Updated: September 2, 2013 at 6:59 am
The dirty zip-close bag found buried beneath the rubble of Janet Mustian's burned house provided a glimmer of hope amid the heartache.
Inside the plastic bag was a red-zippered Bible given to Mustian by her parents when she was a child.
After her house was destroyed in the Black Forest fire in June, Mustian asked an excavating crew to keep an eye out for the Bible, but she didn't expect to ever lay eyes on it again.
But sure enough, the tattered book - the top right-hand corner nearly gone and the Old Testament the only readable part - revealed itself under some dirt Aug. 13.
"They found it while I was out there," Mustian said. "It was pretty emotional. I guess I didn't realize how much it meant to me until we found it."
Mustian cried when one of the workers handed it to her, and she had to leave the site.
Mustian and her husband had buried the Bible before the foundation was poured for their house in 2004.
"My husband felt like since we were building - we'd never built a house before - I just want to bury the Bible so that when we move in, we'll know we're building the house on rock - the rock being Jesus Christ," Mustian said.
The couple wrote Scriptures on an envelope that they placed in the bag with the Bible. After praying, they buried it underneath what would be the kitchen because that is the "heart of the home."
The Mustians were renting out their home when the fire hit, so they did not lose any of their possessions. Because of financial circumstances, they had to move elsewhere, and they were saddened to leave Black Forest behind.
"The house was really important to us when we built it, and we were sad to leave it," Mustian said. "We were planning on retiring there."
Mustian and her husband plan to rebuild on the same site in Black Forest and move in. The Bible will be preserved and placed in a shadow box in their new home.
She said she hopes others will see the recovery of her Bible as something positive among all of the woes brought on by the fire.
And under her new house will be a new buried Bible.
"Hopefully, I won't see the next Bible again," Mustian said, laughing.