Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Hail, Fire, and Brimstone

That's what someone just announced (jokingly) over the radio. In the last hour, the prospect of rain was exciting- until we found out that the National Weather Service issued a warning for golf ball sized hail this afternoon! And said for those in the area to take cover- not an easy thing to do when you're fighting a wildfire! Rain is welcome, lightning and hail are not! It turns out the BLM is coming back, though, with new equipment and crews- whew. Sometime today I'll try to catch you up on what's going on out here but it'll likely be after little ones are in bed (Yes, Lucy let me borrow her blog to update you all!) In short... there is a fire, a pretty big one, on our property and our fire team has been doing an amazing job to keep it under control. Long before their own energy gave out, the Lord's been holding them up with his righteous right hand (me and Abby Brown have been talking alot about that amazing hand lately on the way to VBS)- we are safe, buildings are safe at this time, and that's the important news for now. Please pray with us over the entire situation... especially for those exhausted men out there. Check back tonight for more info.

More Info:
B came home last night and actually slept. He had to go into the office this morning to prepare for summer staffers and work crew arriving today. That's the good news... camp is still on for this week as of now. There's alot of smoke,and the guys are still out there now (B included... he headed out straight from office) but we'll welcome week 7 of campers tomorrow... close to 700 middleschoolers! So, that should indicate that they've got the fire under control (that's my hope at least). I don't know how they predict these things, but the "pro" firefighters that came in estimated it to continue burning for another 4 days... but it seems the intensity has died down for now. B tells me that the thing about fires out here is that they're low to the ground- until they hit a juniper, at least. We don't have a lot of trees but the dry brush all around in combination with early evening winds just make the flames spread like crazy. The fire started two days ago and was noticed by a volunteer on her way out of camp. By 11ish we were heading to the pool to meet B for lunch but he ended up rushing off on what we all thought was an adventure at the time. (it's wildfire season...real life practice for the fire squad which consists of a good portion of the men who work at the Ranch) Whenever there's a fire call here the guys get this little twinkle in their eye. They act all serious and in "go mode" but I can just hear B inside his head squealing like a school girl. He loves this kind of thing... and he's good at it. He hadn't come home, though, that night and I kept hearing bits and pieces of what was going on, but the real shocker was after I'd put the kids to bed (well, Lucy kept waking up asking if our neighbor, Mr. Brown, was cooking hamburgers- thanks to the smoke). I got a phone call from Shirley at the main office saying to go ahead and pack a bag and be prepared to grab the kids as soon as I got the next call, the flames were quickly approaching main camp, and our homes. If the flames jumped across the main road it would be bad. I think I'd always kind of wondered about those folks you see on the news who's homes get devastated by wildfires... and I remember having thought before that if I were in their shoes... and I knew something like that was on it's way, I'd start packing like mad and cram everything I could into my car or a big truck. But when I got the call, I just started turning around in circles... looking around to see if I could narrow down what to take- and the funny thing was that I realized none of it seemed to matter at that moment, it was just stuff. I had to stop and say "ok Lord... I hadn't imagined this being a part of my life story but I wonder what you have for us from here." There was a weird peace but a longing for B to be here. When I get nervous, I clean. I held myself back though considering the circumstances and prayed instead. Thank you to those of you who were praying with me and who still are. I was scared... but not. Just a really new feeling (you'd think there wouldn't be many new ones @ 30). "Do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10. B got home around 1:30 am- they had to start taking sleep shifts. By this time they had stopped the flames from crossing the road (for the first time at least) and danger did not seem as imminent. We slept a little. Each day since has been so strange... we keep living life as normal b/c that's all we can do... B keeps heading back out exhausted but yet renewed (enough), everyone around here is praying unceasingly and praying together when we can (glad the flu's a thing of the past!) On that note though... we have been closed for two weeks b/c of the flu (swine)... we thought we would be able to reopen this past week but b/c of just a few later developing cases of the flu among staff... and no real predetermined standards within the state health department, they recquired us to remained closed. We were all kind of wondering what was going on here... thinking maybe one day far down the road we see the good in it all, what the Lord would do with all this... but isn't it interesting that no campers were here for the start of the fire. (They have never in the history of the camp cancelled an entire week of summer camping!) B/c we were closed that takes 8 or 9 hundred extra people out of the equation... the fire was spotted quickly...all staffers were able to respond quickly and focus all their attention on fighting it. I could go on and on about what a difference that had to have made. With campers here, the story I'm sharing tonight would have likely been alot different. I wish I could say we're in the clear- but the wind keeps me from saying that. As long as there's still a spark those guys will be hard at work. Please pray for what that will look like with campers coming tomorrow... That wise decisions will be made, that the flames would die, that everyone would have rest, that Christ would reveal himself here in ways we couldn't imagine. Satan would love to see this place gone, I have a feeling. God knows the bigger picture. He is with us, He is powerful. And that's where I have to land on all this tonight. Oh- please pray for sweet children also, who are missing their Daddy.... whiny and emotional right now... but sweet nonetheless. I'm a little whiny too, but I guess that's what late night blogging will do to you. I don't know how Lucy does it :)