We Serve a God Who Answers by Fire

Jeremy Aughenbaugh   

  To those of you who had the opportunity to join us in early November for the Jackson, WY outreach, you'll remember that the late-fall weather wasn't nearly as chilly as the reception you received by our local residents in response to your confronting the sin of abortion. It never ceases to amaze me just how firmly Jackson's residents dig in their heels against those who are exposing abortion in Jackson. With each outreach over the past several years, staunch opposition has always followed. I've noticed that staunch opposition to the exposing of abortion has usually been met with an "incident" soon after. 

Following the past several OSA and Missionaries to the Preborn outreaches since 2011, there have been two notable wildfires around the town of Jackson, one of historic proportion, and a landslide in downtown Jackson on its busiest street.   We live on a fault line and we're surrounded by national forests. Those facts do provide some explanation as to why these things can happen. The timing and location of these incidents, however, gets my attention. Colossians 1:17 states, "And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist" (KJV). God is in complete control all the time and He holds all things together. Jesus says in Matthew 10:29, "Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will" (NKJV). . Things don't just happen by chance. Over the past three years, incidents like these have been happening more frequently. Since you all have gone home last month, there has been yet another "incident."

  On Monday afternoon, November 3, we were preparing for our outreach at the Jackson Hole High School. Several members of the group went up the street towards the school. Pastor Mark and I stayed behind to unload our signs. We pulled into the far corner of the Bell Fitness/ AmeriGas parking lot behind the Smith's grocery store. As we were unloading our signs to take them up the street, the owner of Bell Fitness approached us and sternly told us that we were on private property and that we needed to leave immediately, which we did. The next morning, the owner's wife made Bell Fitness available as a distribution site for people to pick-up Civility, Love, and Compassion t-shirts in opposition to the protests. According to her post on Jackson Hole United's Facebook page that morning, she said she would be happy to use Bell Fitness to distribute the t-shirts since some of us tried to sneak on their property the previous afternoon.   

Sixteen days later on Thursday, November 20, shortly before 1 p.m., the AmeriGas building that sat adjacent to Bell Fitness exploded due to a gas leak, sending a pillar flames into the air and across the parking lot into Bell Fitness. The explosion was so powerful that it shook concrete buildings one block away. Those who were inside Bell Fitness at that time said the flames literally chased everyone out of the building. One of the Bell Fitness trainers had to break a window to let patrons escape. Thankfully, no one was hurt in the blast.

Several cars in the parking lot were completely destroyed, including the two vehicles belonging to the owners of Bell Fitness. The Bell Fitness building was damaged significantly and has not been in operation since the explosion occurred.

It's interesting to note that we sang 'We Serve a God Who Answers by Fire' continuously during the several-day outreach. In His grace, God is warning us to repent and deal with the sin of abortion. When the majority of Jackson's residents and churches sit in silence for decades with an abortionist in their midst and express outrage only at those who are trying to expose it because they don't agree with the methods, it's obvious that we have a serious problem. This community clearly has God's attention and it's a fearful thing, but it's also good thing. Through these outreaches, God is forcing people to get off the fence. He is exposing wicked people, and calling out the righteous. Outreaches like these move heaven and earth in this community. We call on Him and He answers us. He is merciful and almighty. In His mercy, God is giving us another chance to repent and turn to Him. In the end, we truly serve a God who answers by fire.