Sifting through the wreckage of the country’s latest mass shooting and catastrophic wildfires consuming Ventura County and Los Angeles hillsides, disciples are on the ground offering hope and help to ease the heartache and confusion of pained hearts and communities. Within hours of the massacre at a Ventura County nightclub this week where 12 people, mostly college students, were gunned down and dozens of others were wounded, disciples from the North Region of the Los Angeles Church galvanized to show support and offer help. The Shoreline Sector of the North Region is in the heart of the battle. “We’ve got to do something for our community,” said Geo Garces, lead evangelist of Ventura’s Shoreline Sector. “We lost 12 members of our community in the shooting and then the fires came.” Garces learned Wednesday night that 22-year-old Cody Coffman was among those killed during college country night at the Borderline Bar and Grill in nearby Thousand Oaks. He was a dear friend of many in their church family. A vigil for Coffman and the families of the Borderline victims will be held at 8 p.m. on Tuesday at Peppertree Playfield, 3270 Old Conejo Road in Thousand Oaks. Also on hand will be victims of thefires. Local officials and a grief counselor will be on hand to offer comfort to the grieving, Garces said. Fifteen hours after the killings, as the community was reeling, two massive wildfires engulfed the hillsides of Ventura and Los Angeles counties. Both blazes quickly consumed homes fanned by 40mph winds that triggered the evacuation of thousands of Southern Californians as it moved toward the Malibu shore. Disciples from both ministries coalesced by opening their homes to evacuees. “I was on my balcony when I saw the fire,” said Nicole Irving-Hogan of Thousand Oaks. Hogan, who lives across the street from Borderline and had just opened her home to a Newbury Park family, fleeing the first fire outbreak, quickly found her own home at risk when a second blaze broke out, compelling both she and her guests to evacuate. In an after-midnight haste to retrieve her 19-year-old daughter Rachel from Pepperdine University, Nicole saw the flames approaching Malibu. The duo reached her parents’ Malibu home in time to help them pack and flee. She got word on Saturday that the Malibu home was destroyed. Her own home has been spared for now.

“We’ve had such an outpouring of love from family and community members,” said Nicole. “A couple of disciples called me from Arizona and Detroit, praying with me over the phone. Another went to the store to purchase items for us.” But from the despair of two catastrophic events, hope emerged. “Despite the eventful 72 hours we’ve had, we have a baptism today!” said 19-year-old Amanda Cornish, a resident advisor at Pepperdine University where fire threatened the hillside campus. Beneath smoky skies on Saturday, Juan Barajas, 19, made Jesus his Lord surrounded by grateful and joyful disciples. “The last 72 hours have been tough,” said Garces. “It feels so tragic. We had a shooting, we lost our young and then the community burns down. As a disciple, we have to overcome evil with good. That’s the message for our community.” The combined Woolsey and Hill fires have consumed more than 100,000 acres and forced more than 200,000 evacuations.