AGOURA HILLS, Calif. – It has been nearly three months since a series of fires scorched much of California.
Even now, the state is scrambling to help residents meet important deadlines for public assistance.
That’s just one aspect of the many avenues people are using as they search for ways to redeem the devastating destruction.
Brenda Epperson, a Hollywood actress who lives in Los Angeles County, sees signs of renewal in a slightly different way.
As a veteran actor, Epperson has played many roles throughout her career, but none more dramatic than when her house became part of the backdrop of last November’s Woolsey Fire.
Thinking she was safe after hours helping nearby friends, Brenda suddenly found herself under a mandatory evacuation.
“I was petrified,” she said.
Recounting the nightmare, she told CBN News that flames from a nearby mountain were leaping over the road behind her home. “My husband came in with this horrific look on his face, and he said, ‘We have to go now! The fire’s at the top of the hill,'” she said.
As the family prepared to leave, Epperson did the only thing in her power.
“I just started praying over our home, over the neighbors, and over the city and the towns, and the people and just crying out to God,” she said.
She recalled quoting scripture from Psalm 91: “‘Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in his mighty shadow,” she prayed. “‘I will say of the Lord he’s my refuge and my God in whom I trust.'”
Days after the fire, Epperson told CBN‘s Wendy Griffith during a Skype interview that God answered her prayers. A hotspot less than 3 feet away from wooden crosses and fencing along her property were somehow left unscathed.
Farther up the coast, however, it was a different story. The Camp Fire in Northern California was the deadliest in state history. It burned more than 150,000 acres of land, destroyed 20,000 buildings and homes, and killed more than 85 people.
Meanwhile, relief assistance groups, like CBN‘s Operation Blessing, are still helping. The ministry is partnering with area churches to give much-needed aid to the fire victims.
“They’ve lost their whole homes – their whole lives – and so they’re feeling really heavy. We want to come alongside them,” explained Ron Barry of Bethel Church in Redding.
As if things couldn’t get any worse, mid-January’s nonstop rains triggered mudslides that washed out roads and brought down houses that escaped the wildfires.
Still, Epperson believes she’s already seeing good things emerge from the ashes.
“I just really believe that God is going to use this fire to cause revival to break out in people’s hearts and in their minds and by His Spirit,” she declared. “I have witnessed people who have lost their homes that really weren’t believers or didn’t really bring God into their life that are now [Notes:asking], ‘Hey, what about God?'”
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