The current tragedy termed the Carr Fire playing out on the news and social media started innocuously enough. It all began on July 23rd on a road near Redding, California when a trailer tire failed, causing the rim to scrape against the asphalt. This little spark ignited what is now deemed the sixth most destructive wildfire in state history.
The most recent death count associated with the Carr Fire currently stands at eight. The death toll has included four Redding residents, one Pacific Gas & Electric utility worker, one bulldozer operator and two Redding firefighters. In addition, some 177,000 acres of beautiful northern California have met their demise in fiery ruin as the Carr Fire spread quickly throughout the region. More than 1,000 homes, 22 commercial structures and 500 outbuildings have also been destroyed according to officials in the area. President Donald Trump has declared California as a disaster area due to the sheer expanse of the Carr Fire and the immense need for help as far as containment and evacuations.
Bethel Church, a mega church which several thousand members, recently announced a practical way in which their congregation is going to give back to the Carr Fire victims. They plan to donate $1,000 to each and every family whose primary home was destroyed in the Carr Fire. Even with the resources this church enjoys, committing to giving that amount of money to each family is a move that will require a “God-sized step of faith.”
“We are incredibly blessed as a church by people all around the world praying for us, donating and supporting our community here in Redding,” the church said in a statement. “The generosity of gifts coming towards us is both humbling and much needed. Christians around the world are coming together and supporting a cause that is bigger than any one individual alone can carry.”
“When we first made the decision to give a financial gift to the people in our city who had lost their home, the numbers being reported were 150-200 homes,” the church continued. “Within just three days, that number had climbed to over 1,000 homes, and the amount we had expected to raise and give went from $200,000 to over $1,000,000 dollars.”
Though church representatives claimed that the original plan of giving $200,000 “was a challenge” it was “doable in our own strength and resources.” However, the $1,000,000 changes things. The church further added, “$1,000,000 is a God-sized step of faith. We are believing Him for it, and are now in the process of reaching out to our friends around the globe to be the hands of Christ to our city in this moment. We are determined to honor this commitment, whether the generosity comes from gifts from the global community or from our own church finances.”
Bethel is currently serving as a Salvation Army aid distribution site. In addition, the Bethel Global Response, an outreach of Bethel church, has deployed “Ash Out” teams, which helps residents shift through any remaining valuables in their burned out homes. Ash Out teams are made up of hundreds of volunteers.
“We cannot begin to describe the feeling of helping someone who lost their home find something that they thought was gone forever. This is part of what it means to live like Jesus—to link hands together as we move forward,” the church wrote in a Facebook post.
The whole Redding community has come together to help the victims of the Carr Fire, not just the believers within the Bethel congregation. They all serve as a standard for how believers should act when facing such circumstances. When bad things like the Carr Fire happens, it is then that believers are able to be the hands and feet of Christ and feed those who are hungry, house those who are without shelter and love those who have experienced agony and loss.
~ 1776 Christian