STANDING AMONG THE ASHES

victorian-bushfire

A Salvo House Church is a Centre of Hope After the Fires

The following came from Les Smith, a Salvation Army house church guy that found himself heading up some of the Victorian bushfire relief effort. It’s an encouragement to those of us in house church that you don’t have to be big to be effective. Reprinted from www.oikos.org
 

 

Hey mate,

 

Sorry about my tardiness in getting back to you, been pretty busy here as you would imagine. Although things are still sometimes tough and extremely challenging we feel very much that we are engaged in the work God has for us to do.

 

Early on in the bushfires whilst the Salvation Army was still working out how best to respond, I almost accidentally (although we know it wasn’t really by accident) found myself representing the Salvos at the fire front and found things very tough indeed. It was both physically and emotionally draining and I was not entirely sure I would be able to continue to offer assistance; it was taking a toll on me. My brothers and sisters from house church rallied to support me (and the bushfire survivors) and they were just incredibly amazing.

 

House churches are like that – supportive, caring, flexible and easy to adapt.

 

The fire stopped only 10 minutes up the road from where and I live, one house church family was put on stand by to evacuate, another missed the fires by minutes (wind changed direction) and all of us saw the smoke – not realising just how close it actually was (we thought it was 100s KM away, but it wasn’t).

 

We felt very strongly that we had to make a response.

 

Together we setup a massive warehouse at Whittlesea which has become the main distribution centre for bushfire survivors in Whittlesea, Kinglake, Flowerdale and the surrounding areas. Whilst many other centres have already closed, The Salvation Army is planning to maintain services in this area (through this facility) for at least the next 12 months.

 

God has been good to us,

 

I keep meeting people that I know – affected by the fires – and the stories I have heard (many of us from housechurch have heard) are truly horrifying and impossible to imagine. Whilst the despair of the whole thing hit us in the first week, now we are blessed to be part of the healing and restorative process that has begun, we can see Gods spirit at work in spite of all the tragedy.

 

There is a way to go yet but the support we have received from other housechurches around Australia has been very humbling indeed. Please pass on my thanks to all those involved – I really just can’t express how inspiring and encouraging this support has been.

 

Please keep us in your prayers.

 

Thanks again mate

 

Peace to you

 

Les Smith

Salvo House Church

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