Large billows of smoke rising over the Carmel Ridge. You can judge their size by comparing to a fire fighters' plane that is seen as a little dot in mid-air.
Last week Israel faced a challenge on the scale unseen in its history - fires engulfing Jerusalem, Zichron Yakov, Haifa, Nahariya and many other places. The largest and most damaging fire outbreak occured in Haifa. As fires spread rapidly in several areas of the city - the third largest in Israel - 11 neighborhoods had to be evacuated, schools and roads closed and public transport services suspended, with thousands of people caught in terrible traffic jams, trying to enter or exit the city. Many had to walk for over an hour to get home through smoke-filled areas.
You have of course read and seen many media reports of what was going on as hundreds of fire fighters, rescue and medical personnel, policemen, Home Front personnel, volunteers fought with the fire, directed traffic, treated people for injuries and smoke inhalation, patrolled deserted areas, distributed water and food, etc. It's impossible to adequately describe everything that was happening all over the land during those several horrific days.
By now all the fires in Haifa have been extinguished. Almost 2,000 people are homeless and hundreds more suffered significant damages. Thousands of acres of forest and bush land is burnt. Tomorrow Mayor of Haifa is holding a meeting with the residents of the city to brief them on how to move forward.
Out of all the horror, grief, hardship and loss came stories of how God cares and protects His own.
One of Home's former workers told how the fire came to her apartment building. The ravine on one side was completely burnt down. All the cars parked on the other side went up in flames. All other apartments in the same building we totally destroyed by fire and are uninhabitable now. Only her apartment remained untouched. The only damage was the heat from the flames melting two plastic chairs on her balcony.
When fires broke out in Zichron Yakov, people were trapped inside the town for many hours, helplessly watching as fire devoured one building after another. But when it came close to the home of one of our workers, the wind suddenly changed direction and fire started moving away!
We are grateful to have such a faithful God! We are thankful for all who prayed and those who helped in any way. We praise God that our Home was far out of the flames' path and that no other elderly home or hospital were affected. Now we pray for restoration - physical and spiritual. Our God shall supply all our needs according to His riches in glory!