by Matt Chancey
October was a rough month. October saw a fresh wave of attacks by Islamists against our brothers and sisters in the Nuba mountains. But the month was also a tough one for my family.
First, it was the 1-year anniversary of my father’s passing, which is always a sad time for families. But secondly, it was the month our family business burned down.
After nearly eight years living in Africa, we relocated back to America where we eventually settled in my hometown of Enterprise, Alabama. While in Africa, we bought a part ownership in a small coffee shop. It was a wonderful business where our children could get their first jobs and learn important lessons about customer service, hard work, and hospitality. So when we returned to America, we began looking for opportunities to start a similar business here.
In the spring of 2021, we found the perfect location and began plans for opening in the Fall. In September, 2021, we opened Coffee Corner. It was everything we hoped it would be. The kids loved working there. We met new friends and made a lot of wonderful memories.
Shortly after our year anniversary, I was traveling in South Africa visiting my son and daughter-in-law, when I received a call from my wife that a fire had started next door and spread to our shop. We could do nothing but watch as the fire department worked for hours to put out the flames. But in the end, it was a total loss.
Of course, things can be replaced. Our sadness was mainly due to losing such a lovely space which had been a place of making happy memories for us and our neighbors. But the encouraging aspect of this tragedy was that my family was inundated with love and concern from our customers and neighbors.
Everyone wanted to know how they could help. Fundraisers were immediately organized to help cover what insurance doesn’t. Some of our regular customers began showing up at our home in the mornings bringing muffins, scones, and other goodies so we could continue our tradition of having coffee together. People offered to donate their space and equipment so we could re-open quickly. The list goes on.
Recall the headline in the October Africa Messenger, “All things work together for good” where Ed Lyons wrote about his recent visit to the Nuba mountains, where a seemingly “bad” occurrence resulted in many lives being saved.
It was a very timely message for my family, and we saw a demonstration in our own lives, as we witnessed God turn a tragedy for us into a moment of faith-building, growth and encouragement.
Are you dealing with your own tragedy right now? Be encouraged. All things truly work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Keep praying, keep believing, and never give up!