Images of the wildfire and the destruction left behind.

© Premier of Alberta | flickr.com

You Are My Peace

October 02, 2016

Miraculous protection during the 2016 Fort McMurray, Alberta, wildfire is just one of this Canadian pastor’s many answers to prayer.

By Marjorie Reid

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God is the Rock of my salvation, and He has shown Himself strong on my behalf for many years. Jesus found me in July of 1958 when I was five years old. I was not looking for Him, but He was looking for me.

My parents were not Christians at the time, but a minister from the Apostolic Faith Church came to visit in our home in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. He lived the Gospel and had a holy boldness to ask if he could pray while he was there. Through that, God sent His Spirit to speak to my young heart. 

Shortly after that minister’s visit, our family left for a fishing trip. Instead of going to the lake, however, we ended up at an Apostolic Faith Church over one hundred miles from our home. That night after the service, my parents went forward to pray, and I went with them. I do not remember what I prayed, but the Lord saved me, and I felt the change in my heart. God saved my parents also, and that gave me the privilege to be raised in the Gospel from then on. 

As a child, I watched as the Lord did many wonderful things in our home. Once when I had a skin disease, the doctors could find no cure. The problem grew worse, but when God’s people gathered and prayed for me, the Lord came down in our living room and healed me.

ielding everything to the Lord

Throughout my childhood, God grew more precious to me. He placed a love for the truth in my heart and gave me strength and courage to dare to be different and to live my testimony. He never failed me, but in my senior year of high school my commitment needed to be renewed. Midway through that year, God helped me admit my need. On January 31, 1971, I yielded everything to the call of the Spirit, and the Blood of Jesus washed over my soul. The joy of restoration flooded my heart.

After graduating from high school, the Lord continued to be my Counselor. He kept me living for Him at my employment and gave me a wonderful husband. We have been serving the Lord together for forty-four years. 

God showed me my need for sanctification, and when I poured out my heart to Him, He gave me that experience. The sun was shining brightly that day, but it could not compare to what had happened in my heart. It felt so clean and pure!

God caused me to be more hungry for Him, and for five months, while we lived in northern Newfoundland, I desperately sought God. Many times it was hard to wait for a church service to end so I could go forward and pray. One Wednesday afternoon God gave me a promise: “The husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth...until he receive the early and latter rain” (James 5:7). I took that from the Lord and said, “God, I know that You will fill me.”

The power of the Holy Spirit touched me from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet. I was saturated with the power of God.

That Sunday when I prayed at church, I praised and thanked God. The power of the Holy Spirit touched me from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet. I was saturated with the power of God, and I began to praise Him in another language. Thank God for that day when He gave me the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Some months later, we moved back to our home in Corner Brook, and before long, the Lord placed a call on my life to enter the ministry. I thought I could never tell this to anyone, but God did not need me to tell. He gave me privileges, one by one, to work in the Gospel. There was no Apostolic Faith Church in Corner Brook, but we began a Sunday school in my parents’ home. When my husband and I had our own house, we had a chapel in our basement for many years until we dedicated a new church.

Answer to prayer at home

God performed miracles for us. Before our last child was born, the doctors said his heart rate had gone down so low that they did not think he would live. He survived the delivery, but then they thought he had many complications. I poured out my heart to the Lord, and He touched that baby. In four days, when I went home from the hospital, he went home also.

We did not know how we would make it financially. We prayed, and the Lord reminded me of the verse, “If God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

One time my husband had to take a cut in income, and he had been making barely enough money for our family’s needs. In addition, he had gone back to school to further his education. We did not know how we would make it financially. We prayed, and the Lord reminded me of the verse, “If God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” (Matthew 6:30). I began to praise God for His goodness toward us, and knew that the Lord would work out everything. And He did. That evening, I was offered a job doing office work in our home. I could take care of our three boys, and the work paid fourfold the amount that my husband’s income had been reduced.

Over the years, God has always been there. He is real, and He is present in every circumstance. Proverbs 3:6 says, “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” God has certainly done that for us. We have lived in various cities because of the Gospel work, and He has helped everywhere. 

Wildfire strikes Fort McMurray on May 3, 2016

Our home since 2011 has been Fort McMurray, Alberta. In May of 2016, God miraculously spared our lives there. The believers in our church at Fort McMurray felt the need to draw closer to God, and throughout the month of April 2016, we set aside special time for prayer. There was an urgency to seek God. After those thirty days of prayer, on Sunday evening, May 1, as we knelt for prayer before the service began, the Spirit of God came down in a mighty way. As the prelude was played, it was evident we were sitting with God in heavenly places, and the singing and testimonies felt inspired. 

Near the end of the testimony time, one lady stood to testify, and her soul was so overwhelmed with the presence of God that she said, “Why don’t you just stand and help me praise God.” The Spirit  came down and no words could explain the glory and the awe as the presence of the Lord filled the church. It was truly a service that will be long remembered.

When it came time for us to leave the church, it was evident that something was burning outside. There is only one highway that exits Fort McMurray, and our home was on the southern side of the city. When we arrived there, we learned that the residents of our Beacon Hill neighborhood had been asked to voluntarily evacuate. We assessed the situation, prayed, and felt safe to stay. Monday the evacuation was lifted, and it seemed we were not in any danger. Tuesday morning, May 3, was a beautiful morning—not a cloud in the sky, no smell of smoke, and no sign of fire. 

We thought clouds were rolling in. However, when we drove into the cloud, we realized it was smoke, and then we saw flames nearby that were going hundreds of feet into the air.

My husband had been working on our car, and I had an appointment at noon that day, so he came home and took me. After the appointment, we went to lunch. Fort 
McMurray does not get a lot of rain, but when we finished eating, we noticed the sky was getting dark. We thought clouds were rolling in. However, when we drove into the cloud, we realized it was smoke, and then we saw flames nearby that were going hundreds of feet into the air. 

When we arrived at our house, my husband said, “You had better start packing up some things,” so I boxed up some of the church files. Being a woman, I started to clean out a pot of rice on the stove. My husband said, “You don’t have time!” and I heard the urgency in his voice. He took me to a window and said, “Look out there. We’ve got to go! Just grab some clothes.” He went to the garage and got some of our old photo albums. As we left, I stood by the step into our entryway and said twice, “Jesus, I don’t want to lose everything.” Outside the door as I pushed the lock, I said, “But You are my Peace.” 

By the time we got into our truck, the houses behind ours were on fire, and the roads were total gridlock. Everywhere there were vehicles and people trying to get out of the burning neighborhood. It was a beautiful area with trees down the side of the highway, but they were all on fire. In all the chaos, someone courteously let us out of our driveway. There was a greenway in front of our house, and my husband drove through it to get out. 

When we arrived at the traffic light to enter Highway 63, the only way out of the city, everything was blocked. Suddenly, a transformer blew up to the left of us. The policeman who was directing traffic probably wondered if he would be alive in the next minutes. In that moment of time, he was distracted, and I said, “Edwin, go, go!” and we were able to get onto the highway. Two hotels were totally engulfed in flames, we could hear explosions, and black smoke was billowing all around. In every direction there was fire, gridlock, and fear on people’s faces. Some were fleeing by foot. We prayed, “God, get us out alive!” 

The Lord was our Deliverer. He miraculously protected us and our church people. Over 89,000 people escaped from the Fort McMurray area, and there were no deaths related to the fire. The church building that we had been renting was not burned. The church parsonage, which was our home, was burned to the ground, but God got us out. Had my husband not come home to take me to the appointment, I would have needed to escape on foot. The Lord was watching out for me.

God is everything! He meets our every need, and I give Him all the praise.

Update by Marjorie Reid 

Early in June, Fort McMurray residents began to return home in stages. Business owners and those who lived in areas not heavily damaged were among the first who were allowed to return. Residents were encouraged to come and get some personal belongings and leave again until the city could return to some kind of normal. Those from heavily damaged areas were permitted to view their property after clearing the security check points. 

It was good to be home, but being surrounded by the devastation of our neighborhood brought a real moment of truth—some things in our lives had drastically changed.

Entering the city the first time after the fire was emotional. There were many “Welcome Home Fort McMurray” signs placed along Highway 63. Fire Fighters and first responders waved flags and shouted “Welcome home!” Truly it was a day of mixed emotions. It was good to be home, but being surrounded by the devastation of our neighborhood brought a real moment of truth—some things in our lives had drastically changed. 

In the midst of all that, it felt somewhat consoling just to stand where our home had been. We had many emotions as we looked over the property and felt both comfort and loss. 

Little by little, our city is being renewed. The water supply has been restored to most of the city. The hospital is reopened. Business services are reduced but available. The city recently announced they are bringing in temporary housing for those who lost their homes and have not found a place to live. Edwin and I found a place to rent and are partly moved in. Recent statistics showed that 61,000 are in the city now. We recently received the permit to begin the cleanup of the church property on Beacon Hill Drive where the parsonage was located. 

The church where we worship was totally safe with nothing lost. We are all happy to be home to worship together, and it is our prayer we will see revival. 

About the author

Marjorie Reid is the pastor of the Apostolic Faith Church in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.