“Often times our fans, friends and loved ones think life on the road is a glamorous lifestyle, and that it is all perfect and such. Of course there are so many blessings daily of being able to go out on the road and share the good news with the powerful tool of music, so the good always outweighs the bad. This last weekend was one of those “growing and maturing” weekends and a time where we saw and experienced the hand of God mightily in spite of what is a disastrous time.
On Friday July 29th, Beyond The Ashes started out on another normal weekend of traveling and ministering. This weekend would be a little more fun because we were headed to the Tri Lakes Center in Branson, MO to be with our friends the Martins. After a great concert and all of us saying our goodbyes we left Branson around 10:30pm. Anthony started driving our seven and half hour trek towards Owensboro, KY for our concert on Saturday night. After driving for a little over two hours, he decided to pull over at the closest Walmart. We were in the small town of Marshfield, MO for the night, just down the road from Springfield. He parked the bus and he, our dear ministry friend Dusty Wells, and I sat in the front lounge discussing ideas and sharing our hearts in regards to the ministry of Beyond The Ashes. Kellan and Casey had already headed to bed for the evening. Around 1:15 AM Dusty and Anthony decided to call it a night, and so Anthony went to his bunk and Dusty went to the back of the bus to lay down on the back bed, and I went into
WalMart to grab a few groceries. I finally laid down and remembered looking at my phone for the last time at 1:58AM. I quickly drifted off to sleep.
At about 2:20AM I was abruptly awakened to see Dusty run to the front of the bus in a panic saying that he smelled a funny burning smell. Then Anthony came flying out of his bunk and ran to the front of the bus and looked out the doors and that funny smell was smoke billowing out of our bus around the battery bay. Anthony quickly yelled “fire” and everyone was out of their bunks in a split second. I don’t remember much but thinking to grab my phone, wallet, and t-shirt. We all had safely made it off the bus and were standing about 20 feet away from the bus on the opposite side of where the smoke was coming from. Then I remembered looking under the bus and seeing a bright orange glow! As we all ran to other side of the bus we saw the flames coming out of the battery bay. The next instinct for all of us was to call 911, and to notify the people that were in the surrounding vehicles and get them moved away from the bus in thoughts that the bus may explode. Casey took off across the parking, shirtless and barefoot, and went into WalMart in hopes they could make an announcement. I was on the phone with the 911 operator at 2:35AM. The fire department arrived minutes later as we watched our home on the road going up in flames. To say each of us were in shock is a understatement. The feeling of hopelessness and so many thoughts in each of our heads, especially Anthony who has worked so diligently and faithfully to guard and protect the ministry of Beyond The Ashes.
The firemen quickly put the fire out on the side of the bus where it apparently had begun. So strange to see that only fiberglass separated that fire and the bunk area where Kellan and I’s bunks were! One of the firemen went on the bus and gathered shoes for us to put on. After a little bit of time to make sure there was no danger for us, we were then allowed to go into a very smoke filled bus and grab our and computers. Each of us were so quiet and filled with a wide range of emotions as we began to survey the damage.
We all finally got to bed around six am on Saturday morning and we got a little sleep or at least tried to! The fire department, police and WalMart staff were so helpful and called a Holiday Inn a few blocks away to make sure we could get a room. They even took us over there with our smoke filled luggage and salvageable belongings.
Later that morning we all woke up to a tremendous out pouring of texts, emails, and phone calls. While this very scary experience we learned several things. I think the two greatest things that I learned is that our God is more faithful to protect His children than I could ever realize! The other thing I learned is that we have some wonderful friends, who all just started doing what they could to help any way they could! We did have to cancel our Saturday evening concert but with encourage words from many we felt very strongly that God wanted us to go on to our two services for Sunday. We were able to rent a vehicle one way after several hours and then a 11 hour drive to Eastern Kentucky, we did make the dates.
While we are so thankful and extremely grateful that we made it out of this very scary situation, we now start the process of seeing what is salvageable if anything! The insurance claims, the ruined product, the damaged sound system and then to find another means of transportation so we can continue to press on in the ministry with what we KNOW AND BELIEVE God has entrusted us with. We simply ask that you keep Beyond the Ashes in your prayers and thoughts. Again, thank you…thank you… all for the tremendous love, care, concern, encouragement and support that you have shown and are still showing to us! We love you! We cannot do this without you!”