The following is excerpted from the Church News. To read the full article, CLICK HERE.
How can Nathalie Smith stay so positive after her home burned? While she and her family are living in one hotel room? When she doesn’t know when they will have their own place again?
“Being surrounded by faith-filled friends and having faith ourselves has helped us be mindful and look for where we can see Heavenly Father in the things that are happening,” she said.
Six months have passed since deadly and devastating fires hit the Hawaiian island of Maui on Aug. 8, 2023, destroying almost the entire town of Lahaina.
Only recently came official identification of all 100 people who were confirmed dead, including five members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Tall, boarded fences were built to block views of the neighborhoods, while barricades keep people from driving down the streets. Residents have to get a permit to go see where they once lived. Nonresidents need not apply.
Almost 80 members of the Lahaina 1st Ward and Lahaina 2nd Ward lost their homes. Though the Smiths’ home and most of their possessions were burned, they have felt God’s love for them as they have looked for it.
“We are overwhelmed with gratitude for other people being willing to be God’s hands,” Nathalie Smith said.
Her mother taught her as a child to always look for the good, starting with the very air she breathes. She actively chooses gratitude and practices it with her husband Matt Smith, and their children Jacksen, 12, and Kai, 7.
Each night before family prayer, the Smiths speak of what they can think of to be grateful for because of the fire.
Matt Smith said that their gratitude has come in layers. “At first we were grateful that we were alive. Then we were grateful for the kindness of strangers. And then we would go deeper. And we would find things along the way we were grateful for.”
Sitting outside on the hotel grounds, they listed some of those blessings: Kind words and prayers on their behalf. A listening ear. Donations from friends and strangers near and far with basic necessities, clothing and toys. Kai lost his Lego sets in the fire. “But now we have way more,” he said, spreading his arms.
To read the full article, CLICK HERE.