To the OroNaz Family,
OroNaz has been a Red Cross Evacuation Shelter for a number of years, We have opened our doors for the victims of fires in the Oroville area. These evacuees were allowed to stay until they were ready to return to their homes. When the Camp Fire in Paradise broke out, we immediately opened our doors and prepared to receive those who were being evacuated. The Red Cross and Salvation Army responded immediately setting up and organizing, getting ready for all that was coming.
Paradise evacuated 27,000 people, and many of them came to Oroville. It was gut-wrenching to watch the victims of this catastrophic fire try to deal with the magnitude of what they experienced, and the uncertainty of what they will be facing going forward. The reality of the devastation began to hit them as the news spread that Paradise was all but gone. They have lost everything, including loved ones and neighbors.
On the second night, OroNaz had 450 people sleeping inside, with another 200 in their cars, tents, and motorhomes. Almost every room in the building is being utilized to serve the needs of the evacuees and the Red Cross volunteers. The numbers slowly decreased as the week went by. Last night, there were around 100 evacuees inside the shelter, and another 150 plus on the grounds outside. Besides dealing with all the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, there is also a health issue that is being reported at almost all the shelters. The norovirus has infected some of the evacuees, and some of our OroNaz volunteers. This has taxed us even more, and some of our people are exhausted.
We do not know how long it is going to take before the building will be returned to OroNaz for our local ministries. This present crisis is our first ministry priority, and we believe that God knows and understands that OroNaz will be blessed if we continue to bless. Since we did not have a church service at OroNaz last Sunday, we were not able to receive the regular tithes and offerings. We are still a ministry that has obligations and responsibilities. You can mail your offerings to Oroville Church of the Nazarene, 2238 Monte Vista Ave. Oroville, CA 95966.
Finally, it has been my privilege to work alongside the Pastoral Staff who have been incredible in their serving during this crisis. The Red Cross has certain protocols and procedures that they follow, and they do it very well. However, they depend on the local volunteers at OroNaz to help them do what they do. The Pastoral Staff has organized our team around daily shifts, where a pastoral leader is there most of the time. The Staff also organized volunteers who wanted to serve. We have observed that what the evacuees seem to appreciate the most is someone who will just notice them, value them as an individual, and give them some time. Besides all the other demands on this Staff, I am most proud of them because they really have been the hands and feet of Jesus, touching and loving the destitute and desperate.
Watch the OroNaz website for more information about where our congregation will meet next Sunday.
Onward and upward,