Alberta Wildfire Update
On the third of May, 2016, approximately 88,000 Fort McMurray residents were forced to flee their
homes and work places, resulting in one of the largest mass evacuations in Canadian history. The wildfire that caused the evacuation swept through the city, destroying 2,400 homes and other structures. It caused $3.58 billion in damages to nearly 1.5 million acres of land.
So, on the sixth of June, 2016, just days after Fort McMurray residents were allowed to return to town after five weeks of evacuation, NorthLife Fellowship Baptist Church, Fort McMurray, began its “Nostco” wildfire relief operation. The distribution centre is NorthLife’s main contribution to wildfire relief in northern Alberta, providing free items to those in need. Thousands went through Nostco’s doors in that
first week alone as evacuees returned looking for basic necessities of life. Many of them came home to Fort McMurray knowing that their homes were destroyed. Some others did not even realize that their homes had burned down. Somehow, many of them found their way to Nostco, a place of ministry and refuge.
NorthLife is “a family of nations loving God together”. This simple vision is guiding our relief ministry. We found people from every nation coming to our doors – many of whom would not enter a church for any other reason. Tons of food, clothing, diapers, and other supplies were given out. More than 2,000 families were interviewed. Nearly 150 children attended our four-week program of summer day camps.
Hundreds were counseled and Bibles and other Christian literature were handed out. We shared the only hope that can lift all burdens – the hope we have in Christ.
— Chris Evangelista is an associate Pastor of NorthLife Fellowship Baptist Church in Fort McMurray, AB. Over $250,000 was raised through the Fellowship National in order to fund the development and operation of Nostco.