We recently heard from Chad Fransen on the Camp Fire relief efforts. Here is what he had to say!
Thank you for all of your work helping us. We feel very supported. I know that we shouldn't take that lightly.
We had a very good, but strange Christmas. Luke and I were up in Paradise for a special Christmas Eve Service,(3 actually) which was a special time to hear the message of our Savior's birth and to begin the steps of restoration to a town that was so devastated.
Luke and I made a video to help you. It is not great sound quality but it will work for now. Here it is:
As for support, I have to say that Luke is further along than I am. I have been getting money sent to Orchard but it is not specified for my salary or for survivors (some of it is, but some not). I have an elder meeting this afternoon, so I will discuss with them further on how we should spend that money appropriately. I also haven't made progress on other channels that I have been looking.
Our first step was the emergency process. Luke and I helped open up two locations of churches that are up in the outskirts of Paradise for those re-entering. Every time that I am there, I am able to be in conversations with people who are overwhelmed, many times in tears. The need for listening has been a critical component of that. One gentleman was sharing with me in tears how he was grieving from the loss of his partner in September who died in his house and now was going through this. The words, "I was already at rock bottom," still echo in my ears. His tears were flowing uncomfortably as he shared his pain with me.
We don't know how long that need will be for the re-entry centers. We believe that we will be keeping them open until the summer but they will morph into something a little different. Only a few businesses have re-opened and there really isn't any customers anywhere close, but some people might be starting to camp there.
We have layed the foundation for a foster a family program. This is going to be housed at a non-profit building ministry in Paradise (very God-ordained). We will get more details to you about that.
Lastly, I am so grateful for our youth pastor, Dana's parents who were gifted an RV fifth wheel from a bay area family through our nextgen family. They are so grateful.
Most of our camping equipment for our WIlderness Experience program was burned up in the fire because it was either at Dana's house or her parents. We will try to get a list of what stuff was burned in order to begin that recovery process.
Luke is in Mexico right now and I head to Mexico this Sunday for a week.
Thanks for all of your help.