Cole Family - House Fire Loss
$18,545 of $20,000 goal
The family headed to a friends home for the night, but were awakened at 3:30AM with a phone call from their neighbor. The fire had reignited.
As of this morning, May 5, it appears they have experienced a total loss of their home and possesions. While we are all thankful that no one came to any physical harm during this experience, we grieve with our family as they start to work through this loss.
For those who may not know my brother, let me tell you a little about his family. A couple of years ago, he bought a failing insurance agency and has worked long days and nights resucitating the business. My sister-in-law is an incredible mom, who not only home schools their three children, but puts in countless hours helping Ryan run the insurance agency. Their children are some of the brightest and best kids I know. This is a family that has been working hard to achieve the American dream.
Their family is going to end up being displaced for weeks, if not months, while they sort through the rubble of what is left. We know that insurance replaces homes and possessions, but it can not account for all of the little expenses they will incur while seeking refuge with family and friends. Anything you can contribute will be given directly to Ryan and Joelle to help them cover all the small, unplannd, and incidental costs they are likely to face in the coming weeks and months.
A Facebook Post from Joelle, 5/13/2016
"I'm sitting at my desk at work reading a journal God saved from the fire. This entry was from 2008 and my heart resonates today as deeply as it did that day. Last night sucked. I wanted to go home and sleep in my own bed. I wanted to make a decision on rebuild vs moving. I wanted to watch the Voice with my kids on my own couch, cuddled up in afghans knit by Ryan's grandma. But that will happen in time. For today, I will choose to be the mouthpiece for a God who longs for people to give their lives to Him fully and completely. He desires for people to trust Him that His ways are much better than anything they could imagine. He has continually shown Himself to me in times of anxiety and stress and tragedy. He is completely worthy of my trust. And He's worthy of yours, too."
In the meantime, I'd like to share a couple of Ryan and Joelle's recent Facebook posts with you all.
Joelle Cole - May 9, 2016
Psalm 29:10-11 - "The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace." This (see the included picture) is my bedroom. In the charred remains of my end table, I opened the drawer and saw a gift bag full of cards and letters. They were the love notes Ryan and I have written each other over the last 21 years. I couldn't help but remember this verse. God allowed this to happen, but He stretched His hand out and said "Nope. Not that". He is enthroned. Sovereign. Trustworthy.
Ryan Cole - May 10, 2016
Fire update - It's official. The house and most of the contents are a total loss. Mostly, the facts are overwhelming and I'm tired of smelling like smoke at the end of every day.
We have been able to sift through the ash and debris (ask anyone who's been over to help -There's a lot of debris and not much else). Several "miracle" items have been found buried mostly intact... apart from the smell and water, of course. We found some photos, but lost most. We found a few pieces of clothes, but not many. We hope the smell of smoke can be pulled from a couple sentimental items.
Overall, we have been humbled and blessed by the gifts God protected from the flames, the support of our church, our kids sports teams, and our friends at Classical Conversations. The whole community has been amazing! We feel very loved!
Some people have said that we seem to be doing pretty good...and I think we are. Joelle and I were talking about this when we got up today. The weight of this tragedy is heavy. Unbearable. But the Lord has given us strength. When we wake up in the morning and our bodies are sore and our eyes itch, He pulls us up and holds us strong. He is our shelter and strong tower.
Back in 2011, my family was touched by tragedy in a different way. My brother Chad lost his wife Sara and their daughter Miranda in a horrific auto accident on a snowy February morning. While they are calling our home a "total loss," it pales in comparison to the toll extracted from my brother and the rest of the family in the weeks and months of that time. The Lord proved his sovereignty, love, and care back then and He is still the same God today.
We still hurt. We have moments where it takes everything we have not to burst into uncontrollable sobs. On the outside, we seem okay but on the inside we are just broken and tired.
Thank you all sooo much from your love and support! We feel it. We need it. Keep it coming.
Being properly insured will allow Ryan's family to eventually find a new place to call home. It will fill that home with furniture, clothes, and all those things we often take for granted as part of our every day lives. Your donations are helping them with the costs that insurance doesn't cover, the immediate needs, and the lost wages. Again, we all say a hearty thank you to each and every one of you.
"The last two days have been such a blur. So many people have reached out to us, and I wish I could text/call every single one of you back! Thank you for understanding. Know that every text and message and call is appreciated more than you know. A friend asked me yesterday "how do you feel?" I answered "I just feel SO loved". I feel loved by a great and good God who is giving us the most wonderful blessings in the midst of chaos (I can't wait to share those with you). I feel loved so well by a church family we have worshipped with for 12 years. I feel taken care of as my friends rally around us and become the hands and feet of Christ. I feel cherished by our families who are loving us from afar. I posted a picture of a dove nest on our front porch earlier this week and how excited my family has been about them returning year after year. You'll never guess that today when I went back to our decimated home, that sweet little dove was sitting on her egg on my front porch. I told Ryan "that's exactly how I feel right now. Chaos is swirling all around us and I feel peace. So much peace." Do you see that hanging basket on the lower left corner of the picture? That's the sweet bird in her nest with an utter mess all around. God is amazing. He is strength. He is rest. He is the calm in the storm."
My brother Aaron and I drove down to Cleveland last night to deliver the first installment of your generous donations, guitars (so the kids can keep practicing while they wait for insurance to do its work), and our love for our family. You, as someone who, have have been part of a huge blessing. As not only an agent, but the owner of the agency, dealing with the fallout of this fire will have a negative impact on Ryan's ability to earn money. Being adequately insured means the family will be able to find a new home, restore lost material possessions, and try to resume as normal a life as possible...weeks and months from now. This GoFundMe campaign helps bridge the gap between now and then, providing for lost income and helping to cover the unplanned, incidental costs that come up while waiting for the insurance company to come through on their end of the bargain.
From the bottom of all our hearts, thank you, thank you, and thank you.
For those of you who may not know my brother and/or his family, know that your help is meaningful to them in ways words cannot express. Their family is safe, being taken care of, and trying to deal with the loss of nearly everything they owned. While they would be the first in line to remind us all that material possessions are not what is truly valuable, losing everything hurts in ways that are hard to describe, let alone understand.
This house was more than just a home. Joelle ran her business, Slipnot Designs ( http://slipnotdesigns.com/) out of it. Their home also served as the school for their three children. It was a meeting place for church community groups. And it was often filled with the laughter of visiting friends. Those aspects will follow them, no matter where they live; but having them taken away so abruptly will not be easy to overcome.
The goal of this fund is to be able to help the family with the unplanned and/or incidental costs that insurance won't cover while they are displaced. I would personally like to say thank you to the dozens of people who have reached out, many of whom have never even met my brother's family. To each and every one of you, I say, "Thank you, from the bottom of my heart."