Cyclone Seroja – Update 4

(published 28th April 2021)   Update 1   Update 2   Update 3   Update 4   Update 5

We’ve noticed our energy levels have been  a bit low the past few days, which have been rather full on – we must remember the Christ we proclaim is also the Christian’s source of power;
He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.  (Colossians 1:28-29)

Praise the Lord! We now have “normal” electricity supplied to the church property, which happened during last Sunday’s 9am service, along with some electrical repairs and the removal of a large generator the Education Department had wired into our church switchboard. It was a pretty hectic morning service! The church set up also surprised our locals when we left all our usual furniture pushed to the sides (as the school had placed them) and used our hall chairs for seating amongst it all. The service seemed to be well received regardless.  Now our household has hot water, can run the washing machine, has a landline phone, desktop computers and of course, e-mails and Internet. A luxury after 2 weeks without. Many still don’t have power restored.

We also celebrated ANZAC Day with both Dawn (around 6am) and 11am ceremonies at the local war memorial – this year was a bit different without many tourists but there was a whole audience of first responders instead like the State Emergency Services, St Johns Ambulance, Marine Rescue, Parks and Wildlife, FESA (Fire Brigade), WA Police, and even some Australian Army personnel. Numbers were around half the normal turnout, but it was an opportunity for giving thanks to the volunteer and career first responders who have helped make safe our properties and clean up our town. David included particular prayers at the ceremonies, giving thanks for these special people.

We’ve been having lots of chats with people in our congregation and also those we just encounter around town while out and about. It’s interesting to hear / see different reactions to the effects of the cyclone. There’s a small group who are highly traumatised, not able to return to work or even live without support. However, the majority are just getting on with things – resilient, almost stoic, calmly making sure their personal lives go back to normal and their businesses are ready for the influx of tourists in a couple of months or so. It’s been interesting to see Red Cross counsellors at various community gatherings and how they operate. David chatted with one at the ANZAC Day Sunday community breakfast, and asked about what type of ‘hope’ they’re giving to those they talk to; they couldn’t give a straight answer. All their resources are proudly emblazoned with a motto, “the power of humanity”. I’m content not to rely on any power humanity thinks they might be able to provide, but totally rest in Jesus and His provision for me as Saviour, Creator, Sustainer and Provider.

The school was hoping to be out of our building last week but their school grounds had more damage than first expected.  We expect they will operate out of our church building for another week. The arrangement has worked well with many positive remarks received from teachers and parents. We are hoping this cements a positive feeling towards our building, being recognised as a friendly fun place, and many will return when we run our children’s programs in the coming weeks.

We are doing a few media interviews.  There are things we need practical help with, so here’s our ‘dream list of jobs’ here, and also a ‘dream list of replacements’ here – please let us know if you’re in a position to help. At the moment “Restricted Entry” passes are still in effect so the general public are not supposed to enter Kalbarri.

STOP PRESS: We’ve heard many first responders have left or are leaving town, however, many tasks people have logged help for haven’t been completed and responsibility has been placed back on residents to clear / fix and make properties safe  – we have unfinished jobs which we hope we can find solutions for.

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 Lord sustaining us through His power to do what He has planned for us.
** Praise the Lord! For a “normal” electricity supply to our church and rectory.
** Sunday’s hectic morning service where the Lord was honored.
** David’s Bible readings and prayers at both the Dawn and 11am local war memorial ANZAC Day ceremonies
** opportunities to support people in town as we meet them in their homes, at community events, the “Red Tent” (distribution point for free meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner), shops and other places.
** the continued use of our church building by the primary school, at least till Friday, when they hope to re-locate back to the school.
** the growing supportive partnership between the church and the school – pray for gospel dividends in the future.
** many local residents working together for the good of many in our small town and beyond.

Please pray for …..
** our words and actions during this time will reflect the Lord’s grace to people, and give them an eternal hope for the future.
** wisdom and grace to use media interviews well.
** logged requests for help to clear / fix and make properties safe to be completed
** safe removal of our gigantic gum root ball and levelling of that area
** our faulty hard drive which has been quoted on – wisdom to know whether to pay the larger than expected quote.
** our dream lists to be met in the best way God knows
** tourism operators to receive some support at this distressing time. For tourists to understand the conditions they are currently facing and for the disappointments they face with cancelled holidays.
** supply of electricity and other services; while we have electricity, there are still some parts of our town and other parts of the Mid-West without the basics.
** safety for everyone in town – pray particularly for those awaiting safe asbestos treatment and removal.
** safe timely restoration of Kalbarri’s service infrastructure through federal, state and Shire governments.
** 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.

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 or text; David 0438-369-062 or Jenny 0438-095-570, our e-mails are now working and we have regular Internet access, Praise the Lord!