Jerry* was grieving not just for the loss of his home, but for what he believed was the likely loss of a precious family heirloom: his father’s Second World War medals. They, and almost everything Jerry owned, burned this summer in British Columbia’s terrible wildfires.
Nevertheless, when he invited Samaritan’s Purse volunteers to sift through the ashes and search for heirlooms that might have survived the blaze, he asked the volunteers to look for the medals. To his surprise and amazement, the volunteers—outfitted with tools and safety equipment—found them. As they pulled the irreplaceable items from the ruins, it brought Jerry a little bit of hope amid all the destruction.
We thank God for opportunities like this to humbly serve hurting British Columbia families in Jesus’ Name. And we praise Him for providing more than 130 volunteers, including some from Alberta and Ontario, to serve as His hands and feet during this two-month deployment.
As both Disaster Relief Units that deployed to B.C. wrap up their responses, the volunteers, and Samaritan’s Purse partners like you, have helped almost 50 homeowners in the Vernon region and nearly 80 in the Cache Creek area. That includes the village of Lytton, which was destroyed by wildfires.
Another homeowner, Liam,* was surprised to find a Samaritan’s Purse team member offering to help him clean up his fire-ravaged property and search for treasured items.
He told our representative he wondered what a “religious group could do for me.” Then the volunteers went to work. When the job was finished and they found several items, Liam wondered “what is it that this group can’t do for me?”
“Without fail, homeowners expressed their gratitude for the assistance they received,” said Claus Burchert, who led the Samaritan’s Purse team in the Vernon area. It was an amazing sight to see the look on a homeowner’s face when our team leader thanked them for allowing us to support them.”
In the Cache Creek and Lytton area, “the homeowners we worked with were all pretty defeated,” said Andy Northup, who led the work. “But we saw what stepping in and helping with compassionate care does. Over the days, the homeowners’ shoulders rose a little. Our goal is to bring hope.”
In each case, as we completed our work we gave homeowners a Bible signed by all the volunteers who worked on their homes and offered to pray with them. In almost every case, the offer was gladly accepted.
We are now consulting with B.C. government officials to see what role Samaritan’s Purse can play in doing long-term recovery work with affected homeowners, similar to what we did with your support in Fort McMurray after the 2016 wildfires.
Please pray that God would open more doors to come alongside hurting people and show them, in words and deeds, “the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:19, ESV). And please prayerfully consider how you can partner in this vital Kingdom work.
*Name changed to protect privacy