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Former Lexington pastor helps with California wildfire relief efforts

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Flames are ravaging southern California, where firefighters continue to battle ferocious wildfires.

One pastor who used to live in Lexington now lives in Ventura County, where wildfires have charred acres upon acres and destroyed homes. Mike Breaux says he and his wife had to evacuate their home when the flames were just a few blocks away.

"We left our home about four o'clock in the morning, not sure if when we came back it would be there or not," Breaux told reporter Garrett Wymer over the phone on Friday afternoon Pacific time. "But it was. Everybody about a half mile from us, all of the homes there were pretty much lost."

Breaux was born and raised in Lexington and is a former pastor at Southland Christian Church.

Now he is part of Mission Church, which is on the front lines of the relief effort there. Breaux says the church has opened shelters and a distribution center, and their days have been busy making sure folks get what they need.

He said their church - which meets in an old movie theater - has 12 theaters full of water bottles, clothes, food, pet supplies, housewares and other supplies that came in as donations. The church was open on Friday for people to come get what they needed.

"As sad as it is and heartbreaking as it is, it's good to be on the other end where you get to be like a hope dispenser," Breaux said, "and let them see that there's hope and that somebody loves you and we're going to make it through this together and God's going to take care of us."

Breaux said they've gotten a lot of support so far. He spent the day unloading case after case of water bottles after a group of men from Las Vegas rented U-Haul trucks to drive 35,000 bottles of water to their church. The area remains under a boil water advisory.

With the fires still raging, Breaux says they know it will be a long process to rebuild and restore. That's why they're doing what they can to help.

"God brings beauty out of ashes," Breaux said. "He really does. And he uses us to make that happen."

Folks can help out their relief effort by donating online at missionventura.com. Breaux says 100 percent of donations will go to help fire victims in their time of need.

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