California wild fires

Updated 7:00 pm (Central time zone), November 18.

The recent Camp Fire in Northern California and Woolsey Fire in Southern California are the most destructive in years. As of November 18, the death toll from the Camp Fire approaches 80, with over 1,000 people unaccounted for. Thankfully, all GCI members in the affected areas of both wild fires have been accounted for and found safe. The story is different, however, regarding the homes of some members in Northern California.

Larry and Judy

Larry Van Landuyt, pastor of GCI congregations in Chico and Redding, CA, lives with his wife Judy in Paradise, CA, site of the Camp Fire. He and Judy had little more than hours to pack up family photos and important papers before being forced to drive down a road lined on both sides by flames on November 11. Fortunately, they were able to stay with their daughter in Marysville after evacuating, but it was only by November 13 that they found out that their home and two investment properties along with a vehicle had been totally destroyed in the fire. They had just renovated one of the investment homes to sell. It was scheduled to go on the market this week. Below are before-and-after pictures of the Van Landuyt’s three homes, with the one they lived in on the left. (Click the pictures to enlarge.)

The home of another GCI member in the area apparently survived the fire, but she will have to remain with family in Corning for the time being. Several former GCI members also lived in Paradise, and all have been accounted for. All our members in Southern California (where the Woolsey Fire raged near Thousand Oaks) are also okay. One member couple’s home was in a mandatory evacuation area. Like most everyone in their community, they decided to stay and soak down their home with water hoses. Thankfully, their home was not damaged. Another member couple in a voluntary evacuation area also chose to stay. Thankfully, they too were spared. A single female member was evacuated the first night of the fire and went to a friend’s home. She was there only a couple of hours and had to evacuate again. It appears that the homes in her neighborhood were spared.

Please pray for the Van Landuyts and the many others who will need a speedy response from FEMA and other insurance providers. Larry Van Landuyt believes he and Judy will rebuild. For them Paradise has not been lost. To send Larry and Judy a note of encouragement, email them at larry.vanlanduyt@gci.org or post a comment below.

11 thoughts on “California wild fires”

  1. So sorry to hear of the sad news regarding the Van Landuyts. Our love and prayers for the family. We thank God that they are safe. We also pray for the family of the others whose lives were taken by the fire in Paradise. Great quote from Larry – “Paradise has not been lost.”

  2. We are deeply saddened by the loss of life and property caused by the terrible California fires. Our thoughts and prayers are with the many afflicted and certainly also with Larry and Judy as they look forward to „Paradise Regained“. While the loss of property is a severe blow we are thankful that Larry and Judy did not suffer injuries.

    In Him,
    Santiago and Elke

  3. Dear Larry and Judy, We are so sorry for your tremendous emotional and financial loss from this devastating firestorm, but very thankful that you are both safe. Praying for you and the thousands of other people who have and will be affected by these fires.

    Dan & Melanie Cartwright

  4. Dearest Larry and Judy;
    I am not a member of your congregation but still my heart pours out for you both. Property and financial losses are just material things but knowing that both of you are fine physically, is enough consolation we should be thankful for to God. You are in my prayers so that you would have the strength to carry on because life has to move on even after this disaster. Don’t forget that God is a very good provider. Trust in Him!

  5. Dear Mr. and Mrs. Van Landuyt,

    We are so sorry to read about your loss. We are praying for you, and pray that you will be given the greatest possible measure of finding yourself in Gods Home while you go through all of this and through the process of rebuilding. Much love, Hans and Denise de Moei

  6. Hi Larry and Judy:

    I have wondered about you and Gina and the fires and wondered if you had gotten out safely. Its good to see that you are safe. I don’t remember that much about Paradise now as to many years have gone by but I do remember being at your house many times.

    I hope all goes well with the rebuilding and many people will be able to rebuild.

    Mary Corey is safe in a shelter in Chico as well.

    Take care,

    Anne R. Owens

  7. HELLO JUDY AND LARRY,GLAD YOUR SAFE WILL PRAY YOU GET
    THE INSURANCE SOON SO YOU CAN REBUILD ,PRAYERS AND
    GOD BLESS FROM TREVOR COVERDALE NORTH LONDON CONGREGATION LONDON ENGLAND .

  8. BLESSINGS JUDY AND LARRY, SO GOOD TO HEAR FROM YOU AND THAT YOU ARE SAFE. I PRAY FOR YOU ALL CONTINUALLY WITH DEEP CONCERN AND MUCH HOPE. MAY OUR GRACIOUS LORD GIVE YOU ALL HIS PEACE, STRENGTH AND COMFORT. AND RESTORE THINGS IN HIS PERFECT WAY. PLEASE GIVE THIS MESSAGE TO ALL IN CALIFORNIA. MUCH LOVE IN CHRIST JESUS – DARLENE HEMINGWAY. LONDON ONTARIO CANADA GCI CHURCH

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