The destruction of the town of Paradise, Calif., and the surrounding areas in Butte County have left us all reeling with incredulity and sadness. There have been multiple deaths from the fires, and the loss of homes, businesses, and property has not yet been fully calculated.
The Adventist Church in Paradise, Calif. has been completely destroyed, along with significant damage to our school as well. While some of the buildings that are part of the Feather River Hospital suffered serious damage, we are thankful that many are still standing and appear to be unharmed. Many of our members and church employees (including retirees) have lost their homes. The extent of these losses is still uncertain.
Our members are working closely with local organizations and have pulled together to face this crisis. The Paradise Church members who have lost their sanctuary will be worshiping with nearby congregations while the pastors and members have reached out to help meet the extraordinary needs created by this disaster.
There are a number of ways in which we can each help with the response to this disaster and several links are included with this message.
Deuteronomy 31:8 says, "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (NIV). When every aspect of our lives is challenged, and when the losses are so severe, we may still trust in the presence of God to be with us and to never forsake us. May this be our prayer for Paradise.
Donations to the Northern California Conference Disaster Response Fund may be made at https://nccsda.com.
Make a financial donation to assist in Adventist Health’s ongoing response by going to adventisthealth.org/giving and contributing to the Fire Assistance Fund.
Vice President for Communication, Central California Conference