(Photo taken from the top of Christchurch Cathedral in 1988.)
The images have flashed around the world: images of destruction and devastation. Images that still have almost a surreal quality to them. We know that the city has been destroyed and yet we cling to our memories of the beautiful city it once was. We see the smashed cathedral, its steeple gone, and we don't want to believe it.
Yet it's true.
Tonight the death toll stands at 98 with over 200 still missing. Rescue teams from all over the world are already on the ground helping with rescue and recovery efforts. I saw a team from my Australian state pull a woman out of a crushed building alive. One of the last to be found alive.
I see families waiting by piles of rubble for news of their loved ones. I see the injured in hospital not knowing if their families are safe.
It's so incredibly horrendous that it is almost incomprehensible. It defies description. As we go about our daily lives not too many hundreds of kilometres away lives are not going on as normal.
Only four names have been officially released. Two of them babies only months old. As a mother this breaks my heart.
Please continue to pray for this city. For the families. For those trapped and still alive. For the rescue workers. For the media that they will continue to be sensitive. For the mayor. For everyone affected. And for this nation.
And thank God for those like my online friend Debbie who have been spared. They too need our prayers to recover from the horror of this nightmare.