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Former RMC Youth Director Loses House in Paradise Fire »
The morning of November 8, a firestorm blasted through Paradise, a northern California town with a large Adventist population, destroying most of the town and more than 7,500 homes and businesses. The more than 1,200-member Paradise Seventh-day Adventist Church was destroyed and the Adventist elementary school and Feather River Adventist Hospital were damaged. Many people lost their lives as they fled. Some burned in their vehicles attempting to evacuate. Others haven’t yet been found.
Former RMC youth director, Steve Hamilton, who moved with his family to Paradise to serve as senior pastor at the Paradise Church within the last month, lost almost everything in the fire. Able to safely evacuate with several vehicles, they now face the task of not only rebuilding their own lives, but helping an entire church to rebuild.
People from Southern California and Oregon churches showed up immediately with relief goods, filling a gymnasium to serve the first wave of need. “We’ve already gone through three semi-trucks,” Steve commented last Tuesday. “The Red Cross and FEMA are just now getting set up.”
NewsNuggets talked with Steve by phone to find out how he's doing. “We’re going full out,” Steve said, having just helped to distribute the goods that were brought in by other churches in California and Oregon and working on setting up an office where he can facilitate the massive amount of things needing to be done, including getting the school up and running by the end of Thanksgiving break.
“Steve is at his best in an emergency,” said friend and former RMC colleague Matt Moreland. “He will face this challenge with confidence.”
Following the destruction, Steve was able to view their former home and snapped a photo of the leveled house to show to his wife, Delinda. Her response was, “Good! I couldn’t face myself if our house was intact and all the other church members’ homes were burned.”
“It’s knowing that our friends in RMC are backing us up and praying for us that makes us strong,” Steve said.
Several RMC churches have already responded to a call to assist the Hamiltons as well as his church members and Pathfinder clubs are raising money to donate. If you want to help, go to GoFundMe Hamilton Family Fire Relief.
-- Carol Bolden; photo by Steve Hamilton