Rebuilding after the fire

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For those of you who follow us on twitter or facebook, you know that
there has been a huge fire in Masi. It broke out early Monday morning
and destroyed most of the Wetlands area of Masi. An estimated 1,500
shacks and 25 homes were destroyed, making 4,000 - 5,000 people
homeless overnight. It's the worst fire in recent memory in Masi. To
give you a frame of reference, the Boxing Day fire we told you about
in December only destroyed about 300 shacks.

Since Monday, we have been working alongside All Nations and other
churches, charities and government organizations to try to help these
thousands in desperate need. We have sorted clothing and food
donations, helped build shacks, prayed with people, and done basically
anything else we could think of.

The scope of the tragedy is tremendous. The fire affected the poorest
of the poor in Masi, because the Wetlands area was basically a
squatter camp for people who couldn't afford the $20-40/month rent in
Masi proper. Some of our friends on the far side of the fire were able
to bring most of their portable possessions to safety, but others
escaped with only themselves and the clothes on their back.

Despite the tragedy, there have been some glimmers of hope this week.
Last Friday — just three days before the fire — we had a volunteer
firefighter talk to our Vulnerable Children kids about fire safety.
(see previous post) One of the things he taught the kids was the
number of the fire department, which no one around here seems to know
(it's 112, by the way.) Little Lucy actually remembered the number in
the midst of the blaze and was one of the first people in Masi to call
the fire department.

It's been great to see the community banding together in this time of
crisis. We have seen people taking care of others in their
housechurches and Bible studies who have been affected by the fire.
It's been hard to keep our hearts set on hope, though, with the weight
of the tragedy.

We wanted to let you know how you could help with this disaster if you
are interested.
• Prayer — Please be praying for the victims of the fire. Pray that
they would get the help they need to rebuild their shacks quickly and
recover much of their lost possessions. Please pray also that this
would be a time that people turn to Jesus for hope and walk with God.
• Donations — If you are here in South Africa, there are a lot of
needs right now. The main thing is household goods, furniture,
bedding, pots and pans, etc.
• Finances — If you would like to make a donation to Masi fire relief,
you can send it to:

All Nations Family, Inc
c/o Walsh Washburn
5360 College Boulevard Ste. 100
Overland Park, KS 66211
**Please attach a note that says "Crisis Relief Cape Town"

For donations outside of the US:
"Crisis Relief Cape Town"
South Africa account: 076721051
Standard Bank, Fish Hoek
Branch Code: 03600980

We will be helping with crisis relief for the next week here in Masi.
After that, we leave on a 3 1/2 week journey through Southern Africa.
We'll be visiting All Nations bases, encouraging teams, helping them
practically and sharing their stories through our social media as well
as www.all-nations.co.za. Be sure to check our blog for updates from
the road.

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