With fresh tears filling her eyes and dangling from her long lashes, Naomi Avery looked at me and summarized the theme of our nearly three-hour-long interview.
“God loves us.”
Naomi said the words quietly, but with confidence. Dirk, her husband, smiled warmly, squeezed her arm and nodded in agreement.
On March 31, just one week before our memorable meeting around a friend’s dining-room table, the Avery family was tested in ways most cannot fathom. On a spring afternoon like any other, Dirk, Naomi and their five children — members of the Hartwood Ward, Fredericksburg Virginia Stake, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — were devastated as an accidental fire destroyed their home.
The fire chief told the family he'd never seen anything like it in his 20-year career. In just 10 minutes, their beautiful house on a large country lot was dropped to its foundation, and the Avery family was brought to its knees.