Glimpse of a Fire Mission
The pictures and video of the recent wildfires are wrenching, but last night it was a verbal description that moved me deeply. This is day two of the three-day IFCA pastors conference Evergreen is hosting and we have about 50 colleagues in ministry from around the Pacific Northwest.
Nate Shinn and his wife Muriel live in Phoenix, Oregon and serve at Ashland Bible Church. On September 8th a fire started on the north side of Ashland and within 24 hours had destroyed most of the town they live in, including the homes of many in their congregation. Last night he shared for just a few minutes on what it has been like to shepherd the church and minister to the community in the wake of this disaster. He had to work hard to manage his emotions, which enabled us to see the reality even more clearly.
This glimpse of ministry in the midst of devastation magnifies my joy at the generous response of our church to gather gift cards for the victims of these wildfires. Collectively, we collected over $6,000 worth of cards and delivered them to Gates Community Church, which has become a ministry center following the Beachie Creek inferno. These gifts will be handed out to people in need in the name of Jesus Christ.
When we heard about the need at Ashland Bible Church and the town of Phoenix, Oregon, the Leadership Team agreed to spread the love around and send any remaining contributions to help meet this need. It was a privilege to give Pastor Nate nearly $800 in cards and cash, and we anticipate being able to help more.
The wildfires have been indescribably devastating for countless people and communities. But Nate has found that the doorways to gospel ministry, which are typically shut tight, have now been pulled wide open. Bless you for your generosity and may God bring marvelous beauty out of the ashes.