Last week, when Jim and Carolyn Oliver left their home of 11 years—in the midst of 120 acres of forest — they didn’t know if they would see it again. The Butte fire was moving hot and fast through the area. Carolyn caught a glimpse of the fire’s power as she served in her role as senior chaplain for a fire protection district. Her battalion chief asked her to accompany him as she checked on firefighters, and she was shocked. “I had never seen devastation like that,” she said.
When she arrived home, she told Jim that they needed to get out. They grabbed their “go bag,” and they left. (Shortly thereafter, their community received a mandatory evacuation order.) Their home is currently being used as a dormitory for firefighters. The Olivers know about emergencies. Through the years they’ve been involved with numerous disaster response organizations. In addition, Carolyn has served as disaster response coordinator for the Northern California Conference, and Jim now holds that position, in addition to his role as NCC Adventist Community Services Federation president.
Now it’s the Olivers’ own neighbors who are affected by disaster. “When it’s at your back door, it’s a whole new thing,” said Carolyn. “ What you’re not prepared for is when it’s people you know who are losing their homes.” As of Sept. 15, the Olivers’ house was still standing. They continue to be hopeful, but no matter what the outcome, they trust that the Lord will be with them. “We are at peace because God is still in charge and cares for us,” said Jim.
The Butte and Valley fires are still wreaking havoc on the lives of thousands. But you can help! Adventist Community Services provides assistance to individuals, families and communities during and after disasters. Donate today to help people affected by these fires.