RANCHO BERNARDO, Calif. (BP)--Around 4 a.m., Rik Wadge, pastor of First Baptist Church in Poway, Calif., received a call from a church member telling him his street was on fire.
"So I went outside, and there was an intense heat coming across the front lawn," Wadge
had been at the church until around 1:30 that morning, caring for fire evacuees from nearby Ramona.
"It was very interesting the way the church responded," he
We just said we'll fill the church up with cots and do whatever we have to do," Wadge
Before long, the crisis was affecting Rancho Bernardo and Poway residents.
When it was time to go to Qualcomm
was impressed with the church members who chose to sleep on the ground at the stadium rather than take up offers for more comfortable accommodations at beach homes or at the safe homes of family members.
"Many of them had nice condos to stay in, relatives they could have stayed with, but they made the decision to be that friendly face and that warm embrace for the people around them who did not have homes.That is Christian love," he
Wadge's experience as an evacuee at Qualcomm
was "absolutely incredible," he
"We slept on the ground, but we had food and we had love and care.There were arts things for the kids to do, there were movies, there was a ton of stuff to make people feel like they weren't alone and it was going to be OK."
Before long, Wadge
was able to return home and find that his
house had survived though many homes in his
neighborhood were destroyed.
"Our home is fine.We have no electricity, but that's no big deal," he
said."We're thankful to be alive."
Looking back, Wadge
described the uncertainty of the moments when the fire was an immediate threat.
"You see it on the news, but being in the midst of it is different," he
"It's great to know that everything we've been living as Christians is the sole priority in life," Wadge
said."It's not about now.It's about preparing for being in the Kingdom.