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Maui: Rebuilding Spirits and Homes

Written By Caleb McLellan

Weeks have passed since the tragic fires on Maui. Although for decades the sugar cane company regularly planned a controlled burn of large harvested fields, no one seemed prepared for the raging wildfires that blew through the historic town of Lahaina, claiming hundreds of lives and thousands of homes.


A Personal Connection

My wife Sharon and I are Christ Community staff members. We met and married on Maui in 2007. We built a business there, and had a community we loved. Sharon has three sisters whose families still live on the island. Thankfully, none of our family lives on the west side of the island that was devastated, but numerous close friends have lost everything. Friends with two young boys that we worked with every week narrowly escaped with their lives and lost all their possessions. Rodrigo and Michelle, with their two little ones, escaped just behind them and are thankfully safe.

Many, however, did not know of the danger and were trapped in their homes and cars, unable to escape the scorching heat and smoke. Another friend, Josh, lost his father in the tragedy.

This devastating event has had a dramatic impact on us, and we struggle to comprehend the horrific destruction. Historic buildings and locations that held many memories for our family are now leveled, and the best thing we know to do is pray. Pray for the many families who have lost not only their houses and possessions but also family members, their daily routines, their neighbors, their jobs, their community, and essentially their entire sense of home.

 

Meeting Needs

There are undoubtedly many practical needs, but on a deeper level, there are tremendous mental and emotional needs. Those on Maui who lost homes have lost everything, and those who have not lost their homes will likely suffer from survivor’s guilt, among other things.

In a recent update on social media, Sharon found encouragement through our affiliation with ReachGlobal, which serves as the outreach branch of the EFCA. Some of her friends are church leaders on Maui and were offered training in post-trauma recovery. The training was provided through financial support that came from ReachGlobal.

Sharon said, “Knowing that our church, Christ Community, contributed to the community relief endeavors in Maui through ReachGlobal meant a lot to me.”

Jo and Mike Barr, members of the Leawood congregation, are parents to a daughter who resides in Maui. Gemma and her son were forced to evacuate their residence due to the fires, which destroyed homes only a few blocks away. Fortunately, their own home was safe but entirely covered with soot from the fires. The entire community is coming together to navigate this new reality after the fire.

The video attached provides a few firsthand insights from Gemma into the situation, including her expression of gratitude for the contributions made by churches like Christ Community, who have been instrumental in assisting the Maui residents by sending resources.


Ways to Help

As we consider our neighbors in Maui, here are a few ways to embrace support opportunities and extend our hands in compassion to make a meaningful impact:

  1. Pray – That the people of Maui will encounter the love of God in a real and tangible way through the community of the Church.
  2. Give – Christ Community Church allocated $10,000 through ReachGlobal, which was gifted to the EFCA church on Maui to help their community. If you feel led to give beyond that, we recommend giving to the Maui Food Bank. They are an entirely local organization with existing infrastructure and volunteers able to handle current needs.
  3. Share – If you are on social media and feel led, share articles and videos of the impact on Maui to help create awareness for their needs.

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