The recent intense floods have caused many issues in the Northern Rivers region. Many there have been without power, had their goods damaged and some are stranded from their homes. Others have access to their homes, but they’re smelly and mouldy from the wet. Signs were almost completely covered. Some buildings went underwater, including some of our church buildings, as well as buildings that were designed to survive floodwaters. The severe flooding also caused road closures, making it difficult for families to visit their loved ones and for relief to reach those most in need.
BaptistCare were quick to partner with Lismore Baptist. Together, they stocked the BaptistCare trailer (which is regularly used in different places for different purposes) – bringing food, drink and a caring conversation to people trying to sort out their devastated houses and businesses. They’re assisting those in the community most impacted and at risk, helping with supplies, practical support and pastoral care while at the same time addressing the impacts to their own properties and members. They’re now transitioning to a foodbank, providing free non-perishable food, toiletries and cleaning products, 6 days a week.
Steve Hales, Associate Pastor for Lismore Baptist (and also our Church Health Facilitator), says it’s a privilege to be present even in these horrible circumstances – as we’ve seen so many examples of generosity and people wanting to do what they can to help each other. “One guy couldn’t sleep in his home because his mozzie coils had been destroyed. I was going through one of the boxes of donated items and just happened to come across mozzie coils for him! A simple thing like that just made his day,” Steve shares. “Another guy was told by builders that he might be able to save his home if he were to get dehumidifiers. He has no internet access, so we were able to help him organise ‘click and collect’, and Nathan from BaptistCare brought them down. I offered to pray for him, and now he wants to come to church. It’s these kinds of conversations and opportunities that we’re seeing again and again!”
Other local Baptist churches have also teamed up to bless residents of Shanes Park, South Windsor, Londonderry, Riverstone and along the Hawkesbury River. Residents are receiving building materials, emergency care kits, cleaning products and hot food, and churches have begun the process of distributing over $12,500 of donated support in goods and services together with another $25,000 of mattresses, lounges and bedding. Volunteers from Kurrajong Village Baptist Church are involved, and their Pastor Stephen Kearns says: “Through these connections, people are experiencing the blessings and comfort of God through His people. One ministry makes available brand new gifted mattresses, lounges, beds, another church jumps in to get them to the people who need them most. Local businesses provide transport logistics, and more churches and ministries unload, store and distribute furniture to folk who have lost almost everything…and God is glorified!“
P R A Y / /
- Praise God for our leaders/churches who are at work in the communities directly affected by these record floods, providing support in the form of shelter (many church members have people who lost their homes staying with them), food, supplies, clean-up and more. Give thanks for John Wilson (Regional Minister and senior pastor of Lismore Baptist Church) who was first out there with the trailer and continues to help people today.
- Pray for the accommodation crisis. People are still in evacuation centres and don’t know where they’re going to go, and we don’t know either.
- The flooding continues to create ongoing and long-term needs for these communities as they seek to clean up and rebuild. Pray for the Baptist Association as we look to provide mental health and chaplaincy support down the road.
- Praise God for the partnerships that have taken place that are providing people with hope. Thank him for all the churches and individuals who have donated items, gone down to assist with clean-up, or contributed to our appeal.
G I V E / /
There are two ways you can financially support communities impacted by the floods:
- Through our Disaster Relief Fund which supports local church-based responses to the immediate and long term needs of the flood-affected communities HERE
- By supporting the immediate needs of vulnerable people, including vital humanitarian support that BaptistCare is providing to their residents, clients, tenants and staff, through the BaptistCare NSW Flood Appeal HERE
We ask that you and your church prayerfully consider how you may best respond to this disaster.