Paradise Lost and Found

Episode #22: Published April 22, 2019

Stories in this episode—from the campfire in Paradise, CA: Charelle watches from afar as fire engulfs the town she grew up in and finds comfort in the things she didn’t see; Bryant follows a seemingly hopeless prompting only to discover the real reason God sent him into the fire; Emily and her family narrowly escape danger while trying to find one another in the chaos and reunite to a new future.

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Full Podcast Transcription

KaRyn Lay: Did you know that reviews on iTunes helped new people find the podcasts that inspire you most? Well, they do. So if you found something valuable in the stories that we share on this is the gospel, would you take a minute to rate our podcast and maybe even leave us a review on iTunes? Every written review helps us to show up in the search results for more people who could use a little bit of storytelling magic in their week. We really appreciate it!

Welcome to This Is the Gospel, an LDS Living podcast where we feature real stories from real people who are practicing and living their faith every day. I'm your host, KaRyn Lay. In November of 2018, I was mindlessly scrolling through Facebook as one does when I saw posts from a friend of mine that made me stop in my tracks. Charelle was someone I had known in my young single adult ward when I lived in Salt Lake City the very first time and, to be honest, I'd assumed she was from Utah. Like everyone else.

I had no idea that she was originally from California and now I was even more surprised to discover that she had grown up in the town of Paradise—a town that the world had just watched burn to the ground in less than 72 hours. Charelle's post was simple. She said, "Yesterday my hometown of Paradise was devastated by a fire. Everything is gone. The house I grew up in, the schools, churches, hospital. My heart is broken for that beautiful town."

For years social media has put disaster after disaster in front of us. There are earthquakes and tsunamis and mudslides—all of them devastating. But this was the first time that that disaster had truly affected someone I knew personally and it was sobering. 

A few weeks ago, our LDS Living team had the opportunity to travel to Paradise to gather some of the stories of survival and hope from that infamous Camp Fire. And as we drove through the town I was struck by the chaos and randomness of fire. We saw entire housing communities reduced to nothing but melted toys and ash and debris while community pools eerily stood filled with water as though a group of rowdy teenagers was about to hop a fence and start swimming.

Men and women in hazmat suits moved around the toxic, burned-out homes and businesses while right next door the Walgreens pharmacy looked completely untouched by the fire. It was really hard to imagine what Paradise might have looked like before that sweeping disaster.

So I asked Charelle to paint us a picture of the paradise she once knew.

Here's Charelle:

Charelle: When we moved to Paradise, California, it was a small town. They had just one movie theater, one bowling alley, one junior high, and one high school.

A large portion of Paradise was originally apple orchards and so every year they would have a fair called Johnny Appleseed Days to celebrate Paradise's apple heritage. And they'd have homemade apple pie and ice cream and the whole community would come and it was something looked forward to every year. Another event that they had in Paradise that I remember was the Gold Nugget Days. That was to celebrate the gold rush that had happened in that area and they'd have a big parade and they would crown a gold nugget queen. And people would dress up in period costume and they'd have costume contests. And I remember one year being in the parade as the baton twirler which I was very proud of. That was a fun time that the whole town was involved in.

When I think about Paradise, one of the things that really sticks out to me was the beauty of it. Paradise is spread out over a forested area and on a ridge between canyons formed by the Feather River on one side and Butte Creek. They had so many trees—it was so beautiful. They had huge Ponderosa pines and 300-year-old oak trees. And when we lived in Paradise we lived in two houses and I remember in the first house that we lived in it had this huge Ponderosa pine. And I don't know how they did it, but someone had gotten a swing on one of the branches and we would swing out over this gully and we would kick-off of the smaller trees on the other side of the gully and come swinging back.

They were just these huge beautiful trees. The oak trees were so large they would create kind of this canopy and in certain areas, it was like driving through a tunnel with light peeking through the leaves and it was so beautiful. There were rivers and lakes nearby and one of the rivers next to our house had this trail with flumes along the river and we would spend hours hiking along the river looking for the best swimming spots. There were trails all over the area and I spent a lot of time hiking with friends and family and those are some of my fondest memories.

There was so much wildlife in Paradise as well. We would frequently wake up to 10 or more deer in our yard. There were bears, mountain lions, frogs, deer, tons of monarch butterflies, and ladybugs and there was just so much wildlife in that area.

In fact, I remember one time babysitting in a particularly forested part of Paradise and having to rush the three kids that I was babysitting into the house because they had a bear in their yard.

So there was little to no light pollution so we could go out and see millions of stars and the Milky Way so clearly and on summer nights, especially in August during the Perseid meteor shower. We would take blankets and sleeping bags out onto our roof and watch hundreds of shooting stars. And really, the nature and beauty of Paradise always drew me back to that area.

The other thing about Paradise there were so many good people. It was a very religious town and there were churches on every street and corner it felt like of all kinds. And there were three wards there, which was a lot for a small town. And while I was there, the youth group was actually larger than it is here and my current Ward in Salt Lake City and it was a tight-knit group and definitely a ward family.

All these families contributed to me and my family and helped make me who I am today. And it was in Paradise where my testimony of the gospel really started to form. I remember being in a youth Sunday school and my teacher having a lesson on Joseph Smith, which I had probably heard a million times before. So I remember particularly, on that Sunday feeling a warm feeling and feeling happy. And I told my teacher I was feeling that way and she told me, "that is the Holy Ghost telling you that Joseph Smith is a prophet." And I knew it was true and having that experience helped me to recognize the spirit later in life because I remembered that that feeling.

When I first heard about the fire, I was hoping it was a smaller fire like previous ones. Then I got a phone call from my sister who lives in the neighboring town of Chico and she told me that most of the town had burned within four hours.

It was the most sinking feeling I've ever had. I remember one of the first images that I saw is a picture of the church building that I had gone to church in—the ward house—in flames and burning down. It's hard to explain how I felt but, I remember crying and I just remember all these memories came back. All of these events that had happened there and I just felt such a feeling of loss.

Almost everyone that I knew had lost everything their homes, everything. I mourned for those families and for all that they lost. And for the beauty that was lost in the fire.

Also, at the same time, I started hearing stories about all those who were helping and the tremendous outpouring of aid and kindness. And I heard also so many stories of miracles that happened to people. It was such a relief seeing the hand of the Lord helping the people of Paradise and to see the love that He has for all of his people.

KaRyn: Though many of us watched the fire happen in real time through media, the people of Paradise have their own stories to tell. And in this episode of the podcast, we get to hear from them. We've already heard from Charelle, who watched it from afar, but now we get to hear from Bryant and Emily who lived in Paradise. Bryant and Emily's experiences in the moments just before, during, and after the fire are vastly different from one another. But one thing is the same. They both say that they could feel the spirit of the Lord with them as they navigated the flames.

Our first story comes from Bryant. Bryant is a reserve deputy sheriff with the Butte County Sheriff's Office who is a first responder to the active disaster. He had an experience with the Spirit that blessed his life and the life of at least one other person that day. Here's Bryant.

Bryant: I'm a convert to the church and back in 1986, I took the lessons from the missionaries. My missionaries Elder Hall and Elder Wolf. On the first night—the first discussion when they were teaching me the gospel—I felt the spirit very profoundly and it was one of those just a profound moment. And I didn't know what it was, I didn't realize at the time, but when I felt that spirit I was instantly converted. And so when the elders asked me—they challenge me to baptism—of course, I said yes. I want this spirit with me all the time.

And you know, once you join the Church, you don't always get a double portion of the Spirit. You know, it would kind of defeat the purpose, I think. But I was always striving for that and I always hoped that I would have the spirit with me all the time and it finally happened when the fire came.

I was driving to Chico from my house the morning of the fire and I saw the giant plume of smoke across the valley across the river. And I've been up here for over 20 years and we've had many fires start on the other side of the river and conk out. When I heard the fire it was in Concow (across the river from Paradise).

I wasn't concerned because I've never seen the fire jump the river. And my buddy Joe gives me a call and he said, "Bryant, that fire jumped the river it's gone nuclear." Those are his words.

And when I heard that, I jumped the river. I knew this was gonna be a bad one. So I jumped in my car and I went straight back to my house in Paradise on the way up the hill. All the roadblocks had gone up. And by the time I got to Paradise, there was smoke, there was mass evacuations. It was, it was in full swing, the evacuation was in full swing, so I drove to my house and I put on my uniform and I just went straight to the nearest intersection by my house and I just started helping some of the other deputies who were already there directing traffic and at that point the traffic was completely gridlocked.

It was just packed because everyone was evacuating out of Paradise in McGillion. So I was at that intersection for, I don't know, three, four, or five hours. I can't remember exactly, but finally, the traffic cleared. And when the traffic cleared we could see the fire. It was 100 yards from us. It was. It was coming.

And so at that point, our sergeant said, "Ok. Traffic at the intersections cleared. Deploy." And the sergeant just started sending different people to different areas. So at that point, I partnered up with a guy and we just started evacuating—house to house, door to door, street to street, getting people out.

When I left my house that day, I didn't think for a second my house was going to burn up. But we're doing our evacuation and I saw someone that put a sprinkler on the roof and that's when I started thinking maybe I'm going to lose my house. So I told my partner, I said, "Hey, on our way home, I want to stop by my house and time in my house. Maybe we could save my house." A couple hours later, we were headed down to Paradise and we were gonna stop by my house. So when we were driving, we were driving back down Skyway and the fire had already passed.

It was beyond Skyway but you could see its path. There were houses on fire. Trees on fire. There were power poles just lying on the Street. Live wires dangling in the street. It was dark. It was like 3:30 in the afternoon. It was dark. It was smoky. There were powerlines down everywhere and it was kind of eerie and I kept thinking this is a bad idea.

At that point, I was driving my car and my partner was driving his patrol car behind. And I kept thinking, "This is a really bad idea." But I kept feeling like I need to keep going, I need to keep, I need to keep going. And so when I turned on my road, the first two houses were completely engulfed in flames and the wind was blowing towards my house.

So the first two houses are on fire and then the third house was my neighbor Marianne. And then the fourth house was mine. When I got to my driveway, I was relieved because I saw that my house wasn't on fire so I thought, "Ok, good. I'm going to save my house. All right." Then I looked at Marianne's house and the flames were just, from the second house, were just billowing right into her house. Oh my goodness. When I parked my car, I looked across the street and I saw my neighbor. This little lady. And she's just sitting there in her driveway all by herself amongst the flames and I thought, my heart sank. I'm like, "Oh my gosh." You know, my neighbor, she's 80, 90 years old.

And so I ran over to her and I'm like, "Are you OK?"

And she's like, "Yeah, I'm ok."

I said, "Can you drive your car?"

And she says, "No, I can't drive."

I said, "Where's your husband?" She says, "Well, he left that morning to go to Chico and then when the fires hit the roadblocks went up. He couldn't come back and get me."

At that point, my partner Aaron pulled up and he sees me talking to my neighbor. He comes running over and is like, "Bryant. Go try and do what you got to do to your house. I'll take care of her."

So I ran to my house with the intentions of putting a sprinkler on my roof but when I went to turn on the faucet, there was no water pressure so I couldn't, I couldn't put a sprinkler on my house. So I ran in my house. I grabbed a few personal items out of my safe and then I ran back up to help Aaron. And when I was going back up there, I saw Aaron with my elderly neighbor in his car.

And that's when the thought came to my mind that our Father in Heaven was looking out for His daughter. And so we, we had the opportunity to help her and I'm grateful for that. I felt I felt the spirit so profoundly—for two weeks I never felt scared.

I was, I was at the right place at the right time and if I wouldn't have been working that day, I'm sure someone else would have stepped up and helped out my neighbor. So, we're all God's children. It doesn't matter who you are where you live. We're all God's children. And Father in Heaven loves everybody.

KARYN: That was Bryant. When we met Bryant, he was in the backyard of an orchard where a good friend had given him space to park his temporary home. Like so many of the other people who lost everything in the Paradise Fire, Bryant was living in a motorhome and he was quick to note the heroic efforts of every first responder to the fires—many of whom, like Bryant, had lost everything themselves as they helped others make it to safety. And isn't that the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Of course, we put our oxygen mask on before we help others to do the same. But I think if we are serving in the Savior's way, we'll find ourselves in situations where the welfare of others is just as important as our own welfare.

Our next story comes from Emily, who shares her family's harrowing escape from the Camp Fire while trying desperately to find one another in the smoke and chaos. Here's Emily.

EMILY: I currently live in Chico, California. Prior to November 8th, I lived in Paradise, California, with my family, my husband, and children.

We don't live in Paradise anymore because our home in town was destroyed because of the Camp Fire.

We have been evacuated from our home in Paradise several times. It's kind of a routine thing. Probably every other year.

Nathan is my husband. Alex and Audrey, our kids, are in high school, and they went to school and he was headed to work and he called me and he said, "Hey, have you looked outside?" And I said, "No, why? What's going on?" And he said, "There's a fire. the sky looks really bad down here. It's super smoky. Do you want me to come home or do you want me to keep going to work?

I said, "No. Go to work." He goes, "Em, it looks really bad." And I said, "Well, let me call Chariss." Her husband works for the Paradise Police department. I thought, "She'll know." And so I called her and said, "Hey dude, have you talked to John (her husband) about this fire? Do you know anything about it?"

And she goes, "Yep, I talked to him not five minutes ago. You're good." And I said, "Ok." And she goes, "Wait. John's calling me. I'll call you right back."

And she called me back within seconds and said, "Em, don't ask any questions. You need to leave now." And I said, "Wait, why?" And she said, "I can't talk. We need to go. The fire is already in Paradise."

As I was hanging up, Nathan walked through the door and he ended up coming home because he knew how bad it looked. And I still hadn't been outside and I opened up our back door and I initially thought that it was raining.

And I thought, "Oh good. It's raining!" Because I could hear what sounded like rain.

But in reality, it wasn't rain. I realized pretty quick as soon as I stepped outside that it was the heavy ash falling from the sky. It wasn't the white snowy ash that floats to the ground. It was heavy and loud enough that as it was falling hitting the leaves on the ground it sounded like it was rain.

At that moment, I realized that it was a little different than prior evacuations. But I didn't comprehend that my town was gonna burn down. I just knew at that moment that I wanted my kids home with me. Nathan was home. I was home. I wanted, I wanted my babies there.

I knew that it would be easy to get a hold of Audrey because school hadn't started yet—high school. But Alex goes to Butte college and it doesn't have great cell reception there. And so my heart instantly sunk when I realized I don't know if I'm going to be able to get a hold of him. And so I tried calling and I couldn't get a hold of him. Both Nathan and I just kept calling Alex and calling Alex and sending him texts and just said, "Wherever you are—I don't care—just, you need to get home and you need to get home now."

Not having that communication and not knowing where he was, the moment that Nathan got a hold of Alex, It was just a huge sigh of relief. Nathan told me that he wasn't down at Butte college he was at the high school. His college class got canceled and so he was at the high school with his sister. And so Nate said, "Grab your sister and come home." And so the second they got home, it was just huge sigh of relief and okay we're together we got this. Them being older, it was like grab some pajamas grab some clothes. Nathan and I were on the phone talking to clients. We take care of seniors and so we were talking to clients and family and neighbors trying to tell them that they needed to evacuate because we didn't know if they were aware. In between phone calls, I was like thinking to myself, "OK. What do I need for the next three to five days?"

Not, "What do I need because I'm never returning home."

We have three drivers so we thought—we're going to take out three cars cause we want as many cars as we can drive out. We're ready to leave. And then our phone rang.

And it was a dear friend of ours that is like family. My kids call her grandma and she had called me and she said, "Hey Em, is there any way that Nate or Alex can run over to my house and help me get a painting off of a wall that's really special to her?" And I kind of hesitated for a second and I said, "I don't know. Hold on." And I asked Nate And he kind of looked at me and I looked at him and said, "Yep. Alex will be right there."

And so we told Alex, "Go straight to Grandma Shauna's house and just go straight down to Chico and meet us at our office." And so he left and Nathan left to go over. My mom has a fifth-wheel trailer and every time we evacuate we get the fifth wheel cause we can live in it and so Audrey and myself and our dog were at home and Nate said, "You need to go." and I said, "Yep. I'm going to go."

And I went back to the bedroom and I kind of stood in my bedroom and I looked around thought, "Is there anything else that I need to grab? What, what do I need?" And I didn't grab anything and then I went downstairs where I have a box of all of our kid's pictures from being younger and it's kind of back in a corner from the storage room and I thought, "I should grab that."

And then I thought, "There 's so much stuff in the way and I don't want to make a mess. I don't want to come back and try to put it all together, and so I thought, "No, it'll be fine."

And just as I was thinking that. Nate called me again and he said, "Have you left?"

And I said, "No, I'm just standing here. I'm just trying to think what else we need."

And he said, "You need to go now. You are not grabbing anything else. You need, you need to leave. Why aren't you gone?" I said, "OK. OK. I'm leaving." He goes, "No, I'm serious. you need to go right now."

I said, "OK. I'm leaving."

And Alex called and he said, "Mom, I can't do this."

"You can't do what?"

And he goes, "I can't go to Grandma Shauna's."

And I said, "OK, well, wait, what's going on?"

And he said, "Mom, trees are exploding." 

I said, "What do you mean 'trees are exploding'"?

I said, "You mean, trees are on fire." And he goes, "No mom. They're exploding."

I said, "I don't understand." 

And he said, "Mom, there's a tree just perfectly fine and then it just explodes and is gone. they're not even on fire. I can't get to Grandma Shauna's."

And I said, "OK, that's fine. Turn around come home. No, just kidding, don't come home. Turn around and go to Chico."

I called Grandma Shauna and I said, "Alex can't get to you. And he said you need to leave. Leave the picture. Leave everything. You need to go." And I hung up the phone and so Audrey and I and my dog were getting ready to leave and I opened the front door and it was darker and the wind was just amazing.

I mean, I remember thinking I know this isn't a tornado but I can understand how tornadoes are so powerful. It was dark.

It was creepy at that moment.

I didn't have the thought of, "Oh, I should go back inside and grab certain things." I didn't grab my wedding ring, I didn't. There's a few items that had I known I would have grabbed before I got anything else. And so I started driving and I was just a block from the house. And Nathan called me again and he said, "Alex just called me and he's stuck in traffic." And then I was like, "But wait. Where's Alex? How's Alex getting out?" And he said, "I told him to get out of his car and run."

And I said, "Run where??? Where's he running to?!?"

He said, "I told him to run to me." 

And I was like, "He can't run!! He's got asthma!"

He can't run that far because it's a good distance.

And he goes, "Em. he doesn't have a choice. And you don't have a choice so you just need to start driving towards me." 

I said, "Okay."

I got to a part of the road where there's a sharp turn and a little cliff on one side and the mountain on the other side. So it's just you know two tight lanes and there's never cell reception there, ever. And all of a sudden it was just deadlock traffic and Audrey is in the passenger seat and she goes, "Mom, what are we going to do?" And I said, "I don't know. it will move. It'll just be a minute."

I don't know how long I sat there. It wasn't creeping along. We literally did not move. And again I'm in the dead zone. And then my phone rings. Caught me off guard and I looked at it and it was Nate. And he asked me where I was and I told him and I said but we're not moving. And he said, "Em, you need to leave your car. We need to go."

I said, "I can't leave my car." And he said, "You need to get out of your car and, and you need to Walk to me." And I said, "Nate, I can't and I can't leave my car in the middle of the road."

You know, I again, I'm thinking—I can't walk. Everybody behind me, I can't pull off the road because there's nowhere to pull off. And he said, "You have to leave your car and you have to come to me now."

I thought. "Ok. I have to get to Nate." And I thought, "Well, there haven't been very many cars, oncoming cars. I'm just going to blindly drive on oncoming traffic to get to the next little street." And so I said a little prayer that I'd be able to drive on oncoming traffic and it was just a short little curve. But you couldn't see anything. Drove around the corner and there was no cars.

And I parked and when I parked, and I got out of the car, got Audrey and got our dog and we started walking as quick as I can walk because I don't have a good leg, so I'm kind of walking as fast as I can. And I remember looking up and who's at that moment that I realized how serious it was.

And it was, just, it was dark and I remember thinking, "This is hell. This is living hell." And I remember thinking, "This is what Satan wants us to always feel like." And at that exact same moment as I thought that, I felt this perfect little bubble of Heavenly Father around me. And I could look in the distance and I could see dark.

But yet I felt safe because I knew Heavenly Father was there and he was protecting me. And so I just kept going.

So a moment later I turned the corner and I saw Nathan running towards us.

It was an amazing feeling to see him because I knew that we were that much closer.

I think the first thing that I said to him is, "Where's Alex? Have you heard from Alex?" Because now I know there's three of us together but still missing Alex. And he said that he had talked to him not that long ago and that he was running and he knew where, where the car was and that he was coming.

And so, once we all got to the truck, Alex still wasn't there and I tried calling Alex and he didn't answer and, you know, trying to stay calm because there's not a whole lot I can do.

And I remember looking up at the trees and just thinking it looks like there's snow. And they were so white.

Then Alex called.

And it was the first time that I had talked to Alex since Nate told him to leave. And he told me where he was at. And he said, "Mom, I'll catch up to you guys. Get in the car and start to drive."

I said, "I'm not leaving you. We will wait here for you. We are not going to leave you." And he goes, "Mom, the traffic is hardly moving. I'm going faster than the cars, just get in the car and start driving. I will catch you."

I said, "I'm not leaving one of my babies. I'm not going to do it."

And so I hung up the phone and Nate said, "I'm gonna run up towards Alex." And just a second later he turned around and he yelled at me, "I see him!!! I see him!!! Get in the car, quick!!!" Then Alex was there really quick. He's not a fast runner. Alex has asthma.

And I asked them you know as soon as he got there, "Are you breathing ok? How, how are you doing?"

"Yeah. I'm fine."

I know that it was Heavenly Father protecting him. Once we were all together, there was a sigh of relief, "Okay. I have everybody together. We're not safe but at least we're all together."

We lost just about everything. We made it out with one car. And we made it out with ourselves. Which, you know, is obviously the most important thing.

But, at the same time it's still hard to lose your things and it's hard because a lot of my childhood things and things of my dad's—my dad passed away when I was a teenager—are all gone because my brother lived in Paradise and he lost his home and my mom lived in Paradise and she lost her home.

I think for people who aren't from this area it's hard to comprehend the pure devastation.

Even living through that day, going back and looking at videos and pictures, I think, "That's not what it was like. It was so much worse."

Even though we have the most important thing, which is our family, it's still hard to know that we came out with pretty much just the clothes that we had and the vehicle that we were able to get out with.

Even now when I think about all of the items that I lost, it's devastating.

And three months later, I'm still thinking of, "Oh, I didn't think about that." You know? I think probably for years, I'll constantly be like, "Oh, I don't have that anymore." And I think part of it is I think about my children and my future grandchildren. I don't have those things to share with them.

You know, I mean, I have the memories but I can't really pass down memories.

And so it's, it's devastating.

I think it's really easy to be mad at God and be mad that everything is gone. It's not, it's not just yours. It's your friends and your neighbors. It's your church family. It's your schools. It's your entire town.

But, I know that if anyone just tries a little bit to see God's hand in their lives, they will see a hundred ways that God has helped them. And it's not going to be a short process. We all have a lot of grieving to do. And I think everybody's going to grieve differently. It's going to take different ways. it's going to take different amounts of time, but God, He's there and He will be able to help everybody through it. He knows everything that we can handle. And with His help, we'll be able to make it through.

KaRyn: That was Emily. Her acknowledgment that healing will take time and that it will come in different timeframes and in a different way for each person seems so wise to me. We also want to acknowledge, as we share these incredible stories of survival, that there were lives lost in this fire. In fact, 85 people didn't make it out. And we add our heartfelt love to those who mourn that particular loss.

When we visited Paradise we arrived on the heels of our beloved prophet, President Nelson, who had just gone to assess the situation and comfort the Saints in that area and neighboring Chico.

He and sister Nelson arrived only 40 hours after the loss of President Nelson's daughter to cancer. And as they commiserated with the Saints of Paradise, the choir sing a special verse of the song, "It Is Well with My Soul" that Sister Wendy Watson Nelson had written for the occasion. That verse is so beautiful. It says:

My future is bright

as my covenants I keep

my covenant with God gives me power

to rise from the ashes and grief of the past.

Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord, O my soul.

Sister Nelson then spoke these words—let's see if I can get through it without weeping.

"In the midst of heart-wrenching loss, it is natural for our souls to long for things to be the way they used to be and when we realize that that is simply not possible we seek for those things that will never change. We seek for what we can really count on, for what we can hold onto. We search for what is real. No one can ever take away from us that the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ is truly our redeemer, our healer. How anchoring is it to know that the commandments will never change and that our covenant, if we live worthy, will always give us access to God's power. What else can we count on? What else is really true?"

So today as we consider the miracles that weave themselves throughout the deep loss of our brothers and sisters in Paradise and perhaps our own lives, I hope that will also see the way that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been our touchstone, our anchor, our unwavering and ever-present hope for all that will one day be restored.

That's it for this episode of This is the Gospel. Thank you to Bryant and Emily for honoring us with their stories and experiences and a special thanks to my friend Charelle for sharing her sweet memories of a Paradise of faith. If you have a story to share whether it's funny touching or miraculous we'd love to hear it color pitch line at 515-519-6179 and leave us a message with a short synopsis of your story.

We've heard from so many of you that this podcast is making a difference in your day. If it is would you please take the time to leave a review on the Apple podcast app or anywhere you listen to your podcasts and be sure to tell all of your friends. It really does help more people to find us.

This episode was produced and edited by me, KaRyn Lay, and Sarah Blake with story editing by Davi Johnson. It was mixed and mastered and Mix at Six Studios and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. You can find all the past episodes of this podcast and the All In podcast from LDS Living at ldsliving.com/ podcasts.