Late last night I got a text from a church member in our Lahaina ward checking in to make sure we were OK.
I thanked him and told him we were taken care of.
Only today did I think to look up his address…
He was checking in on me after his house had completely burned down. pic.twitter.com/ypxiVfit8U
— Austen Allred (@Austen) August 10, 2023
The island of Maui was recently gripped by a series of devastating fires that led to the evacuation of around 500 Latter-Day Saints from their homes. In the face of this crisis, the local chapels and community rallied together to provide shelter and support, showcasing the strength of unity during trying times.
The Maui Fires: An Unforeseen Catastrophe
The Maui fires, ignited by a combination of dry conditions and high winds caused by Hurricane Dora (which passed by far south of the island), quickly escalated into an uncontrollable inferno. Families, including many Latter-Day Saints, found themselves in harm’s way as the flames advanced. The urgency of the situation prompted swift evacuation orders, leaving individuals with the difficult task of leaving behind their homes and possessions.
In times of crisis, unity becomes a lifeline. The evacuation efforts were a true testament to the strength of the Latter-Day Saints community in Maui. Neighbors helped neighbors, ensuring that everyone had a safe place to go. The shared bonds of faith and kinship brought people together, reinforcing the importance of supporting one another in times of need.
Chapels Turned Shelters: A Testament to Resilience
As the fires raged on, local chapels opened their doors to provide refuge to those displaced by the disaster. These places of worship transformed into shelters, offering not only physical safety but also a sense of solace and community. The selflessness displayed by volunteers and members of the Latter-Day Saints community highlighted the resilience that emerges when people come together for a common cause.
Amidst the uncertainty, faith played a pivotal role in providing comfort and hope. The Latter-Day Saints community drew strength from their beliefs, finding solace in the teachings of their faith. Prayer circles, support groups, and spiritual guidance became essential pillars of support, helping individuals cope with the emotional toll of the disaster.
As the community rebuilds, the bonds forged amidst the crisis will undoubtedly serve as a foundation for a brighter future.
Latter-day Saints in Maui are assisting charitable organizations in the recovery. Two meetinghouses in the Kahului and Kahului West Stakes are serving as temporary shelters with water, hot meals and other necessities — all available for anyone, regardless of religious affiliation. Church members are also delivering baby formula, canned food, propane, gasoline and other critical supplies to people in need.
Latter-day Saint families are opening their homes to people displaced by the wildfires. In addition, Church leaders are actively working to secure alternate shelter options.
Supplies from the bishops’ storehouse in Honolulu are en route to Maui. Additional support from Church headquarters will arrive in the coming days.