As many of you know, there was a massive earthquake in Christchurch yesterday afternoon. It was more shallow (and thus much more violent) than the one that struck a few months ago. Also, this one took place during the day when people were going about their business in the city; the last one happened while most people were at home in bed. We've been told it is the worst natural disaster to ever hit New Zealand. The news reports are calling this "New Zealand's darkest day". So far there are about 40 confirmed dead, but that number is expected to go up to 300 or more. There are people trapped in rubble with little chance of being freed in time. There are bodies in the streets which have yet to be collected and identified.
Christchurch is quite far from us, in response to the many emails we have received this morning about our own safety. Still, many of the friends we have met here are originally from Christchurch. Their family and friends live there and we do not know yet how their loved ones have fared.
We're praying for all those who lost their lives unexpectedly, for those who are trapped and afraid, for those who are living right now in fear, anxiety, sadness and with great loss. Strong aftershocks continue, which must be terrifying for young children in Christchurch.
Thank you to everyone for your concerned emails and please pray in a special way for Christchurch and New Zealand. We are okay - many others are not. We know that God can call forth great heroism, great faith, great conversion and hope in dark hours such as these, and we pray for those graces to be poured forth abundantly on this whole nation.