Mannford Parishioners Use Their Faith To Fight Fire's Flames


Sunday, August 12th 2012, 8:54 pm
By: Tess Maune


Last week's wildfires scored nearly 60,000 acres and left a couple hundred families without homes.

Those flames are still fresh on the minds of many, but residents of Creek County are ready to rise from the ashes by looking to a higher power to prevail.

On a Sunday morning in the small town of Mannford, it's not hard to find a place to worship or a welcoming smile.

It was no different this Sunday at Lake Church.

The auditorium was packed, spirits were high and the message was clear.

"The crisis came to our front door," the minister said. "The church has to answer, and if Jesus meant anything when he said the things that he said in Matthew 24, we must prepare for a future filled with crisis. We are the answer. The local church is the hope of the world."

See full coverage of Oklahoma Wildfires

Over the past week, the walls between congregations seemed to have burned with the wildfire, bringing the community closer than ever.

"For me, it restored my faith in human beings that we have that love and that compassion that we need," parishioner Lela Haase said.

Burned up metal and a field of ashes is all that's left of the Haase home.

Everything they'd worked for is gone.

And through the tears of exhaustion, there's a fire that burns within this family that's hotter than the one that destroyed their belongs.

"One of our things is, prefer others before ourselves and there's families out there that lost so much more than us," Bob Haase said.

Bob Haase is an associate pastor with Lake Church and through his own personal crisis, he put his grief aside to give back, volunteering for days with his family, he says, to show others the love of God.

"My job was to feel welcome and to have a smile on my face," Bob Haase said. "It wasn't about my tragedy. They were going through their own."

The Haase's were able to sift through the ashes and find a few of their most precious possessions. A purity ring just given to their daughter, Naomi, and a nativity scene that's traveled the world.

The most important thing they say they found through all of this? Hope for a new season and the strength to move on.

"We can cry all day and it's not gonna bring it back, so we just have to move forward and count our blessings and there's plenty, plenty of them," Lela Haase.

To donate to fire victims go to the Lake Church website.