Church that escaped damage in Hawaii wildfires helps others

(Photo: Harvest Kumulani)

(CP) A church in Maui that's part of Pastor Greg Laurie's Harvest Christian Fellowship network has not been damaged by the wildfires that destroyed over 2,000 structures and killed nearly 100 people.

However, members of Harvest Kumulani, a Lahaina-based congregation of about 1,000 regular attendees that recently celebrated seven years of being a Harvest campus, have suffered losses caused by the wildfires.

Josh Morris, executive director of strategy and advancement at Harvest, who was born and raised in Hawaii, told The Christian Post in comments via email that the fires "have been completely devastating to several members of our Harvest Kumulani congregation, with several people who have lost their homes, and many more whose jobs are uncertain."

"The wildfires have impacted all our pastoral team personally," added Morris. "We have been praying for, supporting, and loving the community of Lahaina over the past few days.

"Many of our teams are operating on little to no sleep and are doing everything we can to shine the light of Jesus to this hurting community."

Morris told CP that although "the congregation has been impacted by the wildfires, their hope remains secure in Jesus Christ and the comfort He offers to His church."

"By God's grace, our church property of Harvest Kumulani has not been damaged by the fires," he said, directing CP to the web page Harvest set up to help send relief to the affected area.

"The main way we are asking for churches on the islands and on the mainland to help is through our Harvest Maui Relief Fund," Morris said.

"This fund is created by Harvest Christian Fellowship and is designed to help the Maui community, the members of Harvest Kumulani, and ensure we can continue to preach the Gospel to this community in the aftermath of the wildfires."

Last week, fires fueled by a dry season and winds from a nearby hurricane rampaged across the Hawaiian island of Maui, prompting a state of emergency and evacuations from the area.

On Monday, the confirmed death toll rose to 96 and is expected to increase. On Saturday, Maui County officials reported that there were 93 confirmed fatalities from the fires, making them worse than the 2018 fires in Northern California that claimed a reported 85 lives.

Last Thursday, President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration request from Hawaii, making federal funding available for people impacted by the fires, while multiple aid groups have begun efforts to bring relief to the island.

The Christian humanitarian group World Help is among those sending aid, with the organization saying in a statement shared with the press that it was collaborating with local partners already operating in the area.

"Maui has been absolutely devastated by these wildfires," said World Help President Noel Brewer Yeatts, as quoted in the statement. "Our partners in Lahaina tell us that there is very little left standing and that it looks like a war zone. So many people have lost everything — their homes, and their livelihoods."

"It's going to take years to heal and rebuild, and World Help wants to do our part so that families and communities can begin that healing process."

© The Christian Post