The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

June 5, 2006

Family keeps faith despite struggles

By CHERIL VERNON, H-P Community Editor

Palestine — Sometimes in life we forget to take time to see the everyday miracles in our faith, friends and family.

For one local family, the last few months have been a testament to their faith.

Elkhart residents Mandy and Billy Beamer and their three children (Garrett, 7, Justin, 5, Cody, 3) were starting the American dream — buying their first home this February.

That dream turned into a nightmare. The older home they bought ended up having 75 percent termite damage that they were unaware of when they purchased the home.

“That very first weekend my husband fell through the back bedroom floor and tried to break his fall by catching on to the outside wall of the house, only to find the outside was not sturdy,” Mandy Beamer said.

The couple fixed the problem and went on with their lives, expecting to have to do some repairs to the home.

“A week later my husband barely bumped a door facing between our kitchen and laundry room and the whole door, wall and ceiling, started to fall. My husband and I sat down in the floor in our new dining room and cried. We had spent every last dollar we had trying to get the house ready only to find out that the damage was very extensive and going to be very expensive,” Mandy Beamer said.

According to the termite inspection company, there were no new termites, but the house was over 70 percent demolished due to previous termite damage, Beamer said.

Unfortunately, that was only the beginning of the Beamer family’s troubles.

On April 14, Billy Beamer went to his local doctor for a checkup on a lump he found. The doctor did a sonogram and said he would have to refer him to a surgeon. The next week, he went in for a biopsy. The surgeon’s office called later to tell the couple that Billy had a form of lymphoma. An appointment was set up at Palestine Cancer Center.

“My heart broke into a million pieces. After all we had struggled through the last couple of months, this was devastating. My husband had cancer at 38 years old,” Mandy Beamer said.

The news got worse when the doctor said Billy had stage III, possibly stage IV non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. They would have to run tests to determine exactly what kind of treatment he would need, but they were definitely looking at chemotherapy, Mandy Beamer said.

“The next few days were filled with calls and tears. Billy had a bone marrow biopsy on April 25 and that evening I spent crying. I cried through church, I cried most of the night. It seemed like the whole world was falling in on our heads,” Mandy Beamer said. “I could not understand why everything was going so wrong. I prayed that night for a long time and asked Jesus to help us; he knew our needs.”

The Sunday before the biopsy, the Beamer’s church family met without them in order to discuss helping the family with their home.

“Our church family at Walston Springs Baptist Church in Palestine consists of the most wonderful and thoughtful Christian people on earth. Every time we need them they are always there; Many of the ladies have offered to keep our boys whenever we need them. The men have offered to come and help us with the house and several have brought us food,” Mandy Beamer said.

The day after Billy’s bone marrow biopsy, two of the supervisors from his work, Palestine Concrete & Tile, came by the Beamer house and asked what they could do to help. They said they would bring a crew by on Saturday.

“We were so thankful for all the calls and prayers, but this was truly a gift of love. We really did not know what to expect and nothing could prepare us for what the next day would hold,” Mandy Beamer said. “The men arrived around nine Saturday morning with a crew, dump trucks and tools and started tearing down the walls. There were 12 men working. They tore down everything and then went to Lowe’s and bought a trailer full of building materials. The men worked all day,” she said.

The company dispatcher made hamburgers for the workers and the family.

“The men would not let us help, they just came in and did it all. We just kept saying thank you over and over,” Mandy Beamer said.

Since then the company has donated a sink and faucet. Gifts from others have included groceries, gift cards to building supply stores and more.

“I cannot tell of the impact all of the outpouring of love has had on our family. So many people have stopped by and called and offered help anyway they could. Jesus tells us we are to have faith and love for one another. I know He is great. He has blessed our family with so many caring friends,” Mandy Beamer said. “Billy is on so many prayer lists in different churches. People we don’t even know are praying for his recovery. Jesus stll performs miracles everyday, and there are still wonderful people in this world that are willing to help when their friends and family are in need. There is nothing else we can say to these people but thank you from the bottom of our hearts and may God bless you.”

In the past few months, the family has continued to receive support in various ways.

“We have a plumber coming in next week that is donating his time to work on our plumbing. Collin’s Equipment donated us the use of a miniature back hoe in order to replace our sewer line,” Mandy Beamer said.

A neighbor mowed part of their property for them, and the list goes on. Many donors want to remain anonymous. An account has been set up at First National Bank in Crockett to help them with their bills.

Blly Beamer is still undergoing chemotherapy.

“If the chemo is helping, we will continue with chemo. If not they will do something else, a more aggressive treatment from what I understand,” Mandy Beamer said.

Meanwhile, the couple is continuing to repair the home, replacing the flooring and bracing some of the walls, with almost every room needing something replaced — sheetrock, wiring, etc. The whole house will have to be leveled, they say.

Regardless of what happens, the Beamer family is still holding on to their faith and thankful for the blessings they have.