LAHAINA, Maui – Lahaina faces an uncertain future following the Aug. 8 wildfire that consumed the town. As survivors continue reckoning with the series of chaotic events that generated one of the deadliest wildfires in U.S. history, local pastors and residents are asking what it will take to persevere through the tragedy.
The latest official death count reached 114, but with roughly 850 people unaccounted for, the toll may climb to multiple hundreds.
Erik Naylor, a Send Network church planter, arrived on Maui back in December 2022 to be sent out of Lahaina Baptist Church to help a core group grow into a new congregation in the community. He and his family were renting a home in Lahaina, and the home and most of their belongings were lost.
“In the early afternoon, our cell phone service went out. The Wi-Fi went out, so we didn’t have any communication,” Naylor said. “Probably around 2 or 3, all of Front Street is burning down, but we didn’t know it. We were walking distance from Front Street. We just didn’t realize it was that bad.”
Right before they left, they walked across a field toward Lahaina Baptist Church and saw the massive cloud of smoke. His neighbor and fellow church member, Todd, went over and prayed for the church building, which miraculously survived the fire.
God has provided the Naylor family with temporary housing through a believer on the island opening their home for the next few weeks. Now as they help their own family of seven get back on its feet and into school, Naylor and his wife Danni have continued ministering to their community by engaging others and sharing the Gospel.
Published August 30, 2023