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Bushfire Remnants Yield Opportunities to Serve in Jesus’ Name

Almost two years on from one of the most traumatic bushfire seasons Australia has faced, a rural town in southern Queensland is still trying to get back on its feet – Stanthorpe.

When blazing fires raged through Queensland in September 2019, Samaritan’s Purse deployed its disaster relief team to Stanthorpe to meet the immediate needs of families who had lost everything.

As the fires travelled down Australia’s eastern coast, it left a trail of burnt properties, chaos, debris and heartbreak. Two years later, the small town continued reeling to recover from the devastation.

Then, on 15 July 2021, our volunteers returned to serve Stanthorpe once more.

“Most people didn’t expect anyone to come back and help them,” our project manager said. “So, it was amazing to see their astonishment and gratitude when they saw our team coming to help.”

For two weeks, God worked through our disaster relief volunteers to provide physical aid, such as removing burnt trees and helping homeowners clean their properties, while sharing God’s love and hope.

Anna* is a widowed lady our volunteers helped in Stanthorpe. Alone and ill with a painful sickness, Anna was heartbroken when the fires nearly engulfed her home. Seeing burnt trees and fallen branches across her property each day was draining all her hope, until Samaritan’s Purse arrived.

Our team got to work, felling the trees, splitting logs for firewood, chipping the branches for mulch and restoring her yard to a state of normality.

Within three days, our volunteers accomplished more than Anna could have ever imagined. Each day that we returned to help, her anguish was replaced by hope and her smile returned.

“Today, I walked around my property with the biggest grin on my face and marvelled at what you have done for me,” Anna shared with our team once the clean-up was complete.

Shirlee and Don were also dangerously close to losing their home. Shirlee described the horrific experience to our volunteers: “There was a wall of flames rushing closer and throwing embers towards our house. There was a roaring sound. We knew we had to evacuate. There was no time to collect anything, we just had to drive away and leave it all behind.”

When Shirlee and Don returned to their place, they were thrilled to see their house still standing strong.

While they were filled with joy that their home had not been burnt, their property was a mess with what was once a beautiful garden full of flora and fauna.

Then, our team came with tools and many hands to help the couple clear the debris. Without the additional support, Shirlee and Don would still be trying to pick up the pieces on their own.

We thank God for opening the doors for our volunteers to return to Stanthorpe and bring hope back into the community. Thank you for your prayers and support that make it possible for Samaritan’s Purse Australian Disaster Relief to respond to local crises at a moment’s notice.

*Name changed to protect privacy

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When disasters strike, Samaritan’s Purse responds quickly to bring relief to people in need. Your gift today can help us provide a lifeline to a family that has lost everything, to help them get back on their feet.

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