By Nettie Holm
We have all been impacted by the plight of those living in the earthquake zone as their lives were rudely shaken, disrupted and continue to be so even now! In fact in some areas the effects will continue to disrupt lives and blot the landscape for months/ years to come. It’s all rather sobering.
For us as Community Ministries/Social Service Providers we are probably in a state of heightened awareness as to the implications on the people (some would call them clients, but I have a personal aversion to the term), the majority of whom are already vulnerable. As we look on and listen, we wonder about the full effect of this disaster on our Christchurch and surrounding towns’ Community Ministries /Social Service Providers.
I have just returned from a 24 hour visit to Christchurch and Kaiapoi to meet with a number of our teams (Pastors and Community Ministry Workers) faithfully serving others while holding their own misgivings and even fear. Many on our teams are tired. Like many of the rest of humanity living in the earthquake zone, their process of recovery is being thwarted through the “rock and roll’ of nights and dawns which, although decreasing, still throw some reasonable shakes. Sleep deprivation is a reality.
In responding to what our teams are saying, (remembering that there are different needs in different places) there are needs where we as Baptist Social Service/Community Ministries could express our solidarity with them in the spirit of Aroha tetahi ki tetahi (Lets us look after each other). I am acutely aware that the recession has not only put pressure financially on our Ministries (and on some of our staff who have taken pay cuts so that staff have not been made redundant) but in many cases has increased the level of need out in our communities. The workers of Canterbury have had that too! However, I believe that this is a moment in time where looking past the challenges of our ‘own patch’ could usher us into what it means to be fellow workers for Christ in Aotearoa.
The New Testament gives us an excellent example of the collection for the fellow Christians where there was famine. My hope is that we would give like the churches in the province of Macedonia who were facing tough times themselves yet they are described in 2 Corinthians 8: ‘They were incredibly happy though desperately poor. The pressure triggered something totally unexpected: an outpouring of pure and generous gifts...They gave offerings whatever they could-far more than they could afford -pleading for the privilege of helping out in the relief of poor Christians.’ In this situation we will be helping our ministries do what they believe called to do.
Some needs that we could respond to:
- Sponsorship for families in Kaiapoi2 to go to a camp in the New Year.
- Go online: Facebook “$10,000 haircut” so that Lesley does have to shave off her locks to assist Delta Community Trust!
Please prayerfully consider what you as a team can do. Every bit helps and the giving of the churches and our ministries will inextricably link us with the family of churches in Christchurch and the surrounding towns in their mission to their local community which in many instances is struggling!
In closing I am stirred/encouraged by Hosea 6: 1-3, for our brothers and sisters in Canterbury in particular. May you look for the ‘dawn’ of his awesome presence.
Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press onto acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.
1 A number of families are living with other families and this may continue for a number of months.
2 Kaiapoi Baptist has two Early Childhood Education Centres and a number of Community Ministries. Although the church facilities are fine the town has been deeply impacted by the earthquake.