COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (EPA) — As wildfires rage through Colorado, many Evangelical Press Associations (EPA) member organizations and staff members have been touched by this tragedy.
Many EPA publications are based in Colorado Springs, and of course this year’s annual convention was held there. We asked EPA president Dean Ridings, of Focus on the Family, for an update.
“Things are surreal and somewhat chaotic here — we’re trusting in the Lord, grateful that there have been no reported deaths or even injuries. The radio reminded us this morning that “This isn’t the day after,” meaning that there was a lot of devastation yesterday and today there could be a lot more as firefighters remain on the defensive . . . Our family is among last night’s evacuees who had limited time to pack up essentials and make our way east . . . Our four children were home, including two who were serving up at the Navigators’ Eagle Lake Camp, which was evacuated on Saturday.
“We also had three additional Eagle Lake campers with us . . . It was slow going but we finally got out of our community on the northwest side of the city (just south of the Air Force Academy) with our family and guests as well as two cars neighbors asked us to drive out for them . . . Our family is among some 32,000 who have evacuated – more than 15,000 acres have been burned thus far.
“Navigator staff are housed at Focus on the Family, and we heard this morning from their spokesperson that Navigator headquarters at Glen Eyrie is okay thus far this morning but the Verizon building next to it is reportedly on fire, as are the houses above Verizon. Above them is the Flying W Ranch, which is a total loss. (The Flying W Ranch was an off-site event destination for past EPA conventions.) No “official” word of how many structures have burned . . . Jim Daly addressed Focus staff and led us in a time of prayer for our community this morning. He said Focus is ready to assist the community in any way. In fact, we had offered to be a place where the community can come, but they’re actually looking for shelters more up the road in the Monument area to get people out of town and make more room for the firefighters to remain on the defensive . . . In this community that has seen so much division through the years, there’s a strong sense of unity that “we’re all in this together” . . . From what I’m hearing Christians in town are doing a wonderful job of living out Matthew 5:16, letting their lights so shine that others would see their good works – gifts of money and food, homes and churches as shelters — and glorifying God.
“We appreciate all the Facebook posts, Tweets, texts and phone calls letting us know we’re in your thoughts and prayers. It means more than you know. Thank you for your ongoing prayers, especially for the some 1,000 firefighters now on the scene. Pray also that the “day after” would come soon, with a continued sense of unity as Christians live and minister among the community and also encourage one another “as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Please be sure to remember your EPA colleagues and their ministries in prayer during this challenging time.