Monday, January 14, 2019
We spent three and a half days working with the Samaritans Purse, a faith based international disaster relief organization. Excerpts from Samaratins’ Purse Website- “Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.” Bob Pierce wrote these now-famous words in his Bible after visiting suffering children on the Korean island of Koje-do. This impassioned prayer is what guided him as he founded and led the ministry of Samaritan’s Purse in 1970. He passed in 1978, the baton passed to his protege Franklin Graham who has led the organization ever since. Through over 40 years of earthquakes, hurricanes, wars, and famine, Franklin has led the ministry in following the Biblical example of the Good Samaritan all across the globe.
It was heartbreaking seeing all the carnage in Paradise and neighboring Magalia, the origin of the fire, where electrical power lines were brought down by high winds. Listening to local folks tell their story of escape as fire literally licked at their heels, the heartbreak of their loss as we sift through a thick, wet slurry of ashes, drywall, and whatever is left of the contents of their home. Some folks were devastated and wished that they hadn’t survived the fire. Others were eager to rebuild and were making plans to do so. All were grateful to Samaritan’s Purse for its support.
Too much can be said about our experience here. I’ll let the images do most of the talking.
As of this writing not all of the folks who lost their life in the Camp Fire have been identified. Authorities feel that some had just been passing through or were possibly homeless whose DNA doesn’t match any of the residents’.
Our group leader Palmer (that’s his first name) said that this is his sixth disaster deployment in a year. He’s seen damage from floods and hurricanes. He said most of those folks have something to come back to. Although damaged, their homes can almost immediately begun to be rehabilitated. Not so with fire- nothing is left.
He told us at the beginning of our deployment that our real purpose is not to find whatever valuables may be left by the fire. Our real purpose is to show support, spiritual support for those thousands of people who lost everything- their homes, their possessions and their hope. God Bless them all.