Christians Experience Tragedy, Miracles in Disaster

Friday, January 7, 2005

January 7, 2005 (Christian Aid) -- Stories are coming in to Christian Aid from missionaries in South Asia of how believers have been affected by-and in some cases miraculously spared from-the tsunami tragedy.

The city of Meulaboh on the Indonesian island of Sumatra was one of the hardest-hit by the deadly waves. Some estimates suggest that 80 percent of Meulaboh's population of 50,000 was killed. Christians were not spared. One pastor reports that 43 members of his congregation died and 15 were injured.

Another ministry leader gives different news regarding a Meulaboh congregation: "Amazing, amazing, amazing our Lord Jesus Christ! Not one believer in our church died. Psalm 91 ['He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler; under His wings you will find refuge'] has been fulfilled by the Lord. All are safe. It is incredible!"

The leader of a ministry in Tamil Nadu state, India, writes of the Lord's miraculous intervention in the lives of some local Christians. The tsunami hit on Sunday morning when many were gathered in churches. One village congregation was worshipping around 8:30 AM when latecomers outside the doors began screaming that the sea was rising. Church members immediately clambered onto the roof or fled to the roads. Though nearly 100 were pulled into the ocean, waves miraculously threw them to safe places on shore. No one from this congregation was killed.

Another Tamil Nadu believer tells the story of a 4- year-old boy who was caught in the rising ocean and nearly drowned, swallowing large amounts of seawater. He was found lying as if dead after the waters receded. Local Christians prayed over him. The boy vomited up the water and opened his eyes as church members shouted praise to God at his miraculous recovery.

Yet sadly, not all Tamil Nadu residents could give such reports. One native Christian leader writes, "This violent wave has brought extreme devastation, uncountable deaths and irreversible loss of possessions. Within 10 or 15 minutes, places became desolate and filled with stranded dead bodies. Everywhere we could hear only mourning and screaming."

Women running from the wave with their children in their arms described the horror of losing their little ones, in the words of a local leader, as "feeling like some monster hit their children and plucked them out of their grip and threw them away."

Many congregations in Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka have lost church buildings. Thousands of believers are homeless.

Please continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in South Asia as they try to restore lives devastated by the tsunami. Christian Aid is receiving emergency contributions for tsunami victims by telephone at 1- 800-977-5650 or online at Checks designated for Disaster Victims should be mailed to Christian Aid Mission, P.O. Box 9037, Charlottesville, VA 22906.