LDS Church leaders and missionaries visit evacuees in Northern California

NAPA VALLEY, Calif. – LDS leaders traveled to Napa Valley on Saturday, to visit with those who have been evacuated and lost their homes due to California wildfires.

Church leaders met with members Bill and Jennifer Kastner from Napa. The Kastners are LDS, and lost their home during the wildfire.

“I would’ve like to think I would stay and fight it, but it’s just one of those things, with 50-mile-an-hour winds and embers flying at you, it’s just not something you’re going to survive,” Bill Kastner said. “The wind was blowing the heat away from us. As soon as we got in the car and started to drive down, you could just feel it radiating through the windows. And yeah, it’s a little scary that, you know, are the tires going to make it? Are the windows going to burst out?”

“I grabbed documents and I grabbed pictures off the walls. My kids are artists, and I grabbed a bunch of the pictures off the walls, and not much else,” said Jennifer Krastner.

Bill Kastner said losing their home has humbled him, and put him in the shoes of people he used to help. “It’s the first time in my life; I was a bishop and I’m, you know, real familiar with the welfare program. And I never thought I would be a recipient of other people’s service and kindness.”

The Kastners hope to rebuild their home in Napa. It was a good life. “We raised our five children there, and they all loved that place, and we had family dinners and all our memories are there,” reflected Jennifer Kastner.

Mormon missionaries have also been working to serve evacuees in northern California, and to help in any way they can.