Hard to describe the devastation . . .

Five of our men from the life group went down to the Hawkes Bay to be muscle power shifting loads of silt at a winery.  Danny said it was hard to describe the devastation that met them when they arrived.  Logging trucks that were fully loaded tipped on their sides.  Cars on their roofs.  A house that had lifted off its foundations and went on an adventure 2 km up the road.  Water-soaked furniture piled into heaps beside the roads.  Homes destroyed, lives in tatters and the News are not showing half of the story.  Everyone had to wear masks due to the stench and to reduce the possibility of breathing in the harmful dust.  Arios said that it was like walking into a war zone!

 Danny told me that the people were so grateful for the help.  People coming from all corners of New Zealand to offer help and get on the end of a shovel.  The area where they worked still does not have power or running water, yet the people are thankful and full of smiles.  The team worked well together singing and giving each other banter while they worked it helped to raise the morale of everyone else.  They were happy doing their job digging the soggy silt out from around the vats and the adjoining rooms.  One of the vineyard workers commented that ‘no one else wanted to do this job but you are happy to jump in’.  Anyone who joined in with them slotted in like one of the team.  Occasionally it was announced “these are the guys doing the hard work!” Danny commented that the team were working faster than the digger driver and they were getting frustrated by the limitations that created.

 He shared a story about the wine maker who had been working for six to twelve months on a boutique blend up until the storm.  He was due to open the 300-litre batch the week their lives were changed.  Miraculously the water lifted the barrel up and it floated above two bigger vats where it came to rest and survived any flood damage.  He is thinking he may call it ‘miracle wine’.  A beautiful story that brought joy amid all the destruction.

 By the time they left they knew they had made a positive difference to the owners of the winery and the team felt blessed being able to assist in this way.  Many hands make light work.  It was an experience that none of them will ever forget.

One of the young guys thanked Danny for inviting him to go.  He wanted to stay and continue to help.  I saw this young man’s mother up town this week and she said how proud she was of her son for going and doing something, knowing that he wouldn’t get anything in return.  I can guess that this experience will stay with him and be a story he tells his grandkids one day.

Word reached the Transform office that Mike King the nations mental health advocate had mentioned the good work ‘the five guys from Putaruru’ had done ‘mucking in’ at the Hawkes Bay last week.  He was being interviewed Live on the AM show on TV3.  They obviously made a good impression on Mike for him to say something.  He was one of many people our guys met during their stay.  Danny said it was a pleasure to meet him in person.