The press moves on to the next big thing, but people in Sulawesi are still in deep mourning and trying to survive in what is left of their villages. Back to Jerusalem partners are there too, providing more than aid alone.
When disaster strikes, the need for water, food and shelter is immediate. But men cannot live by bread alone. What is needed as badly as water is somebody to listen to your story, so you are not alone in your grief and fear.
Our partners have been doing a lot of listening as they went around distributing aid and going to places where no one had yet reached. The stories they hear speak of deep sorrow. Some of them we want to share with you here.
‘A father told that after the mud slide hit, he saw two pairs of tiny feet sticking out of the mud. One pair of feet was still moving, but the other did not. He started digging immediately, trying to save the child. But as he was digging, the little feet stopped moving. When he reached the head, the child had already stopped breathing.’
A nine-year-old girl told: “I was in the toilet when the earthquake happened. It was so violent, I could not run at all. I was shaken left and right and later up and down. I was so scared. Later my dad beat the door and took me out from the toilet. I saw all my family was saved, including my seven-year-old brother. He was playing in front of the house. My father took him away from a wall which almost fell on him. We live in a tent now because our house has too many cracks. My school was destroyed. I hope one day I can continue my education and my life”
‘One of our team met a young mother who gave birth at home right when the earthquake happened. She lived in the area where the liquification happened. She screamed for help, but no one came. At last her mother came. Right after the baby came out, she ran with her mother, while the umbilical cord was still attached. While running, she kept bleeding. After a few kilometres, she finally found a safe place to rest. It is a miracle that both she and her baby are alive.’
As well as distributing aid and listening to stories, the team testifies that many people are open to hear about the love of Jesus. A team member shared this story:
‘I met a woman tonight, who kept her mouth shut most of the time. When I asked her why, she said she had too much trauma to talk. I asked her what she felt. She said she is so afraid and there is no safe place for her to go to. I told her how there is a safe place for her with God. Then she told me how she had suffered from a light stroke. I told her about Isa (Jesus), who healed a paralyzed man who was lowered through a roof. She was amazed at that story, which she had never heard before, but she said she believed it. We prayed together and I asked her how she felt. She said that she felt her body was lighter, that she felt peace and she could speak better. As we got up to leave, she asked us to come back again. She has a son who is blind. We will come back to pray for him and share the good news with her family.’
Our partners are amazed to find ‘many and many people who want to learn the truth’. They have sent for more people to come and assist them in distributing aid, counselling victims and sharing the hope of the gospel.
And yes, our emergency fund is still open. Before Christmas we are preparing to send aid specifically to the families of the many young people who died when the church where they were having Bible lessons was buried in the mud. We want to help these families who have lost both their loved ones and their homes, and show them their brothers and sisters in Christ care for them. Please give generously, using the link below.