RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) – Pastor Scott Craig with Landmark Community Church in Rapid City has been watching the devastating wildfires that have consumed the Hawaiian Island of Maui since Tuesday. For 11 years, he was a pastor at a church in Lahaina, the historic town that’s now burned.
“Overnight we saw the reports and even received some communications, as intermittent as they came because of cell phone service and power being down there in the islands, seeing how people were fleeing the flames. They were out in the ocean trying to get away from downtown Lahaina, historic Lahaina, as it was on fire,” Craig said.
He says it was difficult to watch the place where his kids grew up burn to the ground, but also emotional to know the people he still knew and loved in Hawaii were dealing with the devastation.
“We saw the places that were so familiar to us and it was home for us but it is home for them. And it’s everything from the favorite hangouts to the markets to other churches, other pastors that I know,” Craig said. “They’ve lost their churches, they’ve lost their homes and we know personally a high number of people who’ve lost everything. They escaped literally with the clothes on their back.”
In an effort to try and help the people of Maui, Craig and a friend from his former church in Hawaii created Team Ikaika Maui (Team Maui Strong).
“It was the two of us who primarily to develop this team. Also joining the team is a former assistant pastor of mine from when I was there as the pastor of that church. Then a number of other folks, select individuals, those that have means, very well connected to be a part of this very important team,” Craig said.
The team is sending ten nurses from Rapid City and California down to Maui to stage an emergency clinic just north of the affected area in Kahana.
“And it’s especially needed because the one hospital there, Maui Memorial Hospital, is overwhelmed and overrun with burn victims. So this team is very important,” Craig said.
They are also working with local farm on the island to create a mobile kitchen. Craig says they have chefs on their way to feed the displaced families.
“We also have been accumulating clothes, gift items, first aid, personal items that are going to be shipped over there immediately and we hope to be there to receive them ourselves. We’ll have team members distribute those items to the locals,” Craig said.
The team of nurses leaves on May 18th, Craig hopes to join them by the end of next week.
“It’s a time to be generous, this is the time to sacrifice,” Craig said. “We’re talking one-way tickets. We don’t know how long we’re going to be there and we’ll stay until we need to return.”
If you’d like to make a financial donation to team, you can do so by visiting the church’s website.