GOOD NEWS: Community turns tragedy into opportunity

VIDEO: GOOD NEWS: Community turns tragedy into opportunity

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Sometimes events that seem to end tragically actually serve as the beginning of new and amazing stories.

A group of young men are in Amarillo to learn the trait of building construction, but they’ve landed here from South Africa in what has been a very unexpected and amazing sequence of events.

The story begins with Mallory, a local college student who while on a global mission trip, met Rebecca, a young lady from Wichita who became one of her close friends.

“I met her back on the mission trip. We got paired up as teams. I lived with seven girls the whole nine months, and she was one of them, so I got to do ministry with her and live with her, and we became very close too,” said Mallory Stater. “We did everything. We worked at schools, we did outreach to homeless people, we did nursing home, we worked the churches and did youth groups, we worked with gypsy communities.”

Meanwhile, her new friend Rebecca met and fell in love with a South African man named Austin. The two were married shortly thereafter.

Tragically, just the day after their wedding, Rebecca and Austin were killed in a car wreck.

“She loved missions, she loved being a vigil to people and making relations of people,” said Mallory Stater. “She really had a heart for the Lord and just doing everything she could to serve him.”

The marriage and untimely death of a young couple called Rebecca and Austin," said Nickie Van Der Bergh, who is a global missionary. “They met each other on such a journey we facilitate. Our organization is called Global Challenge.”

The story doesn’t end with a fatal wreck. Instead, it’s expanded as families involved in that mission trip came together.

Austin’s family from South Africa traveled to Amarillo.

“A few days after the funeral, we received a call from Rebecca’s parents asking if we would host them for a few days,” said local builder Brice Stater. “Through that we met the family of the boy and became friends instantly.”

Brice was asked by Global Challenge to travel to South Africa and assist in building projects for the mission.

“And she wanted me to come and work on a cabin, and she wouldn’t take no for an answer, and so we ended up going to Jeffrey’s Bay and had the opportunity to work on this log cabin,” said Stater.

It became clear that the mission in South Africa would need builders of its own. That’s where the young men now answered the call.

“And I’ve come here to Amarillo, Texas to learn more about not only construction, but also about ministry,” said Van Der Bergh. “As soon as I leave Amarillo and go back to South Africa, I’ll hit the ground running and start building another two log houses that will be used as classrooms.”

“For now, I’m hoping to help on the building sites with the experience that I’ve built up here,” said Johan Bruwer.

“I think their story’s still going,” said Mallory Stater. “They both impacted so many people around the world with their travels and missions, and so I think individually they’ve impacted so many people, and those people are still telling their story, and it’s just getting bigger and bigger.”

This story could only have been negative with the car wreck, but so much good news has been generated by the new beginnings that will spell the couples’ love.

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