A roofless house and reasons to rejoice

Hardship and loss are not unbearable when compared to the joy of sharing the gospel.

Their house needed renovation, missionary Nadia Hattingh explains. Built from local materials like mud bricks and adobe, their roof needed its five-year replacement of palm tiles. “And the bathroom would not have withstood another rainy season,” Nadia observes.

But in the beginning, Nadia and her husband, Francois, had no idea how big the job was going to be.

They decided that their family would spend Christmas with friends in the city. After a week, Francois planned to return to the village to oversee the work on their house. The plan was for the project to be finished before the rainy season hit.

“And then,” Nadia writes, “it started to rain … and rain.”

The rains caught them off guard—right at the stage when the roof of the house was missing. Their house was flooded and the resulting damage was quite extensive.

Francois called with the dismal report. He was unable to sleep well. “There was wet, smelly stuff everywhere and an open roof with mosquitoes and bed bugs. There was no place to hang out wet blankets and curtains.”

Work was progressing at a snail’s pace and to top it off, the truck coming with building supplies had broken down. Nadia, waiting for word in the city, received the phone report from Francois as she suffered a severe bout of stomach flu and tried in vain to get their disabled internet functioning.

It all seemed, humanly speaking, like too much.

Yet, though the circumstances were deeply discouraging, Nadia and Francois fixed their trust in a faithful God. “As the challenges mounted, I was reminded that our Father is faithful and full of mercy,” writes Nadia. “He was not only aware of our situation, He was in total control.”

Things started to look better. Nadia was able to get the internet functional and share their situation with prayer partners. The very next day she wrote, “I want to thank you for your prayers! We are seeing the Lord’s mighty Hand intervening in our circumstances!”

“Since we were able to share the prayer request about our roofless house, not one drop of rain has fallen in our area.”

In addition, she shared, the truck carrying their building supplies had been repaired and had made it to the village where they live. And their Mwinika builders and helpers, as well as several friends and co-workers, expressed their willingness to work around the clock to get the roof over the main section of their home. In addition, the Hattingh family has received gifts to help with the losses.

The family has returned to the village they call home.

During the remaining renovation work, they are camping in two bedrooms and using an outdoor kitchen.

There are some significant losses. Sadly, their pictures were damaged. “They were unique and mostly irreplaceable,” says Nadia. “But thankfully, these things are only earthly treasures.”

“It could be a lot worse,” Nadia suggests with a smile. “God is indeed bringing good out of this chaos. … Jesus is still our Emmanuel—God with us … during this very challenging and yet blessed year.”

Now that things are drying out and their house is slowly becoming livable again, Nadia and Francois are focusing on an important truth about losing earthly possessions. The loss means nothing compared to the joy of bringing the Good News about Jesus to people who need Him desperately.

“We have lost nothing of eternal value,” Nadia shares. “Together, as a family in Christ, we are seeing the Lord work through us to make miracles happen.”

Earthly comforts fade in the light of that happy reality.