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As was her custom, Lisbett Fabian was praying in the sanctuary of Puente de Fe (Bridge of Faith) at 2:00 a.m. on Monday, October 9, 2017. Puente de Fe was a young church plant in the Santa Rosa area that Lisbett and her husband, Dr. Julio Fabian, had launched under the covering of Dan Slater, lead pastor of The Bridge of Faith in Hayward, California, and the Fabians’ mentor. At that hour of day Lisbett was surprised to get a message on her phone from a church member and learned that the member had been evacuated due to the fires in the city of Santa Rosa. Lisbett invited the member to come to the church for shelter and then called Julio.

When Julio got to the door of the church, he could see the fire and resulting explosions. He said, “It was an apocalyptic scene. There was chaos in the streets. People were running around, shouting frantically at each other. Some had already come to the church parking lot, fear evident on their faces. I did my best to help keep people calm. Coming from the medical profession, I’ve been trained to deal with traumatic situations.”

Julio trusted that God wouldn’t allow the fire to touch the church or their neighbors’ homes. He said, “Although I could see that the fire was spreading and the explosions were more frequent, I felt the peace of God in my person.”

An hour after the Fabians first received the news about the fire, church members and other neighbors began to arrive at the church, which the Fabians converted into a space of refuge. The group locked hands together and prayed. The group witnessed the power of God. The church was left untouched by the fire and was excluded from the evacuation zone.

“I told the congregation that my faith in Jesus Christ gave me the certainty to know that nothing would happen to us,” Julio said. “It was a big challenge to know how to act in a catastrophe of great proportions, but God knew how we could be a blessing for those who needed it. We have received donations from both Open Bible Churches and the Pacific Planting Network, the region’s church planting arm, which allowed us to serve more than 30 families with 425 meals, diapers, and more than $1,700 in housing services. I also appreciate my wife, who, thanks to her time of prayer, was alert during this time of crisis when we needed it the most.”

Dan Slater said, “The Santa Rosa fires presented Pastors Julio and Lisbett Fabian an opportunity to open their doors to a community in shock and pain. They provided a safe place, love, and comfort to those who had suffered such loss. It was so gratifying to see them rise to the challenge.”

Rev. Jim Pluimer, Open Bible’s District Director for Northern California, said, “Dr. Fabian and Lisbett are highly educated and are very sensitive to people’s needs. They are compassionate and motivated about winning people to Jesus.”

Members of Puente de Fe (Bridge of Faith) provide food, shelter, and prayer for fire victims:

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