Friday, November 02, 2007

from Maranatha Chapel in San Diego...

Carlin sent this story via her parents in San Diego:

My name is Wyatt Childers and I am a firefighter trainee in the San Diego north county area. While I was involved in firefighting operations during the Witch Creek Fire, a lot of people were praying. I know now that the Lord kept His hand on me and my crew.

On October 24, driving along Highway 78 near Lake Sutherland Dam after refueling in Ramona, we were heading back up to Santa Ysabel when we met the head of the Witch Creek fire, face to face. Flames flashed in front of the engine and if it hadn’t been for our driver’s quick reaction, throwing the engine into reverse, we could have died. He was able to turn us around and escape the head of the fire. But soon we found ourselves entrapped between the main head of the fire and a spot fire burning in front of us. The other firefighters in the engine became very quiet and I could feel our fear.

Now, fire surrounded us on all four sides of our engine. Our captain made the decision to use the front water turret on the brush rig to push through the fire to a safe zone. The crew unanimously agreed, so we attached the water turret, got back into the engine, and prepared to drive through the fire.I knew then that we might not make it through, that we might die. My fears were suddenly pushed away as I felt peace wash over me. Even the thought of burning to death didn’t worry me. I knew that heaven was waiting to receive me. However, it occurred to me that the three other firefighters on my crew might not be believers.

I knew that we were all thinking about what would happen if we didn’t make it. If I died on that lonely strip of road, I wanted these guys with me in heaven. I could feel the Lord prompting me to use this situation to glorify Him.

Before we started to go through, I looked at my captain and said, “Hey Cap, want me to throw one up?”

“You’re going to do what?” He said.

I clarified, “Do you want me to say a prayer?”

“HELL YEAH!” he said, and so I prayed. “Dear Lord, I thank you for this day. I know you have a reason for bringing us here to this place. I pray that you will keep me and my brothers safe. In your name I pray. Amen.” The other three all said “amen” and I could instantly feel a change in their attitude and confidence level.

We all felt charged and ready to face our fate. We attempted to make a first run through the fire, but fallen power lines blocked our path out. We had to wait another hour for the fire to pass, but this time the guys were more at ease. Finally, the fire burned over the engine and around the road and passed us. We were able to get back to Santa Ysabel and continued fighting the fire.

As I write this, I realize how close I really came to seeing our Lord and Savior face to face. I hope that I was a light to my engine company in a time of darkness. I pray that we all think about what happened that night and I hope I will be able to be a good witness. Living through a situation like this brought us closer together, really tight, and we will forever be brothers. I hope that I will have many opportunities to share my faith and that we will all draw closer to the Lord in new way.

On the brim of my brush helmet I have a scripture written inside. I came across it when I first started at the Fire Department. I found it again just a few weeks ago while I was going through a hard time in my life. The verse is Isaiah 43:2:

“When you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, nor shall the flames scorch you.”

The Lord was with me that night as He is with all of us. He will always protect us and never leave us even though we will all go through many “fires.” FF Wyatt Childers, 18
Maranatha Chapel


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