Wednesday, October 31, 2007

BLAZING STORIES: Rekindled Faith

Larry Espiritu didn't panic when the fires started near his home. Instead of running away and quickly carting off his belongings, he started videotaping the blaze. In his words below, he explains why and how he knew he will be safe.

The Santa Clarita fire, which burned down 38,000 acres and destroyed 21 homes last week, was believed to have been started by a boy playing with matches. The dry conditions brought on by Santa Ana winds helped spread the fire quickly. - Yong B. Chavez, FilipinOnline

"There were seven fires in Santa Clarita Valley alone; Agua Dulce, Lake Piru , Saugus & Canyon Country on Sunday, the 21st of Oct. and Magic Mountain , Westridge & Newhall on Monday the 22nd.

The fire on Monday morning started close to Six Flags Magic Mountain and was just a few blocks away from my house. Since there were several fires the day before and already turned several houses into ashes, my neighbors were panicking, with cell phones on their hands talking and taking important documents into their cars out of their garages getting ready to evacuate.

Instead of me doing the same thing as they were, my strong faith in God that I just strengthened over the last few years taught me how to remain calm and confident in times like this. Thinking that the Lord will spare my house, I grabbed my video camera and decided to record the fire instead. But when I was walking towards my van which was parked in front of my house, I could feel the droplets of hot ashes in the air and some neighbors started crying. That made me feel nervous a little bit and hesitated to do the video taping, and I was gonna go back to my house to get ready for the evacuation.

At that point the wind blew so hard at me like it was telling me not to worry about it because it was driving the fire away from my house. So I did, I drove my van to the best spot and started to tape pretty much of it. All along the video taping, patrol cars and fire trucks were going nuts around the neighborhood and the fires already spread to Stevenson Ranch. There were still a chance that the wind direction may shift anytime but I was not worried at all. I didn’t even call my wife at work nor my son who was at his girlfriend’s house, to go home despite all of all chaos.

I finished the tape at about 7:00 p.m., about the same time when the fire was fully contained. By then, the wind shifted its direction towards my house and I didn’t like the smell.

The lesson that I learned on that day was that faith alone doesn’t move mountain: It’s wisdom and faith. When I told this to my friends, they can’t understand my rhetoric.

Some of them even thought that I’m using God in my publicity gimmick to serve my own purpose in YouTube. Those are the friends that haven’t seen my YouTube profile. Once they saw it, only then will they realize that I have other decent purpose and not just greed or self-satisfaction. Each one of us may have been called by God to do something for Him. My call is to promote wisdom and I use YouTube as one of my medium to promote it. Lot of people may believe in Him and others even think that they have strong faith on Him and that should be good enough to live fully and get saved at the end. Faith alone is meaningless without wisdom. Obeying The Ten Commandments is impossible without wisdom. Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Wisdom is the love and respect of all His creations so wisdom and God is synonymous. God knows my faith on Him and He also knows how I’m trying to understand wisdom and He is guiding me."

- Larry Espiritu, Santa Clarita, CA

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