It’s Thursday 13th January 2011 here in Brisbane, Australia. We are the capital city of the State of Queensland, measuring more than 1.72 million square kilometres – 25% of Australia's land mass, which is FOUR times the size of Japan, nearly SIX times the size of the UK and more than twice the size of Texas! So it is an amazing fact to be told that today 75% of Queensland is a disaster zone, affected by flooding that has rendered this landscape unrecognisable.
Here in our city of Brisbane, thousands of homes have already been water damaged or worse. We are often called the ‘River City’ because the waterways curl in a series of horseshoe bends between neighbourhoods – so it is not surprising that the highest floods since 1974 are affecting the lives and homes of so many.
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. It’s quite a sight.
How do you face such days? Well, we are encouraging our church family and the people of the city to face each day with faith not fear, hope not hopelessness and resilience not resignation. There may be tough times ahead, but how we face them is of great importance.
I am so proud at the response from our church, both locally and globally. Hillsong Brisbane has responded with immediacy and generosity. Together with all our Hillsong campuses, we gave financially over the weekend, joining forces with the Australian Christian Churches who are spearheading our combined response from across the State. Many thousands of dollars will go towards alleviating emergency needs.
Already our campus facility has been registered as an ‘Evacuation Centre’; people who have been unable to return to their homes because of house flooding or closed access roads have availed themselves of the care of good people. Our intention has been to treat people with great love and dignity in traumatic times. Restaurants have generously given us free food and even a bank has donated funds to help us run the centre.
Our church has also opened up home after home to accommodate church families who needed a place to stay and feel safe. So many volunteers are offering time for the pending clean-up campaign that our street teams will spearhead in the days ahead. And THIS WEEKEND we are going ahead with all church services (Friday 6.30pm and Sunday 8,9 and 11am) with the added call to bring food and cleaning items for distribution by our teams.
We have had so many people from across the world contact us offering their prayer and support. We are grateful for every one of you, every prayer, every offer. Please pray for Brisbane that in the midst of dark days, the Light of the World will shine all the greater! Isaiah 58:6-10 talks of the light of God shining all the more when God’s people resolve the needs of other human beings by feeding them, clothing them and giving them shelter. We are therefore honoured to be in Brisbane at such a time as this, privileged to be His hands to hurting people.
To read a note from our Senior Pastor, click here
For more information about how you can HELP or VOLUNTEER in Brisbane visit: http://myhillsong.com/ausfloods
For more information on Hillsong CityCare and how you can get involved please visit citycare.hillsong.com