By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Reuters reported June 29 authorities have found a body in the debris of a burned-out home in Colorado Springs, marking the second fatality from a fierce wildfire that ranks as Colorado’s most destructive on record after incinerating 347 homes, police said.
“Police Chief Peter Carey released no further details about the victim, who becomes the sixth person killed this year in a Colorado wildfire season described by the governor as the worst in the state’s history. The discovery came on the same day that President Barack Obama visited the affected area,” said the Reuters story.
Meanwhile, ANS correspondent, Kenneth D. MacHarg, has forwarded a message to us about a missionary couple, Brad and Jeannette Hillman, who have lost their home in the Colorado Springs fire, after just returning to the United States to work with the Navigators.
A friend of the couple wrote, “I just talked with Brad and Jeanette and they’re sad to have lost all the family memorabilia. They had just moved in three weeks ago and started unpacking their stored boxes, including family photos. The stuff from [overseas] had not yet arrived. They ask for prayer to grieve well and for opportunities to minister amidst of this. Several ‘Nav’ staff [have also] lost homes, including the president.”
According to the Navigators website, “Dozens of Navigator staff have been evacuated from their homes and some have had their homes consumed by the fire. Please pray for them to know God’s loving care.”
The statement went on to say, “In the midst of this tragedy, there is hopeful news about Glen Eyrie [their property]. Initial reports indicate that no buildings have been lost. We will update you with official word as it becomes available. The unpredictability of this fire reminds us that we are not out of danger, only that we’ve made it through one more day.
“All Glen Eyrie conferences and activities have been cancelled through July 5. Please check the Glen Eyrie website for updates on future events. All Navigator personnel, including staff, guests, and participants in the Global Student Program (GSP) were safely evacuated from the area long before the fire approached. The GSP students are being housed in private homes.
“We have not heard any more news about the Eagle Lake Camps property, other than the loss of one small cabin. However, all remaining camps have been cancelled and the summer staff has returned home. It is hoped that Eagle Lake Day Camp will resume, based on the availability of Glen Eyrie.”
It added, “A group of about 40 staff from USHQ, IO, Glen Eyrie, and Eagle Lake Camps, have taken up temporary offices at Focus on the Family. Scores more staff members are working from home, conducting business with amazing effectiveness.
“Your prayers mean a great deal to us. Thank you for your concern. Continue to remember the Colorado Springs community, as more than 30,000 people have been displaced.”
Rick Wood, editor of Mission Frontiers, and his wife, Lorena, have updated the situation and asked for prayer for the many thousands affected by the wildfires. In a message to friends, he said, “The official count right now is that 346 homes were lost and one person has been found dead in one of those homes. This is the first casualty of the fire. This is officially the most destructive fire in Colorado history.
“The city as a whole is beginning to return to more normal operation and the TV stations are not covering this event 24 hours day as they had been on Tuesday, thru Thursday.
“Continue to pray for soaking rain and calm winds. The calm winds, which I asked you to pray for a couple days ago, have made a huge difference in the progress the firefighters have made.”
Among the many groups helping with the situation, is Springs Rescue Mission, located at 5 W Las Vegas St., Colorado Springs. It has been is opening its warehouse to help the victims. Needed items include Gatorade, blankets, food, clothing and household items. Collection hours are 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9-11:30 a.m. Saturday. Donated items will be dispersed to agencies directly engaged with those affected by the Waldo Canyon fire. Call 719-632-1822.