Several forest fires have been burning in Sicily, Italy, in recent weeks. According to local church leaders, Saturday, August 3, 2019, was a sad Sabbath for the Seventh-day Adventist church in Monreale, a town near Palermo, the capital city of Sicily.
“A terrible fire broke out last night and destroyed the mountain above the town, attacking the homes of three families of our church,” said Constantin Dinca, director of the Sicilian Field of the Italian Union of Churches administrative region. “The fire burned one of the houses to the ground and rendered the other two unusable,” he added.
Dinca said it is a sad state of affairs, as all that they worked for their whole life disappeared in what he called “a nightmare of a night and flames, where tears mixed with dust and smoke.”
Nevertheless, Dinca added that since the news broke, as local church leaders, they have “no words other than the encouragement found in Deuteronomy 31:8, which we have been telling ourselves since last night.” And he quoted, “The Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed” (NKJV).
Arson is suspected in the fires that flared up around Palermo simultaneously, according to Sicily forest rangers. On the island, the flames burned 356 hectares of Mediterranean scrub in just three days. Sixty hectares of woods, three houses, and an unspecified number of cars are the primary damage from the fires around Monreale on Friday night, August 2. Local officials reported that some of the 70 evacuees have already returned to their homes.
“We thank God that the Adventist families and all the residents of the town are safe,” Dinca said. “We also thank God for the firefighters and the volunteers who worked throughout the night tirelessly.”
Dinca called on church members to pray for and support the Adventist families and others’ rebuilding efforts.
“Now, it is necessary to rebuild. The affected families built their only asset with difficulty and sacrifices. We especially need your prayers and thank you for your support,” he said.