We had an unusual event in our ward today. A young man, recently returned from his mission in the Austria, Germany mission, was giving a talk. About half way through his talk there was somewhat of a ruckus behind and to the left of where were sitting on the second row. I did not see what happened but suddenly several people hopped up out of their pews and headed for the door. At about the same time, the second counselor in the bishopric jumped up and made haste for the door. My family and I were nothing but rotating heads trying to ascertain what was happening. The speaker of course came to a halt, also trying to figure out what was going on. Poor kid, he was struggling, as it was, with English, his new foreign language. The hullabaloo only heightened his discomfort.
The Bishop then got up, whispered an encouraging word or two to the young man, and then made his way out of the chapel. At that the returned missionary picked up his talk where he had left off.
The rest of the meeting proceeded without incident. Then just before the closing hymn, the Bishop, who had previously returned to his seat, stood at the pulpit and informed the congregation that the previous commotion had been caused when certain members of the congregation had learned that there was a fire at the home of the return missionary's mother's home.
We had our closing hymn and prayer and then were dismissed: the children and young women to class and the priesthood to go home, change clothes, and return prepared to work.
Of course when we arrived at the home the fire dept would not let anyone near it. It was a pretty bad fire, and the back of the house was structurally unsafe. After some time they let a few men in to the front rooms of the house to salvage what they could, which was not much.
I can't even imagine; to get home off your mission and within just a couple days have your house burn up. Luckily the missionary had very little in the way of personal possessions, and what little he did have from his mission was saved.
His mother was not so lucky: all her pets (cats and fish) died, she has no clothes, and pretty much everything was a total loss. They were able to get a few things, including a file cabinet with important papers. The other lucky thing (if I can use that word) is that due to the homecoming all her grown children were present. Hence, she has an immediate support group.
Currently the ward is making clothing and housing arrangements. I'm sure they would appreciate any prayers or thoughts. Their names are Arlinda and Andy Robinson.