When Sam Burtt attended his first week of uni, he was not looking for a Christian group, in fact it was not on his radar at all.
Raised in a Christian family, he routinely went to Sunday School and youth group. However, when he started high school, he questioned the reality of God. By year 12 he was less interested in church, starting on a destructive path fuelled by the approval of friends and lust of the world.
Brisbane experienced a nightmare, and as usual Australia’s world-renowned mate-ship kicked in to respond.
On 10 January, after weeks of non-stop rain, the arteries of Queensland’s waterways burst. A flash flood claimed 35 lives, forced the evacuation of thousands, and swept away cities and farms. In just a few days, the damage rose into the billions with the worst flooding in more than 100 years. More than 40,000 properties were damaged.
Born and raised in India’s mixed religious culture, Rakesh Kumar was taught everyone’s god is right. It diminished his desire to seek God. When his family took him to the temple, he would ask how anyone could know that the Hindu gods were there. He never got a straight answer. Eventually he was driven toward atheism.
“So are you saying your God is more important than your mother?”
Anne (name changed) just stared at her father afraid to answer the loaded question.
Anyone who meets Anne for the first time will be impressed by her warm smile and her gentle sweetness. When her family moved to Australia Anne met a classmate whom Anne described as a ‘sold out’ Christian—always talking about Jesus and her faith. Discussions with this new friend was the beginning of Anne’s spiritual journey.
Their faces seemed shadowed with the signs of distant trauma. It was only 6 months since the fires and Pastor Ivor and Yvonne Jones and their good friends Killian and Robyn Fitzpatrick met me at a café on the outskirts of Marysville. Once covered with lush greenery, the proud mountains around us sulked under a load of black toothpicks we once called trees. They caused the hills to stand out against the sky like giant echidnas.