Ashes to Ashes

When Mrs. F evacuated her home near Redding, CA to escape the Carr Fire, she didn’t know when she would be able to return. And she was fairly certain that when she did, she would be returning to ashes. Her home was, in fact, one of the 1200 homes destroyed by the fire.

Mrs. F had insurance on her home, but her settlement will not be enough to rebuild. Meanwhile, she was denied FEMA assistance and is in the process of appealing the decision. At this point, more than six months out from the fire, hope can be fleeting, but small encouragements keep Mrs. F --and others like her-- moving forward.

The role of community is priceless; both for practical, immediate needs, and for ongoing emotional and spiritual support. Your gifts to Week of Compassion mean that we can support people like Mrs. F at every phase of the journey towards recovery.

As the Church prepares for Ash Wednesday, we are mindful of God’s presence with us through all seasons. Through times of joy and celebration; through heartbreak and loss; through times of tragedy and into days of rebuilding. As we receive the sign of ashes, we remember our own mortality, as well. We remember that life is fleeting, and that all we have will one day return to the dust. But more importantly, we remember that in Christ, all things are made alive--and that the God who made us will not leave us to the dust.

We carry that powerful symbol on our bodies, so that we move through the season looking for signs of life.

Several months after the fire, Mrs. F made another visit to her home, still expecting nothing but dust and ashes. “I went back with her to the house to sift through the rubble,” a fellow member of First Christian Church, Redding recently told Week of Compassion staff. “It was amazing. You know, she had this rose bush in her yard...and it looked totally burned, like everything else. But there, at the base of the vine, a new shoot was growing.”

For new shoots growing--and for the transforming love of community-- we give thanks to God. We also give thanks for your gifts to Week of Compassion. With your support, we help make many kinds of new growth possible; in every season.

In the footprint of a home destroyed by the Carr Fire near Redding, CA, recent rains have brought new growth, green against the ashes and the blackened trees.  Photo Credit: Disciples Volunteering

In the footprint of a home destroyed by the Carr Fire near Redding, CA, recent rains have brought new growth, green against the ashes and the blackened trees. Photo Credit: Disciples Volunteering