Cyclone Seroja – Update 5

(published 17th May 2021)   Update 1   Update 2   Update 3   Update 4   Update 5

Paul writes in Romans 12;
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. (Romans 12:9-13)

There are lots of challenges to living the ‘good life’ which Paul lays before us; we’ve certainly been stretched in love, sincerity, devotion, patience and spiritual fervour – and we’ve only just reached the half-way point in the passage above! David and Jenny continue to need the Lord’s strength to carry on the Lord’s work – the days are long, needy people are draining us, government instrumentalities are frustrating…. we don’t have all the answers! But we keep on trying to be Christ in our community. We are putting our energies into endeavours which help make the gospel known in Kalbarri.

Current visitors to Kalbarri keep using the word – “normal“! “Things are looking like they’re back to normal” – or even, “it’s great that things have gotten back to normal” … unfortunately, this is a very shallow view of what ‘normal‘ means. Yes our town is now open to all comers, including tourists – but there’s limited accommodation, some tourist operators aren’t open yet, and there’s still plenty to fix. In the last two weeks David’s been doing a lot of research, reading and listening about trauma and how it affects both communities and individuals and most agree – a natural disaster to the scale of Cyclone Seroja will take the community, at minimum, two years to recover. Every day we’re dealing with broken people who need our support in many ways.

Most first responders, front-line supporters and other ‘response’ phase personnel have left town. For example, many people are applying for support through Centrelink; even though many applied in the first week after the cyclone, they’re finding their applications have been lost or delayed and there haven’t been any Centrelink personnel in town for over two weeks. To get support these people need to phone a national contact number or visit the nearest office some 160kms away. Today (Monday) David went to the golf club, where the government agencies were housed, only to find all agencies apart from the Salvation Army were either absent or had pulled out of town.

The local school is now back at it’s newly refreshed site so they no longer need to use the church building for it’s primary school students. We received thanks from the Education Minister and the Director General of Education, as well as the staff and parents of Kalbarri District High School. To quote the Collegiate Principals, Trevor and Paul; “We wouldn’t have had a school without you guys”. We were invited to meet the Education Minister and accompany her on a tour of the school, during which we heard from her own lips twice, how thankful she was for our church’s co-operation.

Our local Shire helped us move the giant gum ‘root ball’ and other building rubble, the Education Department has helped out cleaning up the church grounds – the crushed car has been disposed. Some friends from the Geraldton Anglican Cathedral and St Georges Anglican church at Bluff Point came up last Saturday to help clear up more of the trees and shrubs that were broken, uprooted or just needed a good trim in the church grounds. Three trailer loads later (over 30 cubic metres of green waste), using three chainsaws and ten willing people using much push and pull energy, carrying and dragging branches to collection points, we made great inroads to cleaning our church block. Many thanks go to Nic, Mike, Ray, Paul, Stuart, David, Lorraine and Jen for coming up for the day to help us out!

The local playgroup has had their hall facility demolished and lost most of their toys / equipment after Seroja. Today (Monday) we began a playgroup for the children and parents to gather and have some play time to socialise. 8 adults and 8 children turned up today – it’s our intention to keep offering the playgroup on a weekly basis.

Next Saturday (22nd May) we are welcoming some ladies from Christian Women Communicating International (CWCI) to encourage our ladies over lunch, but also to conduct some sessions titled “When Your World is Blown Away“. We are praying these two sessions over Afternoon Tea and Coffee & Dessert, might attract some non-church ladies to hear how to cope with trauma, and point them to Jesus. Please pray for Katherine Porter the speaker and Jenny as she publicises and organises the sessions. We have the loan of a house the two ladies and their pilot can stay in, which is a real blessing at this time!

We need some practical help, so here’s our ‘dream list of jobs’, and also a ‘dream list of replacements’ – please let us know if you’re in a position to help.

We’d value your prayers for us and our ministry here in Kalbarri, so here are some prayer points we’d like to share ……..

Give thanks for ……
** the ministry the Lord has laid before us in this messy situation
** the Northampton Shire, Education Department, and Geraldton Anglican churches who have come to help clean up our church block from rubbish and green waste
** more people being made aware of the Anglican church’s activity in the community – through things like school in the church, playgroup, sessions to help cope with trauma, etc
** those working to support Kalbarri people to rebuild and recover the small town we all live in
** the feeling of resilience and purpose many residents have in working together and helping each other

Please pray for …..
** our character and actions to speak of Jesus’ love and grace to those who are without hope and hurting after Cyclone Seroja
** the CWCI ladies visiting next Saturday – for many ladies to come and listen well to Katherine’s talks
** our new playgroup to give us more contacts with young parents and children over the coming weeks
** tourism operators to get back on their feet soon – pray for more tourists to come to town, within reason (there is limited accommodation, only a few eateries open and some tourist attractions are still to open)
** people to cope with the ever-changing environment and demands they are facing to put their lives back together. Pray that the Anglican church will be used to build some of those coping mechanisms
** continued financial and practical support for our church

If you’d like to support us financially there are two possible avenues;

Directly to our church’s general account;
** Account name: St. Marks Kalbarri
** BSB: 086 886
** A/C no.: 19 683 5586
** Remark / Comment: Kalbarri offertory

Helping us reach our personal fund-raising target of $20,000 for 2021;
** Account name: Diocese of North West
** BSB: 706 001
** A/C no.: 30003846
** Remark / Comment: Days in Kalbarri

If you’d like to see more of our updates they will appear at www.kalbarrianglican.com/seroja which we’ll update when we can. Give us a phone call, text or e-mail; David 0438-369-062 ( davidd@david-day.com ) or Jenny 0438-095-570
( jennyd@david-day.com )