White Island

I suppose that because we live in a world-wide-web environment and because we are so mobile these days, we not only hear about most disasters – and almost immediately – but sadly, might also be involved in them. You have probably heard about this disaster last week and by the time you read this might know much more than I do, at the moment. Whakaari (or White Island – named by Captain Cook in 1769 – either because of the white steam emanating from it or the island’s colour from a distance) – is a popular tourist attraction and is New Zealand’s most active cone volcano. It is about 40km off the coast in the Bay of Plenty (the North Island of New Zealand) The main activities on the island now are guided tours and scientific research. A large eruption occurred at 2:11 pm, 9 December 2019, which resulted in at least five fatalities and thirty-four injured, largely burns. Forty-seven people were on the island when it erupted (all tour participants or staff) and apparently twenty-four were Australians. Eighteen people, including Australians, were last Monday night being treated for burns at mainland hospitals. Access to the island is only allowed as a member of a tour run by a registered tour operator. The island is currently covered in ash and volcanic material. What a terrible tragedy. What a terrible Christmas it will be for some. Please pray for those who have survived; please pray for those who are treating the injured; please pray for the families of those who are now deceased; please pray for those who are locating bodies; and please pray that our Lord returns soon, and that many will turn to him for the hope beyond this that only he can provide. Thankfully we have already been told, by Jesus himself, that we will not be spared from experiencing such disasters before the end will come, and how at one level, they are the birth pains before a new creation comes (Matthew 24:6-8 and Revelation 21:1-4). O Lord, please help us.

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