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NZ Update – 17 April 2020

Hi there! A week after Cyclone Harold barrelled through the Pacific, we have a clearer picture of how the members fared.

Vanuatu: During the week I have been able to speak a couple of times with William Davies, who gave me a harrowing first person account of how terrifying it was like to go through the storm. He said it was the worst one he has ever experienced, as the category 5 cyclone cut a path of devastation across the island of Santo, with winds raging at around 235 kms per hour.

The house stood firm, although many neighbours’ houses were badly damaged. Water a foot deep flooded into the Davies’ house, but William, Carmen and Lindy were able to mop it out, very grateful that the storm struck in the daylight hours. All of their gardens were destroyed, with trees uprooted and fences smashed down, so their cattle escaped into the bush, with 3 cows being killed by falling trees. We have sent funds to help the Davies begin to restore the situation. Let’s remember to pray for them with a daunting job ahead.

The members of our Rory congregation on the island of Malekula were able to shelter in the concrete church building, but their houses were badly damaged and gardens ruined. We’ve sent them money to purchase food (mainly rice) until the gardens can be re-established.

Fiji: Cyclone Harold was still a powerful category 4 monster as it tracked through the southern part of Fiji, where GCI members Ratu Lorima Niumataiwalu and his wife Bale live with a son and two grandchildren, and another member, Filipe Tuidamudamu. Their home was badly damaged, and their crops destroyed.

Ratu Lorima is the Paramount Chief of the Island of Matuku, which has 8 villages. His official installation as Chief of Matuku was officiated by Ratu Epeli Kanaimawi during a church service in Suva which all the Matuku people in Suva attended.

Isei Colati has sent church funds to assist them to obtain food and other essential supplies.

Tonga: James Panuve and his son Tongli are fine, with no serious damage to their property.

Papua New Guinea: In another event separate from the cyclone, we have heard from Mark Latham that a landslide has killed 10 people in the valley near our church at Mt Wilhelm. No GCI members were hurt, but a member family lost their trout farm to the landslide, which was triggered by heavy rain in the wet season. Prayers for the Mt Wilhelm community at this tragic time are much appreciated.

Services: It’s pleasing to see that over 60 people have been able to tune into our live Zoom services since they’ve been going. Largest single attendance so far was 55 viewers on April 5th. Remember that all of the services are available to be viewed at any time on youtube at

There is something special about all being able to gather together live and fellowship a little after the service. It’s not the same as meeting face to face, but on the other hand, the opportunity for members nationwide to get together so often has been a unique and special treat.

If anyone hasn’t yet been able to connect on Zoom, but would like to do so, please let me know and we’ll see what we can do to help.

We look forward to catching up with you at our upcoming Zoom service on Sunday at 2.00pm! Meeting ID: 273 057 240

Warm regards, Rex

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