This city is Christchurch. Situated in the South Island of New Zealand, the city of Christchurch was destroyed and damaged by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake on the 22 February 2011. The earthquake damaged thousands of homes, killed 185 people and turned the central city into abandoned buildings and demolition sites.
Christchurch is a dynamic city made up of many different cultures, vibrant city life and the second largest city in New Zealand. I moved to Christchurch at the beginning of 2012, after the earthquake, to start my student life. My Christchurch is a broken city- full of passionate people wanting change, construction workers and cranes but I've fallen in love with this damaged war zone all the same.
When I first told friends I was moving to Christchurch they all looked at me as if I was crazy. "Why move there?" They asked. "There's nothing left!" But they were wrong. Christchurch is a beautiful city and even without the traditional city centre life- it still doesn't fail to shine.
The different shades of Beauty
Beauty is shown in all different forms and in nothing beats the natural beauty that is Christchurch's Hagley Park. Hagley Park is a huge park made up of lots of different areas spread across the central city of Christchurch. Nicknamed New Zealand's version of New York's central park, Hagley remains important to Christchurch as a landmark and significant space that brings people together.
Another beautiful thing for Christchurch is the innovative spirit. It sounds cheesy to say but now that Christchurch has become very bare compared to what it once was, all the creative people have come out to play with the empty spaces. Empty lots have been filled with dance floors powered by a washing machine, a mini football pitch and a library.
On a bigger scale, the container mall (ReStart mall) was created. Found in the central city where Cashel mall once stood in its place now has shops made out of painted containers. Although it still looks like giant lego blocks, it's a great place for people to hang out and adds to the tourist industry.
Persistence pays off
The great thing about innovations such as this is it's an example of Cantabrians succeeding through endurance. As William Barclay said, "Endurance is not just the ability to bear a difficult thing but to turn it into glory." The people of Christchurch really struggled after the earthquake and where many simply just gave up and moved away, there are still many here toughing it out and believing for the best. With the New Zealand famous saying behind them, "Christchurch will rebuild!"
In Galatians 6:9 it says: 'and let us not know weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.' Persistence is a hard thing to tackle but it always pays off. The persistence I have seen in Christchurch is mind blowing. Many people living in quake damaged homes are still waiting to hear back from their insurance companies and the earthquake commission as to what will happen to their houses, renovation or demolition. They have been waiting without answer for almost two years - something that takes serious patience and perseverance.
An act of bravery
I always thought as bravery as was the tale of David and Goliath. David stood up to the giant which he knew could kill him in an instant but he still trusted God and was confident and brave to fight Goliath. But since moving to Christchurch I have learned of confidence and bravery in a different way.
A friend of mine lost her Father in the Earthquake and wasn't sure how to move on. She begged her Mother to let them move out of the country- all she wanted to do was escape. But her Mother refused, she said the only way they were going to move past these trials were to face them. It took a while but eventually the girl gave in and decided to try do her part for those who also lost others in the earthquake.
She went and volunteered at the red cross, shovelled liquefaction out of people's homes and donated her time to helping collect for the earthquake relief fund. What others may see as a girl of good community service, I see as an act of confidence and bravery. She faced the earthquake and all the damage it caused to her and her loved ones and still persisted to help others around her even though she was hurting.
As Joyce Meyer says, "Battles are fought in our minds every day. When we begin to feel the battle is just too difficult and want to give up, we must choose to resist negative thoughts and be determined to rise above our problems. We must decide that we're not going to quit. When we're bombarded with doubts and fears, we must take a stand and say: "I'll never give up! God's on my side. He loves me, and He's helping me! I'm going to make it!"
Joelle Bautista is a Journalism student of the New Zealand Broadcasting School based in Christchurch. She enjoys writing, talking and playing sport. Born and raised in the Church, her love for God grows increasingly by the day.
Joelle Bautista's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/joelle-bautista.html