Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ray Albrektson's Email Prayer Letter

October 24, 2007
(Staff homes threatened in S. California wildfires)

Dear Friends:

The fire season is upon us here in the California Southland. The dawn today brought a red sky, oceans of smoke over the mountains, and the throaty drone of fire-bombers. Our patio furniture was covered with dust and ash. I haven't heard from my colleagues who live in the heart of the mountains: Running Springs, Blue Jay, and Crestline and—despite the ubiquity of the internet and cell-phones—I can't find out if their homes have been burned or spared.

This terrible week in California, when hundreds of thousands have had to flee to shelters not knowing if they will return to their homes or only ash, reminds me of the loss of our home in San Bernardino's Panorama Fire. We had just moved to California from campus ministry in Indiana. Josh was 2 and Laurie was 5. I was studying for my Hebrew final exam in a few weeks. In less than an hour what began as a beautiful (although fiercely windy) day had become a smoky inferno. The row of homes across the street had suddenly metamorphosed into gigantic torches. We grabbed the children* and drove blindly away before the fire-storm consumed our entire neighborhood—the North Park area—284 homes in all, including ours.

This picture gives you an idea of what we returned to a few days later—a forest of chimneys in a burnt-out neighborhood. We saw charred turkey carcasses in the street, as it was almost Thanksgiving and most of us had birds in the freezer. Our house was nothing but ash and twisted metal. Laurie's prized pretend-makeup set had evaporated; my handmade computer (a Heathkit H89) was a puddle of glass. Josh's "Rex the Wonder Horse" had been in the back yard, but had melted into a little heap of red plastic all the same.

As time passed we realized how gracious God had been. He had merely lightened our load to make the move to Southeast Asia easier. We met new friends who opened their hearts to replace many of the material things that had burned.

Dr. Bright used to say, "Wear the cloak of materialism loosely," and we often reflect on the lessons we learned as we passed through the fire.

Our prayer is that God would spare our friends, and that all affected by the fires would open their hearts to our merciful God, looking to Him to meet their needs in a terrible and trying time of their life.

I'm sorry to report that the November ISP trip to Omsk and Kurgan, in Russia, has been postponed until late Spring. It seems it was just about impossible to get our team from one city to another in order to do two convocations! The best option--taking the train--actually involved a detour through Kazakhstan, complete with visa ramifications. On the bright side, however, I'll be home for Thanksgiving and my birthday!

Ray & Kathy Albrektson
Considering donating to my ministry? [Click here]

* As we threw the kids into the car, I noticed my scuba gear in the garage. I quickly loaded a filled tank (with regulator already attached) into the car according to the theory that the driver should remain conscious to ensure the ultimate survival of the rest of the family. After all, isn't that what they say in airline safety briefings? "Take care of your own oxygen mask first, then help others." Of course, it didn't prove to be necessary, but I'll never live it down . . . .


Post a Comment

<< Home