California's Carr fire is now the seventh-most destructive fire in state history. The fire has consumed 103,772 acres, scorching an area bigger than the size of Denver. The flames devoured 1132 structures, damaged 209 and threatens 4,046. Only 23 percent of the fire is contained. At least six people have died, while 19 are missing. We know that churches have deployed resources and volunteers. Now, here are the stories of those in the line of fire.
I arrived to Redding last week for respite, but God had other plans for me. I thrive in emergency situations and love to bring order to chaos. On Thursday, my neighborhood was mandated to evacuate. I grabbed my essentials, just a suitcase and a backpack and left. Fortunately, I have friends who live 15 miles outside the city limits, and they were kind and gracious to let me stay with them. I spend the night there but am compelled to go back into the city every day. I helped one of the city shelters get established and am now volunteering at a local church that has become the one of major distribution centers for the city. What I have seen is an incredible and overwhelming outpouring of donations and willingness to volunteer from people in the community who did not evacuate. It's been absolutely beautiful and incredible to watch. People who have lost everything are coming to help...
I personally am filled with a supernatural hope, peace and excitement, because this crisis is bringing unity among the community. I'm seeing those whose homes were spared grieving with those who have suffered loss, and vice versa. There is no emotional separation, if that makes sense.
The hope I'm clinging to during this time is that God is in the business of restoration. He makes all things new and better than before. It's who He is; it would be against His nature to leave things stagnant, unrestored and hopeless.
We are regular attenders at Bethel. We attend their smaller campus called Twin View.
The fires affected me in a number of ways. Our family was not evacuated, but we chose to leave because spotty fires were popping up around us, and the street across the highway from us was evacuated. We didn't know what the winds were going to do, so we left as a precaution. It's been devastating knowing friends have lost their homes, seeing people in Costco crying and buying supplies/furniture to fill a home, hearing miracle stories and hearing stories of loss. Everywhere I go, the fire affects me because I see and hear what has happened to people in my community. It's just heartbreaking.
For a brief moment, I wondered if our prayers could actually make a difference with something so powerful as this fire. Then I remembered the story of Jesus calming the wind and the waves in Luke 8 and saying to his disciples, "Where is your faith?" This helped my faith increase as I prayed for the fire to stop, houses to be spared and lives to be protected. And now, hearing the many miracle stories that are emerging is just amazing!! Properties being burned all the way up to the houses, but the houses not being touched, people running for their lives and finding safety, animals who were lost being reunited with family. Our prayers make such a difference! And this has dramatically increased my faith!
The response has been unbelievable! People from cities hours away coming to help, bringing supplies, machinery, food, clothing. Restaurants feeding firefighters, evacuees and victims for free. People offering their Airbnbs for people to stay in for free, some for indefinite time. Organizations offering free childcare for parents to go out without kids. People mobilizing volunteers for distribution centers, clean-up crews, helping firefighters do their laundry. People opening up their properties to take in other peoples' animals. People also opening up their homes to take in strangers who were evacuated. The love and support from people near and far has been like nothing I've ever seen. This community opened up their arms to help their neighbors and it's been heartwarming, to the point of tears. I love my community and am so grateful for every person.
We took in a family of six and a single woman who had all been evacuated until we decided to leave our house. I'm also signed up to help do some firefighters' laundry. Tonight, another single lady will move in for a few days. We think her house is still standing but aren't completely sure. However, her street is closed and might be for a couple weeks. I'm sure as the days go, there will be more that will need to be done. Our family will help however we can.
Right now, I think our community is covering the immediate needs pretty well. On Bethel's website they provide information for different ways to give and different organizations people could donate to. I believe that as time goes on, more needs will unfold especially when it's time to clean up or build.
Jesus is my hope right now. With Him, we will rebuild this land. Also, Shawn Bolz gave an amazing prophetic word that I think is an encouragement to many people right now. "Almost every time a whole region gets hit by something natural, man-made or enemy-initiated, the glory of God follows shortly after in unprecedented ways." I'm looking forward to the glory!
I'm a regular attendee at Bethel Church. I am currently evacuated from my area since Thursday. I know that my house is still standing but unsure about the condition of the home. They're not letting anyone down the main road that goes to my house because the power is still out and there could be down power lines and I know that a few transformers blew. I've been staying with a relative since being evacuated. I wasn't able to work for about two days, but I'm going back today.
I've heard of so many people who have lost their homes, and my heart breaks for them. The Redding community is so amazing! So many people are rising up and putting their efforts in wherever they can lend a hand. As I drive around town, I see people setting up areas for evacuees and first responders for free food and aid! There have been some restaurants and coffee shops giving meals and coffee free to first responders and evacuees. It warms my heart to see the love the people of Redding have for each other!
The community still needs prayer! They also need practical things as well. If you follow Bethel on any social media platform, they have information on how you can help!
I'm clinging to hope! I know that God is in the midst of all this, and I'm praying for peace and comfort in this difficult time, as well as rain. Summer time is not Redding's rainy season. It's sunshine and triple-digit heat all day every day, so we need a miracle, but won't He do it!
Other people shared their own experiences on social media.
Guy Fieri drove up the the Carr Fire zone in Shasta County to feed hundreds of people forced from their homes. "It is unbelievable to see what folks are going through, but also how great this community is," said Fieri. "It is great to see how all these folks have come together with the Salvation Army. We are in tough times in the world, with all the things going on, and boy, you take a moment like this, and you really see what America's made of, a lot of great people coming together." #guyfieri #carrfire #california #wildfire #fire #abc7news
#Repost @fireman_323 Made by @Image.Downloader · · · Thank You Gracie Its been a long, tough week at the Carr Fire. It is a boost of energy to see such a cute face helping us out. You'd be shocked how much little things like this, helps us.. You might not remember this, but I promise you, we will... @fireman_323 #fireman_323 @calfire ▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️ Video from @abc7la ⬅️ ・・・ Little Gracie handed out burritos and smiles to firefighters battling the deadly Carr Fire in Northern California. . . . . #carrfire #grace #thankyou #firefighters #brushfire #fire #fireservice #help #video #vid #videooftheday #instagood #instadaily #news #instagram #fireseason #firefighters #memory #california #bomberos #ca #helping #thereishope
I watched the sun go down through the smoke that's blanketing our city of Sacramento. While my friends that lost everything in the #tubbsfire are slowly rebuilding, I can't imagine how they must feel watching this #carrfire , knowing now what it takes to pick yourself up from that devastation. My ♥️ hurts for our beautiful state. To all victims of the fires, past and present, my thoughts are with you. And so much love and thanks to the firefighters. #calfire #calfirefirefighters #reddingcalifornia #santarosastrong #sacramento #midtownsacramento
"For several days we've heard and seen the voice of the devourer, but we're about to hear the voice of the restorer." [email protected] | Up from the ashes, hope will arise — Helpful info below! • For those who have been affected by the #CarrFire — @bethel has become an official Distribution Hub from 9am-7pm daily to give out resources for the community. • Below is what's being offered: -Household & Cleaning Supplies -Baby Food, Diapers/Wipes -Personal Hygiene Toiletries -Water Bottles / Gatorade -Non-Perishable Food Items -Children's Clothing -Cooling Center -Emotional & Spiritual Care -Meals provided by Mercy Chefs starting Tuesday • If you would like to volunteer, donate or learn more about relief efforts visit: www.bethel.com/carrfire • #bethelredding #wewillrisefromtheashes #ilovethechurch #thisisredding
If you want to help those affected by the fires, you can give through Charisma's non-profit partner Christian Life Missions. One hundred percent of your donation will go to those affected. We have already sent $5000 to Bill Johnson and Bethel Church since they know where the needs are. Send a check to Fire Disaster Fund, Christian Life Missions, 600 Rinehart Rd. Lake Mary, Florida 32746. Or give through PayPal at christianlifemissions.org. or call 407-333-0600 during business hours to give by phone.
Jessilyn Justice @jessilynjustice is the director of online news for Charisma.
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