Australia (MNN) — It looks as though flooding has affected all six Australian states. AFP reports damages from the massive catastrophe could easily surpass U.S. costs for Hurricane Katrina and "slice more than AUS$10 billion off GDP."
The devastation is widespread, but Australian state Queensland has been hit the hardest by far. Many sources report entire towns submerged in water.
The two Australian states that were not originally affected much by the flooding, South Australia and Tasmania, may be in for a rude awakening as well. Tasmania was hit hard yesterday by heavy rains, and flash flood warnings are still in place.
South Australia was hit yesterday as well, with close to 100mm of rain, The Australian newspaper reports. As of yesterday, South Australia was still on alert for more flash floods.
With a disaster the likes of which some say has never struck Australia in the country's history, there is certainly concern that ministry may be halted. Some churches have indeed been immersed in flood waters.
Grace Ministries International, however, is proud to announce that their missionaries have gone miraculously unaffected. "We asked them, ‘How close is it?' They said it was at least 5 to 8 hours driving time," explains Jim Molencamp. "So that means the biggest population center there, Sydney–near where our missionaries are–seems to be unaffected by it."
Grace Ministries is praising God for their good fortune. One of their missionary couples ministers by means of a coffee shop. Prospects for their ministry could have been frightening had floods swept through their café.
Freedom from natural disaster does not exclude GMI missionaries from the spiritual ones, however, and Molencamp says ministry is still a battle. "Only five percent [of Australians] even go to church on a Sunday, so it's kind of a closed country. So we would just pray for open doors."
Even though flooding has not directly hit Sydney, people there have been affected as friends and family have lost much. Pray that the national sense of loss would actually open doors for conversation for the missionaries serving in the area. Pray that as people begin to think through what's important to them, that they might come to these trusted coffee shop owners or GMI's other missionary family. Pray that the Lord would speak through the couples.
GMI has been working in Australia for decades. To learn more about their kingdom building in the country, click here.