USA (MNN) — The devastating fire near Colorado Springs,
Colo., continued to grow Thursday, even as the city began to assess the damage.
More than 32,000 people in Colorado's second-most-populous
city and its environs have been forced from their homes because of the fire. As of Thursday morning, 18,500 acres have
Although the Air Force Academy grounds survived mainly
intact, 10 acres were charred along the southwest boundary. Best estimates now are that at least 300 homes
have burned to the ground. President Obama is visiting the area today and has
already pledged federal funds to help rebuild.
Rich Blanco, Vice President for Outreach at Biblica, says it's not just the size of the fire
that makes it noteworthy. "I believe
there are over 70 organizations that have their headquarters here in Colorado Springs,
and well over 100 that are represented here in Colorado
Springs. Over the last several days, hearing the reports and seeing the
smoke and really not knowing what's going to happen–the nightmare started as the fire crested the hill of the front range and then sort of started
Famous structures like the Navigators' Glen Eyrie conference
grounds were at risk. However, at last report
from the Navigators, aside from damage
to one small structure at Eagle Lake, the Glen Eyrie property was untouched by the fires. Since the staff was in the evacuation area, the Navigators are
currently running "essential operations" out of Focus on the Family's
Blanco says he, his family, and some of their staff were all
evacuated, although Biblica's campus seemed to be out of danger. Still, "It really does create a
distraction for the whole community. People are just trying to get reports on
where the fire is going next. For people who have been evacuated, getting information
on whether their house is actually still intact."
The frenzied activity, the worry, discouragement, fear
and stress caused by the fires: all a "distraction?" Blanco says they're still getting work done,
but "we're kind of in that stage where you're reacting and responding to
what's happening right outside of your front door, but also still trying to
continue to move the ball forward, so to speak, with your global ministry, and
that's the case with Biblica."
And there's the rub: "We're in the middle of some
incredible opportunities in the Middle East, and the number of attacks from the
enemy seems to just be on the rise." Is it a coincidence that, in a
time when Bible translation has been accelerated by decades, more people than ever are
responding to the Gospel, and there is an active jihad to stop the advance of Christianity,
that you see a fire strike at the heart of a Great Commission hub? "We look at this as one of those. This is
just a way for Satan to distract us from what the Lord has called us to do as
It's a different take on a natural disaster. Does it sound a little kooky? Blanco joins many other Christian leaders who
are calling it what it is. "I think the first step in really overcoming
that, is acknowledging what it is and then praying to the Lord for the strength
and perseverance to press through, yet again, another spiritual battle."
Will you pray?