January 13, 2011
Churches Respond to Massive Australia Flooding
Queensland looks toward cleanup.
Churches across Australia are joining in to help the state of Queensland recover from massive flooding that has affected 75 percent of the state--an area bigger than Texas and California combined.
In Brisbane, Queensland's capital, estimates suggest that over 30,000 properties and 55,000 miles of road have been damaged. The local campus of the world famous Hillsong Church is an evacuation center for people who have lost their homes or cannot return to them.
"The Brisbane River is running high and fast and is hurtling un-manned boats, furniture, kitchen appliances, vehicles and even concrete city walkways down its path," writes Steve Dixon, the Brisbane campus pastor. "It’s quite a sight."
Not all areas of the city are accessible yet, and other parts of Queensland are still on alert, but Hillsong is preparing volunteer street teams for the clean-up period.
"My prayer is that long after the flood waters recede, local churches throughout affected areas will be safe havens for their community, that their ministers and congregations will be equipped with resources from generous believers across Australia, who rise to meet the need of our brothers and sisters who are suffering," writes Brian Houston, Hillsong Church's senior pastor.
So far, the massive flood has claimed 15 lives. Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has pledged that the state will bounce back:
“We are Queenslanders," she said. "We are the people they breed tough north of the border. We’re the ones that they knock down, and we get up again. In the coming weeks and months we are going to prove that beyond any doubt.”
Hillsong and other churches plan to hold services as usual on Sunday morning. Yesterday, Dixon tweeted a comment he overheard from a Brisbane resident who had just lost a house:
"Don't cry at the loss of anything that can't cry for you."