TOWNSVILLE – GOD IN THE FLOOD

On the 27th January it started to rain.   A typical summer monsoon bringing much needed rain to the city.  12 months ago the dam was 14 % and the Council was pumping water from the Burdekin at a cost of $150,000 a day.  It continued to rain and by Wednesday 30th January the dam was at 100%.  Bluewater creek had flooded wiping out houses and property.  On Friday (1st February) all schools were closed.  The dam reached 200%. On Sunday (3rd February), most Churches were abandoned.  Evacuation texts came through encouraging people to get out and move to higher ground as the Ross River Dam flood gates were going to be fully opened.

Monday (4th February) we woke to the devastation that had occurred.  100’s of homes and businesses flooded.  1000’s of people had been evacuated by police, SES and the army.  Townville was in crisis and declared a catastrophic situation.  On Friday the 8th February the rain stopped.  Many areas of Townville had over 1,500mls of rain (60 inches for those that remember the old scale).  It was time for the Church to shine and God to reveal himself.  Amazing stories of care and love flooded the airways, the radio, TV, Facebook and the paper.  People caring for people; random acts of kindness; heroic stories; incredible generosity; and at that stage, not a life lost.

The Church leaders of the city were called together and began to strategize how to meet the needs before us.  Each Church began to take on a different role.

  • Rev Bruce Cornish (Townsville City Central Mission) was appointed Liaison person on the relevant committee of the local disaster management board;
  • Willow’s Presbyterian ran a children’s programme because schools were closed and kids were going ‘stir crazy’;
  • North reach Baptist established a Facebook page and mobilized there young adults in the clean-up.  They also took on a role in coordinating accommodation for those who had nowhere to live;
  • Salvation Army provided food at the evacuation centres;
  • Calvary Church provided hot meals for people with no power and no homes;
  • Aitkenvale Uniting ran an information night;
  • Northreach Baptist started collecting donations of clothing etc;
  • Samaritan’s Purse came into the city and provided training and set up teams with local Church folk to help in the clean-up;
  • YWAM with the Combined Churches, Council, SES and other Christian organizations established ‘team Townsville’, whatever it takes.  This was a programme to visit every affected house in every affected suburb and ask “How are you going?”  And then to direct appropriate resources as required; and
  • The intercessors prayed.  What a great opportunity the Church of Townsville has had to love the people of this city.   It truly has been a chance for the Church to shine and the character of God to be revealed.  Please pray for us in the coming weeks and months.  Pastor David Frewin Lord asks us to give thanks that the Church, the community and businesses have really stepped up to be good neighbours!  Please also pray for people:
  • Who have lost everything, many without insurance;
  • Who now have no permanent accommodation;
  • Who have lost their businesses;
  • Who’s businesses are impacted by having either no insurance, or rejected insurance claims;
  • Who have lost their jobs;
  • Who have health problems resulting from the floods; and
  • Whose children have to go to different schools.

Pray for God opportunities:

  • for the combined churches and their relationship with the local government councillors including the mayor;
  • for Samaritans Purse chaplains with local teams who are visiting flood victims and offering care, support and prayer;
  • for the council which has initiated with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) coordinating “Well-being teams” (Team Townsville) to visit houses impacted by floods to make sure physical & mental needs are being met;
  • for the many groups including Church groups who are sending teams to physically help with the clean-up; and
  • for Churches and Christians involved in ongoing care.

Long term prayer is required:

  • for people with Post Traumatic Stress;
  • to pray against a potential rise in domestic violence (common after disasters); and
  • to pray also against suicides (common after losses from disasters).

Pray for Western Queensland as the devastation on properties is unfolding and much prayer is still required.

Source: Article written by Rev Anne Harley – a Townsville Pastor

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