When Crisis Hits Home
A terrifying morning becomes a ministry opportunity
Dan and Kristi Holman and their three children have been serving as staff with ReachGlobal Crisis Response since Hurricane Harvey in 2017. While still living and working in Texas, Dan was one of the first staff to visit after the fire destroyed most of the town of Paradise. He stayed in contact with our partner church, Paradise EFC, for several years before helping to launch the official response site in 2021. Two years later the Holman family lives full-time in Paradise, California as the leaders of our Camp Wildfire Response.
Because of the number of families who moved away after the fire, Paradise EFC, untouched by the flames, dwindled to only about thirty people at one point. A decision was made to replant the church in the existing building, and God has multiplied the congregation more to than a hundred since then. Even more amazing, many of the people who attend today were not a part of the church before the fire. But like every good work, it has not been without challenges and setbacks along the way.
This winter Paradise saw large numbers of trees starting to fall despite all the logging that had gone in in the years immediately after the Camp Fire. A combination of heavy rains, high winds, roots stunted by the fire, and a beetle that invades trees after wildfires all worked together to cause damage and inflict fear on a town still recovering from the trauma of the fire. Several of the homeowners we have served had trees come down on their homes in early January. Our staff and the local church rallied to help them move and store their belongs in a safe dry location. We also had a tree fall and hit the ministry's skid loader parked at the church, but damage was not too severe.
And then at the end of January, while Dan was away in North Carolina at the Florence Response Celebration weekend, a tree fell on the Holman's camper, where Kristi and the kids were still in bed. The tree fell on the front half of the camper, the master bedroom where Kristi and her daughter were laying in bed. Miraculously, Kristi and her daughter ended up outside the camper with no injuries. She quickly ran back to check in the boys in the back half of the camper, and they were unharmed as well. Praise God for his divine protection of this family
Our Crisis Response team and some of the neighbors and local church members instantly went into action to help the Holmans collect as much of their belongings as possible. ReachGlobal Crisis Response believes a lot in the ministry of presence - just being there with someone as they process and respond to a crisis can be a powerful gift. We praise God that the same community that Dan and Kristi have been investing in was able to offer them this gift as they went through their own crisis. Over the following days and weeks the church, the neighbors and our staff brought them meals, helped them move and sort all their belongings, prayed with the family and offered support in a dozen small ways. Dan shared that he was also able to have some spiritual conversations with some of the neighbors and church members in the midst of this.
The Holmans were already working on a home to move into from their camper, and they were able to find temporary housing in the area. Please keep the Holman family and our Paradise Response site in your prayers as they process this crisis and heal. Pray for more gospel conversations as Dan and Kristi continue to see God's provision at work. Almost half the site staff have moved to a new response in just the last couple weeks, and Paradise will continue to host teams with a smaller staff through the summer. There has been a lot of transition in a short time. Please also pray for Paradise EFC as they continue to reach out to the growing community and share the love of Christ.
If your church would like to be equipped to respond in love to a crisis in your community, consider how Crisis Response's Prepare or Trauma Care trainings might help you. We can help you plan for the most likely crises to affect your community, and equip you with tools for having healing conversations.
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