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TouchGlobal tries to build beauty from ashes of Colorado wildfires

By July 24, 2012

USA (MNN) — Colorado can't catch a break. Wildfires tore up Colorado Springs a few weeks ago, then a shooter gunned down dozens of people at a movie theater in Aurora. The emotional needs for the traumatized American state are great.

The Evangelical Free Church of America is trying to respond to some of Colorado's emotional and physical needs, specifically those that came from the wildfires.

It's been nearly a month since the fires first started blazing through neighborhoods in Colorado Springs. EFCA TouchGlobal Crisis Response director Mark Lewis says, "The fires are out, people that were evacuated have been able to get back into their areas where they were living, and some of the roads have opened up. So some normalcy of life has returned to many people in Colorado Springs."

But Lewis adds, "There are still, though, hundreds of families that have lost their homes."

The TouchGlobal team is working with First Evangelical Free Church in Colorado Springs to respond to the needs of these victims. Some FEFC church members were personally affected or live near neighborhoods where homes were charred. Their work so far has been, in large part, sifting through rubble for any salvageable items.

It's clear they have their work cut out for them.

"You can't imagine the scene of just total incineration of everything," says Lewis. "It's not just rebuilding a house. The beauty that was this part of Colorado is literally ashes."

That loss of beauty has inspired TouchGlobal to do some unique forms of ministry in coming days.

"Just to bring some beauty back into the place, we're looking at helping with doing some tree planting and landscaping with people." Lewis explains, "There are great Biblical concepts that come out of that as the idea of beauty from ashes, but then the regeneration of life, and all of the things that spring forth from a plant."

In restoring physical beauty to what's known to be a stunning region of America, TouchGlobal hopes to have many opportunities to discuss with victims the spiritual transformation Christ can make in a person's life, making something beautiful from ashes. The group also has plans to reach out to construction workers who will be rebuilding homes. Church members plan to set up refreshment stands to welcome them.

These might seem like small steps, but the 12-14 hour days believers are putting in to restore lives are already having eternal payoffs.

"God is at work," says Lewis. "People from the community at large have been involved in helping. I've heard a couple of stories of some people there coming to faith as a result of working alongside the other Christians in the process of serving the community."

Keep praying for the hundreds of families who have lost their homes. As the rest of the world moves on, these families remain traumatized and forever changed by the month's events. Pray that they would sense God's peace and protection in coming months, and would turn their lives over to His care.

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