“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” —Galatians 6:2
Hundreds of Colorado families entered the new year without homes after a wildfire decimated neighborhoods across nearly 10 square miles in Boulder County.
One person is dead and two residents are still missing, while at least seven others were injured due to the blaze. One day after the fire, six-plus inches of snow helped extinguish the fire but made rescue efforts considerably more difficult.
Chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) are in Boulder, Colorado, offering Christ’s comfort to residents who lost so much. In addition, a BG-RRT staff member is working with local churches, equipping them to follow up with all those who came to know Christ or rededicated their lives to Him during the deployment.
“Our hearts hurt for all of those who have lost their homes and suffered destruction to property,” said Josh Holland, assistant director of the BG-RRT. “We are praying for them and have crisis-trained chaplains there to provide emotional and spiritual support for all of those who are hurting.”
Winds gusting over 100 mph quickly fanned the flames, with the Marshall Fire being called the most destructive wildfire in Colorado’s history.
Chaplain coordinators Jack and Peg Rasmusson—who live just an hour away from Boulder—met a young woman whose child was swept away by these winds.
The mother recalled how she had been in Target with her three children in tow the day of the fire. She’d seen only a small, insignificant plume of smoke in the distance by the foothills when she left her home. As she completed her shopping, the store manager yelled for people to get out and drive to safety.
Looking out the store window, the woman saw no sky or cars or pavement, only thick white smoke. She fought her way to her car in intense winds, trying desperately to hold on to her children.
When she opened her car door, she realized her daughter was not with her. The hurricane-force winds had blown her 15 feet away.
The mother screamed for help. A man grabbed her daughter and bought her to the car. The mother recognizes how God protected her family that day, and is one of dozens who have prayed with the chaplains this week.
The Rasmussons deployed to Boulder during last year’s grocery store shooting, and realize the region’s ground is spiritually hard.
“We’re constantly praying for people’s hearts to be open to receiving [God’s] Word,” Jack Rasmusson said. “We [hope people will] recognize we’re all on a journey here. Material things can be replaced, but the gift of Jesus is absolutely essential in storms and trials.”
The day after the fire, the Rasmussons gathered with over 75 pastors in the region, all coming together to see how they could help their devastated community.
“The only good thing that comes out of disasters is all of a sudden you know your neighbor’s name and the community comes together,” Jack Rasmusson said. “We’re already seeing that here dramatically. It brings Galatians 6:2 to life.”
Please pray for all those displaced by the Marshall Fire in Colorado.