May 22, 2014

Close to home

Right now there is a huge forest fire in Arizona. It's estimated size is 5000 acres! The "Slide" fire as it has been named has put up a fight and refused to be extinguished! I pray for those fighting the fire and for those who's lives it is affecting.
The first forest fire that effected me was when I was in high school and holds a special place in my heart. It taught me a life changing lesson. My brothers and I had gotten home from school and we were doing homework, watching tv or relaxing. There had been an orange haze and had smelled like smoke all day. The fire had been inching towards my little home town slowly. Normally fires are well contained before they reach Flagstaff, but this was one was not giving up. I would open the door every now and then to see what was going on and I remember smelling so much smoke I could breath without coughing and looking up and the sun was red and the sky was thick and orange. I closed the door and turned on the fans in the house so the house wouldn't heat up since we couldn't open the windows, (we didn't have air conditioning,most of flagstaff doesn't). Not long after the power went off, and I started to worry how could I call my mom at work, should we be worrying about what's going on outside, is my house going to burn down. I took a deep breath and said a short pray for guidance. Instantly I remembered that my parents had a phone that didn't require electricity and called my mom. She told us not to worry and we would be fine, then said she had to go but would be home as soon as she can (working at a hotel, during a fire can be pretty busy). About 30 minutes later I felt this feeling in my stomach and knew we needed to leave our house. I told myself no we are fine, the fire is far from us and we would be safe. Then again a felt uneasy and prompted get your brothers in the car and go see mom. I knew in my heart that the spirit was speaking to me and I needed to listen. I told my brothers to put some shoes on and that we were going to see mom at work, just to see what was going on. Erik and Tyler listened and Ian said he was just going to stay home, I told him we should all go, but of course being a teenage boy and not seeing the whole situation, he stayed behind. So Erik, Tyler and myself all drove out of our neighborhood. We passed police cars and barricades closing the roads, I then realized the neighborhood was being evacuated. I started to worry, and that uneasy feeling in my stomach came back and said this is serious you need to get Ian. So I told an officer my address and that my brother was at home and I needed to get him. He wouldn't let me go back in the neighborhood but sent an officer to check the house. I waited for what felt like ages. He returned and said no one was at the house. I entered full on panic mode. Wondering what I should do again I was prompted, he is okay, just go.
So my two brothers and I drove down the road to the hotel where my mom worked and pulled up, instantly I saw my dads car with both of my parents nearby. I instantly told my mom i didn't know where Ian was and I left him there. She said not to worry and he was okay. Apparently she had heard that our neighborhood was being evacuated and her boss gave her his keys and told her to go home and pick up her kids. She came to our house right after we left and picked up Ian and beat us back to the hotel. We stayed the night at the hotel and waited until late the next day when we were given the okay to go home.
My family was safe, our house was still there, no one was hurt, everything was okay. I am so thankful that I was able to notice the spirit speaking to me and that I chose to listen. Fires are scary, dangerous and can destroy lives in minuets until someone takes control and are extinguished. Like a fire can destroy homes and lives, so can satan. He is dangerous and will not stop until someone takes control. With the help of Heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost we can learn to extinguish Satan in our lives and homes, so we can return to live with our Heavenly Father. I am grateful for what happened so long ago, I learned to listen to the spirit and watched how it can help me make the right choices.

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