Latter-day Saint Life

The Story of a Missionary and His Faith Facing the Paradise Fire


What a powerful testimony from this missionary serving in Paradise, California:


This picture (above) was taken by my companion as we drove down the Skyway out of Paradise and the smoke from the fire was just starting to choke the sky. While that drive will go down as the scariest of my life, I wasn’t scared. My mind caught a hold of a scripture that I had learned on my mission. D&C 84:80 And any man that shall go and preach this gospel of the kingdom, and fail not to continue faithful in all things, shall not be weary in mind, neither darkened, neither in body, limb, nor joint; and a hair of his head shall not fall to the ground unnoticed. And they shall not go hungry, neither athirst. 81 Therefore, take ye no thought for the morrow, for what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, or wherewithal ye shall be clothed. 82 For, consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they toil not, neither do they spin; and the kingdoms of the world, in all their glory, are not arrayed like one of these. 88 And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up. What was true when I read this the first time is still true today. Through everything I have come closer to my father in heaven, who wants more than for us than just being ok people. There has been no greater peace than that I’ve found in service and no greater joy than in being surrounded by people I’ve grown to love. My testimony of the plan of Salvation is sound. . . .

Sometimes life just goes along—things get busy and you’re kind of caught in the thick of thin things and then, out of nowhere you are awakened from life’s tasks and you re-evaluate everything you hold dear. That’s what happened to me the morning of November 8, 2018—the day of the Paradise Fire.


The stubble that was once my son and his companion’s apartment.

But let’s rewind a couple of weeks. My son Joseph had been serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the California Roseville mission for nearly 14 months. The last week of October he was transferred to the Paradise, California area. He was beyond thrilled. He called himself a “mountain man” because he was living in a beautiful mountain town, similar to the one his mom grew up in (Lake Tahoe) and his grandmother was raised in (Westwood, a logging town not far from Paradise.) He felt in touch with his ancestors who had lived in the area and also with some second cousins that still lived there. The minute one of those second cousins caught wind that he was in Paradise she reached out to her sister who lived there. Joseph and she (Jayne) would attend church in the same building! That next Sunday she sought him out and invited him over for dinner. He was thrilled at the idea to have a family connection. Home sickness can be a real thing for a  missionary.


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