township administrator also expressed his thanks to us by telephone. He said even the government and other organizations couldn’t help the families to rebuild. So he is very thankful to us for helping the victims. Now, seven families have seven new homes from God through International Disaster Emergency Service. God bless IDES!"