The following article appeared in the July 2011 edition of "Together", the montly newsletter of Church Army New Zealand.
Christchurch is constantly in our thoughts and prayers. Tracey Buunk, who is training with CANZ, writes after the latest significant quakes, “I am holding 2 soup kitchens, one tomorrow and another Friday. There are so many scared people and they need to know that people care about them. It will be a great time to share Jesus with them.”
The Canterbury Kids' Coach hits the streets of Rowley three afternoons each week, with a Christian based programme, ukulele lessons, and much more. It is a means of connecting with people who would never come near a church building, with a friendly, unthreatening atmosphere - reaching out with the love of Jesus.
Sharlene Knight , another Christchurch CANZ trainee writes, “Louise took the bus out both in the morning and afternoon ministering to all those she loves in the Rowley area. I went around visiting families and found so many people scared and worried at what was going to happen next.
"The one thing that put a smile to my face was 6 young girls who Louise has worked with for many years and they had taken the initiative to go and collect lemons from one of their trees and decided to make lemonade and have a stall outside 1 of their properties. They had it all done beautifully with a table and a cloth and a sign with how much the lemonade was. I went up and brought some of their lemonade and they were so excited."
God is in the little things!
Louise Weller adds “ Not knowing what is happening, when we can use our toilets again, when and if our home will be repaired is very unsettling, but knowing that our God is with us is incredibly comforting. Last week I did not feel like hitting the road in the bus, and when the children were seated, I shared with them how I felt but that I also knew that it is what God wants me to do. Eyes were wide and then an eleven year old girl said “I don't always want to go either, but I know that God wants me to go, so I go”. The atmosphere on the bus was electric and we had the best session on the bus that day we had had all term.
"Yesterday on the bus I told the story of the Fiery Furnace and how Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego were not spared the heat of the fire, but were protected in it. The children could grasp this and many thanked God for his love and care during the earthquakes.
"The Mum's group on Thursday mornings is also going well. Several weeks ago, we showed the DVD 'Magdalena – released from shame'. It is the story of Jesus from the eyes of Mary Magdalene. It powerfully impacted the group with tears flowing and we could see that that Jesus was still touching women's hearts today.”
Alan Wallace provides a further taste of life in one part of Christchurch: “ To keep you up to date with life here in Sumner Redcliffs, being the epicentre this time has hit the community very hard with a lot of rock fall and damage to property. At our St Andrews church we have set up once again a relief centre giving out water to people as water is not on in our suburbs, and later today doing soup for people who still have no power. Our main church in Sumner All Saints has suffered major rock fall behind it and as it was already closed now looks in a sorry state due to the dust and debris around it. We were due to empty the church this week but are now not allowed to enter so will have to wait for that.
As I sit here writing this in beautiful warm sunshine it seems absurd to think what has happened and indeed within last few minutes another huge aftershock which has brought down more cliff face here in Redcliffs.”
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