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'Mail' Newspaper Articles

Focal Point (for publishing-11/01/05)
'Special' Inter-church Comment

The Tsunami: What Can We Do?

Most of us have been transfixed in a state of unbelief for the last two weeks as we have seen the world's greatest natural disaster of our time unfold before our eyes. We have felt the paralyzing effect of standing so hopelessly in front of a phenomenon so inconceivably enormous. But that has not immobilized our giving. As Australians, we have opened our wallets with probably the greatest outpouring of support that we have ever seen as well. Our Government has also led the way in a magnificent sense, opening the doors of the coffers wider and wider as the greater need develops. And much more will be required in order to help those who have survived to re-establish - and it could take years. Of course even that re-establishing is only of a material nature and in no real way addresses the re-construction of human lives and communities. Some families simply can't be re-constructed, there are too few of them left. Many may never surmount the emotional and physiological damage.

What can we do?
1/ How about the suggestion of donating the equivalent of what we might spend on cigarettes or alcohol in one week (or two?), or some part of our mobile phone expenditure?
2/ Rather than be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the destruction, concentrate on a village or a face or a country and try to hold that tangible picture in your mind. Aid groups can help you focus on this with some of the material they have yet a simple photo cut out of the paper will do.
3/ If you believe in a God who hears and answers, close your eyes and mentally lift them up to His healing hands and continue to pray for them daily or for as long as you can, maybe days or months or longer.
4/ Try to travel their journey with them by imagining what they might be going through.
5/ Encourage your children to pray for a child, an old man or a family etc. (Use parental discretion as to the vulnerability or your own children) A reminder photo of 'your' person on the frig. can develop in them a sense of care for others.
6/ Attend a Memorial Service, it helps share the grief.

How should we live in the light of another's pain? 
1/ Think about how we would want others to respond if it was our need.
2/ Remember that in any time of trauma on this scale, memories of previous lose and tragedy will be triggered for many in our communities, so be sensitive to those who might be grieving around us.
3/ Maybe it's a time to look at any personal or family overindulgence and recheck our budgets in 2005.
The Churches will be holding services on Sunday the 16th of January for the community to reflect and pray for those caught up in this unbelievable disaster.
Prime Minister John Howard has announced this day as the National Day of Mourning for Australia.

If you would like to speak personally, ring me, or contact your local Church for details.
Graeme Dawson Co-ordinator Focal Point 0409 517273


Focal Point Yarra Valley 2009