CAIRO, IL -
No one knows for sure how they'll react to tragedy like a house fire. Most everyone hopes they'll never find out. Pastor Lorenzo Nelson reacted in a way that surprised everyone in his community and congregation.
Nelson started his Sunday ahead of schedule. He was at first Central Missionary Baptist church early. Sunday school went over without issue. Then, as he prepared to call his congregation to attention for the first service, a fellow minister gave him some bad news.
"He told me my house is on fire," Nelson said.
In disbelief, he and several church members walked the few blocks to see.
"I could see the blaze coming out of the window there," he said.
The entire second story was on fire and fire fighters poured water into the rest to try to save it. Nelson's wife and two teenagers also stood by to watch as all of their belongings went up in smoke. Nelson said they all made a tough choice a few years back when his diabetes and kidney failure put them in a financial hardship.
"Some bills had to go," he said. "One of them that had to go was the insurance on the house. Just like I never thought anything would happen to the house, it happened."
But even as he realized that his family was going to have to start all over, and as crews continued to battle the blaze, Nelson headed back to church. he had a sermon to give.
"Everybody needs somebody," he said. "That's the way I look at it."
He said it's where he needed to be. Monday, he and his family were there raking up piles of their belongings to have them hauled away. Gospel music rang out as would an occasional laugh. The family says they have to laugh to keep from crying.
"The Lord will provide. He'll make it happen. We'll get it put back together.," said Nelson.
That's the plan anyway. To fix the house and move back in. The hope is to do so in a matter of weeks. But in order to do that this preacher and his family knows they're going to need a lot of help themselves.
"Most of all, you know, send up some some prayers for us," he said.
An account has been set up at Capaha Bank in Cairo, Illinois to raise money for the Nelson Family.
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