One of the main goals of a Crisis Response site is to restore the body (the local church) so that it can be a beacon of hope and help to its community. It has been our privilege to watch God do this in Paradise. When the Camp Fire occurred in Nov 2018, 70 of the 72 church families from Paradise EFC lost their houses and scattered. Our team arrived on site in March 2021 to a very small congregation, less than 30 people. The church made the hard decision to replant the church in the existing building, which miraculously survived the fire. Over the last year and a half God has grown the church to over 150 weekly attenders. Praise the Lord! This is a healthy church body now ready to share the love of Christ with its neighbors.
Our staff helped to initiate a couple men's Bible studies; one now meets on Wednesdays and one meets on Tuesday mornings. These now include about 25 men from the church. It is an act of God to have so many people involved in Bible study, and to see discipleship happening consistently. We are praying that these groups will continue to grow and influence the church and the larger community for the Kingdom of God.
Last year the church struggled to organize enough help to pull VBS together, so a team of volunteers came up from out of town to help with decorating the church for the week. This year the church rallied together with encouragement and support from our staff to host VBS by themselves - about 30 people from the church helped with preparations!
In the last couple of years, the town has also begun rebuilding and recovering from the fire. Our team, along with countless volunteer teams, has assisted many homeowners who didn't have all they needed to rebuild on their own. Working side by side with them has given us a chance to build strong relationships and to share the hope that we have in Christ. We have also blanketed their neighborhoods with thousands of prayers by teams as they prayer walked each day on the job.
Our most recent youth team of volunteers went to a local party in the park, and offered to pray with some local families. They also invited them to a community dinner hosted by Paradise EFC, and the next night five new people showed up. These community dinners have been a great way to foster connections between neighbors and get the church name out into the community.
Now we are looking ahead with thanksgiving to a time of completion of this response. We will officially host the End of Paradise Celebration on September 22, 2023. Please pray for our team to finish well and for continued growth and restoration at Paradise EFC.
Send a Response
Share your thoughts with the author.