It’s been three long years since a devastating earthquake struck Christchurch, causing loss of life, property and security. In this edition, the head of our work in the South Island pays tribute to the hard work of The Salvation Army after the earthquake—especially the ‘courageous’ service of locals—and speaks frankly about some of the challenges that this year may bring.
Our feature article is by a Salvation Army officer from Oklahoma, USA, who was living in the town of Moore when large parts were flattened by a category five tornado last May.
I met Sharon late last year and one of the things she wanted to know was how life was going for people in Christchurch. She said she understood ‘in some strange, not-very-good way’ some of the sense of loss that people in this part of the world had faced because of what she had been through.
Where Sharon, her husband and their two young children live, houses were gone, landmarks flattened and people killed—including three people in the 7/11 store where she regularly shopped. There was a lot of disruption of community and displacement of people. The Salvation Army is a valued first responder to emergency situations in the US, but Sharon had never been in a disaster with so much social media interest. ‘There were tours of tourists organised, with people selling tickets and taking photos of where people died,’ she told me. ‘It was a news feed on Facebook: the sensationalism of other people’s tragedies.’ Alongside this was what Sharon describes as ‘the beautiful servanthood’ of The Salvation Army helping its community.
This week, we farewell graphic designer Josh Wyatt, who joined our team in May 2009. Josh’s creativity, skills and hard work have been greatly appreciated. I want to say ‘thank you’ to Josh on behalf of all our readers for the part he has played in the ministry of this magazine. With Josh moving on, Lauren Millington joins us in a permanent role and Amber Wilkinson returns part-time from parental leave.
Isaiah 41:10 The Message
‘Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.’
‘Kaua e wehi; kei a koe nei hoki ahau; kaua ano e tirotiro; ko ahau nei hoki tou Atua. Maku koe e whakakaha, ae ra, maku koe e awhina, ka tautokona ake ano koe e te ringa matau o toku tika.’