We appreciate the love and concern of our brothers and sisters around the globe. Please direct your prayers toward rainfall. We desperately need rain to help extinguish the flames completely, pray for the safety of members in fire-affected areas, and prayers for the communities who have suffered the loss of homes and businesses, for long-term recovery.
Please see the following email, which John McLean, Superintendent of Australasia, sent to all our members in relation to the fires in Australia:
The whole world has seen the pictures and read reports of the current devastating fires around Australia. The vision has been apocalyptic, the scale a national tragedy. With extremely hot, dry conditions, and lethal winds, the destruction has been, and is continuing to be, of a scale that is overwhelmingly disastrous. The physics alone are amazing, with fires developing their own weather systems. The sheer size of the area of land burned is staggering. Survivors describe hearing the sound of the roar coming from the bush made by the approaching flames. Heavy smoke has blanketed huge areas, making the air quality dangerous, and even going as far as New Zealand.
It’s not just a national disaster, but an incredibly personal and community one. We are saddened by the deaths directly caused by the fires. Early on as the fires broke out, two of our members perished in fires in northern NSW. Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones. And those who have lost houses, all their possessions and mementos, stock, farm machinery, fences…you name it. There has been a tremendous loss of wildlife and forests, too.
In the midst of all this, the outstanding and sacrificial service of the fire brigades and volunteers has been heroic. Sometimes we can only stand in awe and respect of the job they do and how they do it. These times of crises bring out the very best, and sometimes the worst, in human beings. And they remind us of the things that really matter in life: love, relationships, communion, and the hope we have in Jesus.
It’s a time for prayer, and support of those in desperate need any way we can. I have received personal messages from Joe and Tammy Tkach, Mike Feazell, Randy Bloom, Mat Morgan, Gavin Henderson and others, including a congregation in the USA, and ACCM students from Africa and the Caribbean. These messages expressed shock at the scale of devastation and assured us of their prayers for all concerned.
As I am writing this now, we are beginning to experience some refreshing rainfall – so we are truly most grateful. We hope and pray the rains will fall in the much-needed areas.
Daphne Sidney, Church Administration GCI-Australia
GCI Disaster Relief Fund
If your congregation has a heart to help members impacted by major disasters like the one in Australia, consider donating to the GCI Disaster Relief Fund. The Fund helps provide members in disaster areas with emergency needs such as food, water, medicine, clothing, temporary housing, home and/or church hall repairs, temporary local pastoral salary expenses and other emergency needs. Monies received into the Fund that are not immediately needed will remain in the Fund to be allocated in future disasters. In previous years, money from this Fund has been used to help members recover from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, storms and flooding in Bangladesh, an earthquake and tsunami in the Solomon Islands, typhoons in the Philippines and an earthquake in Haiti.
If your congregation would like to donate out of local church funds, you may do so at www.gci.org/go/chdonate
Individuals who wish to donate may do so at www.gci.org/disasterrelief
If your congregation prefers to send a check, make it out to Grace Communion International, indicating on the memo line that the donation is for the GCI Disaster Relief Fund. Send the donation to:
GCI Disaster Relief Fund
Grace Communion International
3120 Whitehall Park Dr.
Charlotte, NC 28273