Pastor, family get new perspective on life a year after parsonage burns

By Jessica Brodie

JONESVILLE—Less than a year after its parsonage burned to the ground, Bogansville United Methodist Church has a newly built home for its pastor, who himself has a new perspective about what really matters in life.

Last January, the Rev. Don Alexander was in his garage replacing the carburetor on his 1974 MGB when some gas slipped out and caused an explosion. The explosion blew up and out toward the garage door, igniting the structure and adjoining house in minutes. His wife was not home at the time, and he, his mother and their two dogs Harley, a crippled dachshund, and Bocephus, a golden retriever, escaped with their lives, but the house and Alexander’s Chevy Suburban were demolished.

Luckily, insurance paid for a total rebuild of the house and its furnishings, though the family did not have renter’s insurance.

“We lost it all,” Alexander said. “Thirty-three years’ worth of marriage accumulated: pictures, wedding pictures, childhood pictures of our son, everything.”

Still, Alexander said, he learned rather quickly that stuff is, indeed, just stuff.

“You depend on it when it’s there, but so much of what we have in America is luxury items,” Alexander said. “Basically, as long as you have the people you love close by, you can survive anything. The church has been tremendous, the community has been tremendous, and I’ve learned you can get by without stuff pretty easily.”

A local Baptist church, Mount Lebanon, let the Alexanders use their unused parsonage free of charge after the blaze and throughout the building process this summer, for which Alexander is exceedingly grateful. The new parsonage was completed at the end of October, and the Alexanders are now in their new home.

“It’s beautiful,” Alexander told the Advocate. “They bulldozed the whole thing and hauled it off in dump trucks and started from the ground up. It has three bedrooms and two baths, plus an office, a dining room, a kitchen with a kitchenette and a two-car garage.”

His family is enjoying their new home and their new lease on life, though Alexander has to admit it’s a bit odd sometimes, such as when they moved into the parsonage with only one pickup truck filled with their belongings instead of the normal moving van, or when they went to decorate for the Christmas season and remembered they had no lights, no tree, no ornaments and no wreath for the door.

“You don’t think about that in the middle of the summer,” he said. “Each season brings knowledge of more things you don’t have. It’s all gone, it ain’t coming back, and every day you remember something else you lost.”

Spiritually, Alexander said, it’s been somewhat of a roller coaster.

“You have those days when you ask God, ‘Why?’ and then those days when you are tremendously blessed by God through people, through his agents, and you’re just like, ‘Wow, I thought you forgot me! This is better than I expected!’”

Alexander said God has shown up in so many ways, such as through the florist going out of business who gave them a Christmas tree, or one of the ladies at church who came by with a wreath for their front door.

“The Lord continues to bless us, and we just trust him to keep on,” Alexander said.

To learn more about how to help the Alexanders, call the church at 864-427-9652.

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