August 16, 2023

Maui Wildfires: Alliance Chaplains Join Recovery Efforts

The Alliance responds to the deadliest wildfires in U.S. history.

UPDATE 9/5/2023:

The Lahaina wildfire is now 100 percent contained, with the official death toll at 115; this number could increase as the FBI’s validated list of people who remain unaccounted for includes 385 individuals. At this time, the Kula fire is 95 percent contained, and the Olinda fire is 90 percent contained. Extinguishing the fires completely will take some time, but they pose no active threat to any communities. As initial recovery operations wind down, Alliance chaplains continue to play a vital role in providing much-needed support and ministry after the search and rescue mission has ended.

Please pray: 

  • For all affected by this tragedy, especially those who lost loved ones or whose family members are still unaccounted for–pray that the grieving will find comfort, peace, and hope for eternity in Jesus
  • For our Alliance chaplains who facilitate safe spaces where military and VA personnel can share experiences, grieve losses, and find strength in unity as recovery carries on

The deadliest wildfires in U.S. history started August 8 after winds from Hurricane Dora, a Category 4 storm, fanned flames across several islands. The inferno spread rapidly, completely decimating the popular tourist destination of Lahaina. At this writing, the death toll is 116, and over 1,000 lives remain unaccounted for. Rescue crews are scouring the affected areas for survivors.

Although there are no Alliance churches on Maui, The Alliance has five chaplains in Hawaii either actively involved in relief efforts or ready to assist. The Hawaii Army National Guard (HING) and other agencies are supporting relief operations to assist affected communities. One Alliance chaplain shares: “Lahaina and parts of Kehei are burned to ash and rubble. Many who fled to the ocean drowned. The likelihood of finding human remains in Lahaina is low as people were caught in what essentially became a crematorium.”

Kurt Mueller, the HING state chaplain, is among those working with Alliance service members to search for survivors. He is also implementing a spiritual recovery plan for responders and those impacted by the fire. Paige Morris, the C&MA’s Veterans Administration chaplain at Tripler Army Medical Center (TAMC), will be connecting veterans with resources that can provide further support such as housing assistance and mental health services. Brian Myers is on standby in Pearl Harbor and will assist at TAMC if there is an overflow of casualties.

Dave Bowlus is on temporary duty in Hawaii. He and his wife, Meridee, were visiting their son, Andrew, who is stationed in the Army there. Together, they drove to COSTCO and collected supplies to bring to Maui as volunteers in relief efforts. 

Praise God for our Alliance chaplains as they play a critical role in helping those affected by the fires navigate the complex emotions and challenges that arise in the aftermath of a disaster.

How You Can Pray

“Continue to pray for our chaplains, first responders, authorities, and relief organizations as they provide practical aid and spiritual support,” says Kevin Pies, executive director for Alliance Chaplains Ministries. “Ask for wisdom, guidance in their decision-making, and renewed strength as they work long hours in the recovery process.” Pray also for access to resources and opportunities for rebuilding lives, homes, and communities. Intercede as well for those affected by trauma as they recover from injuries and loss. Above all, pray that survivors will find hope in Christ during this time of overwhelming need.

How You Can Help

Your gift today can help victims of the Maui wildfires who are suffering trauma, injuries, and devastating loss.

Give now

Thank you for standing with us in being the hands and feet of Jesus!

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