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May 4, 2016
Sheldon Neil

A massive wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alberta has forced 80,000 people out of the area in the largest fire evacuation in the province's history. Musician Karla Adolphe lives in High River, Alberta. When the 2013 flood hit, her family lost their home and were forced to evacuate. No stranger to the impact of a natural disaster, we reached Karla for her insights on the situation. 

Sheldon@CONTEXT: Raging wildfire in Fort McMurray, has escalated to the entire city being evacuated, making it the largest wildfire evacuation in Alberta’s history. You’re from High River, Alberta. As a fellow Albertan hearing of the devastation in Fort McMurray, what comes to mind? Give us a picture of what many Albertans are feeling.

My heart breaks for everyone in Fort MacMurray, the images and stories have instigated a beautiful rallying effect within Alberta and beyond and I love seeing how kind, resilient and fiercely generous Albertans and others are towards those in crisis.  I am full of feelings of both pride and empathy.

Sheldon@CONTEXT: In 2013, you lost your home, were forced to evacuate and later returned to rebuild, after the devastating flood that hit High River, and surrounding communities. For families, who were forced to evacuate Fort McMurray, what type of support do these families need to recover from such an ongoing ordeal?

There are two stages of support, the first is immediate, helping folks find the basics, spending extra time lending a hand, lots of hugs, prayer and comfort are all really helpful in the immediate moments of shock and sadness.  Secondarily, offering a listening ear, a helping hand and tangible grace as the toll of rebuilding is so exhausting and will effect each individual differently.  Lastly, direct financial donations to individuals affected by the fire are so incredibly helpful.

Sheldon@CONTEXT: Your personal relationship with Christ, was an incredible source of strength for you and your family, after losing everything. How does a relationship with Christ help bring restoration and strength when facing something as life-changing as we're currently seeing in For McMurray?

I will share the phrase that kept me afloat:

"Suffering, although painful and confusing, is the goodness of God in your life".  All things will be made new because there is a pursuing God who ordained you to be with Him in this very moment.  His presence in the midst of chaos is sure and it will come both as a loud voice and a tiny whisper,  just take it a moment at a time and lean into Him.

Sheldon@CONTEXT: Knowing what it means to face extreme crisis, what words of encouragement and support would you offer the many residents of Fort McMurray facing devastation right now? 

 "Give it two years.” This phrase was bittersweet for me, but entirely true, and helped me have courage when the road felt very long.  Be kind to yourself, your family and your kids, take time to go see a movie together and trust in the bonds that are being created not broken by this tragedy.  Lastly, you are not alone, you will feel highs and lows of support, but when it wanes, just reach out, you are not alone.


Ah Karla, who would have thought your loss in the flood would now be applied, so soon, to another natural disaster in Alberta - thank you for reminding us of the tenderness needed, and ... the time. We are praying for all involved.
May 4, 2016 | Lorna Dueck

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