Michele Porzio - September 2011
I am not very good at keeping it down to just a few words, but I will try. Please bear with me. It has been a true godly adventure and a fantastic faith builder for me and my house.
On 9/07/11, at around 11:00 a.m., I had been out watering my garden. I caught a whiff of smoke, but I could find no source and, as we have been having a lot of wildfires recently on both sides of the Columbia River this summer, we get smoke coming our way now and again. I just prayed that we were protected and I went about my day. About 1:00, one of my kids called me from Arlington, the Oregon side of the Columbia, and asked, "Mom, did you know there is a fire burning just above you on Satus Pass?" I had not heard anything except for the Internet. I have no real outside news, radio nor television. A couple of our other kids live up here next to us out here in the backwoods. We talked to the neighbors and found out that the fire was burning pretty good up Highway 97 and moving out our way. We (my family) began to pray for protection and passover for the Box Canyon that so many live in. As the day wore on, I could see the smoke rising up on the west side of us getting larger as it moved south and parallel to our property. It was about five miles away now. We have lots of piney forest out here and it has been a very hot, dry summer. During all of this we had no smoke and our skies were clear and the air was clean as well. And so it went all through the day.
My husband came home an hour early just in case, but again we were in the clear and though we talked about evacuating, we seemed to be okay and left it at that. Although my husband over the years has always respected my beliefs, he has always just left that part to me and the Lord. Around 7:00 pm that evening, my son who had called from Arlington earlier in the day while he was at work, had grabbed a friend and came out to help us pack up because he had heard from his local firefighter friends that they were getting ready to evacuate us. We told him that we were fine and I said that I did not believe the Lord would let anything happen to this land that we live on because the Lord owned all of it and that He had built this as an Ark for the days ahead and that He would not let it burn. My son was very worried and said, "Mom, you have not seen this thing; it's a monster. The fire marshal was just up the road and they are declaring mandatory evacuations". We said, "Okay, IF they tell us we have to leave, then I will go". So I went ahead and finished up my evening chores and went to start a late dinner. I invited them, but by now it was 9:00 pm or so and they were going to go back to town where they live. Just as they were pulling out, the fire marshal pulled in and told us it was mandatory. Truly I was shocked. I had not prepared for the Lord to move me. I had packed nothing.
My husband and I had already decided that the only truly important things were the stock, our pets and a few family pictures which were already packed from painting the room they go in. We ran around both properties grabbing the pets and getting the kids loaded up, then we caravanned out through the darkness and the smoke. Going into town from the back way takes over an hour and it is all unpaved mountain back road. As we drove over the top of the ridge and looked back at Three Creeks, we could see the fire. It was huge and all I could do was ask the Lord, "What is going on?" I felt in my spirit that I and my family had to experience what it is like to leave it all behind and only depend upon Him, to lay all that you have built at His feet, once again knowing that all of it belongs to Him Who gave it.
We got to my son's house in town and unloaded in the dark and got squared away for the night. Just before we all went to bed, I asked my son if I might pray about all these circumstances. He too respects my beliefs, but does not go there. He said yes. This praying out loud with several family members who are not yet walking with the Lord was a new experience. The Holy Spirit took over and for some minutes prayed for the Ark that the Lord is building - Goshen - and that we would see His hand of protection for the Canyon. Stepping out and proclaiming what the Lord has promised is scary when everyone and everything is shouting the bad report and that the enemy is at the very gates. Truly for the next day and Friday, nearly all reports were bad, but every time my husband and one of the boys would go back into the canyon through the back way, until they closed it down, so that they could check on the stock, our place was smoke-free, quiet and peaceful.
We finally came home yesterday around noon. They had not given the all clear, but for some reason they never stopped us as we drove through the "road closed" signs and went back into the canyon. It had been so hard to breathe in town earlier in the day and yet at home it was so much cleaner. I was praising and thanking the Lord and so were my daughter and her husband because the Lord had protected the canyon so well. The next thing, we started to get calls that for the umpteenth time the fire had turned and was trying once again to come back on us. We again prayed, rebuking the fire and the wind died down almost immediately. The smoke cleared off within a couple of hours. We have had clean air ever since.
Those of my children who are learning to walk in the Way saw once again the hand of God working on their behalf, and the others in my family now have another even more overwhelming testimony to the saving grace of a loving Father, knowing that we never had to leave, but that the Lord was working out a testimony and a faith builder for a whole bunch of people through this fire.
The fire burned through the canyon like a snake and it kept trying to come back at us over the ridge from four or five different directions. In fact, it has burned a swath around us over 4000 or 5000 acres! It is 10:00 Saturday morning and I can see and hear helicopters off toward the south of us still. My husband and I have pretty much lived a wilderness lifestyle most of our married lives. I grew up that way. I believe that the Lord has shown me that now, for my family and I, our door to the wilderness is opening very wide, that the time for our Goshen to fill is soon. I do not know how the Lord will put all these things together, but I know that His hand covers us. We serve an awesome Father. Praise Him. Thank you, Lord, for being my life. Amen.