Samaritan’s Purse volunteers find treasured coins for Australian wildfire victim

January 30, 2020 • Australia
Samaritan’s Purse volunteers are painstakingly sifting through ash helping homeowners recover precious possessions lost during the deadly Australian bushfires.
Samaritan’s Purse volunteers are painstakingly sifting through ash helping homeowners recover precious possessions lost during the deadly Australian bushfires.

Your support made it possible for wildfire victims to recover precious heirlooms from their destroyed home.

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The home, shared by John* and his partner Sally*, was utterly destroyed. The bush fires that have swept across so much of Australia left little but ashes.

But in the midst of their shock and grief, generous Canadians like you came through for them.

Your support is making it possible for a highly trained team of Samaritan’s Purse Canada staff and volunteers to be in Australia to help search through the ashes and debris of burned buildings to find heirlooms and keepsakes.

Specially trained, then outfitted in protective gear, volunteers carefully sifted through the ashes of John and Sally’s home in the devastated town of Bairnsdale, on the country’s south coast.

‘Sifting is a beautiful ministry’

At first they found coffee mugs, dishes, pots, and pans—typical items that can sometimes survive the hottest fire. But then they started discovering five-dollar coins—two at first, then three more later on. John was overjoyed because each coin represented one of his five daughters.

Sifting is hot, messy work that can be dangerous without the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) which includes custom-fit breathing masks, goggles, and Tyvek hazmat suits.

Sifting is hot, messy work that can be dangerous without the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) which includes custom-fit breathing masks, goggles, and Tyvek hazmat suits.

After that, our volunteers discovered an engagement ring owned by John’s mother. He gave it to Sally and joked that maybe they should get engaged.

“Sifting is a beautiful ministry and so intimate with the homeowners,” said Andy Northup, the Canadian leading the Samaritan’s Purse team in Bairnsdale.

“We shared lunch with the homeowner, swapped stories, belly laughed a lot and listened to John and Sally share more and more of their story.”

Bible presentation

Crisis-trained chaplains from the Billy Graham Association joined the gathering and, at the end of the day, presented John and Sally with a Bible signed by all the team members.

“It was beautifully received and appreciated,” Andy reported. “I can’t help but believe that God is about to change two people’s lives in a way they cannot yet imagine.”

None of this would be possible without Canadians like you responding to God’s love for all people in all circumstances. “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40, ESV).

There are more Bairnsdale residents who need your help. Will you reach out to them in Jesus’ Name?

*Names changed to protect privacy.

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