Update from David Mansfield on Lord Howe Island

A good number of you have been sending emails, messages and  ringing up to see how I survived the storm. So I thought I’d give you a quick update.

It was a hairy night. Little sleep as the wind and rain swept though, trees fell and things got thrown around. It abated for a while, the ex-cyclone passed over and then the winds turned and hit us from the other direction from around breakfast time. About ten trees came down on the church property, none near the church building, just near the garage and rectory. One tree fell on the roof but caused no damage. Others fell on the ground. Then about midday today as I was getting ready to do my shift at the museum, the tree we have been concerned about for months, if not years, and had planned to have  professionally removed gave way to the wind and wood-rot. I was actually looking out the bedroom window where it was, heard the ghastly crack and watched it fall towards the  bedroom. The extremity of the tree brushed the eaves, window and wall while the trunk smashed into one of our water tanks causing extensive damage.

Providentially that was the extent of our damage beside a massive clean up when the weather permits. Some houses had limbs crash into their roof causing more serious damage. A yacht was  capsized and a tinny was picked up and slammed into the aquatic club roller door. Other boat damage has occurred. I am reminded about how powerless we are against the forces of nature and yet how insignificant they are compared to God’s power. Not just Mark 4 and the calming of the storm, but Proverbs 30:4 (which I preached on a few years ago) and Isaiah 40:12. I was reminded too of that beautiful children’s novel called The Cay about an elderly black slave (Philip) who saves the life of a white boy (Timothy) at the cost of his own life by strapping Timothy to a tree and strapping himself to the tree between Timothy and the full force of a hurricane on a deserted island in The West Indies. When the storm had passed, Timothy was saved but Philip, taking the full blast of the hurricane perished in the pounding his body took. Oh, that greater sacrifice of the One for the many. If you don’t know the book, head down to your local library or google it.

So thanks again for your prayers. Things are expected to quieten down tomorrow and, I hope, Dave Seccombe’s postponed sail out here can begin on Sunday from South West Rocks. His brother, the skipper, is an experienced yachtsman and will know what is best. Sad to say, at the advice of the SES and local policeman, I have not done my Rabbit Island swim today. My sequence is broken after 76 swims.                                                             

Grace abounding, David