A call to prayer is issued for the Acehnese.

By February 3, 2005

Indonesia (MNN)–The Southern Baptist International Mission Board is dedicating today as a day of prayer and fasting for the Acehnese.

Over 229,000 people in Aceh are dead or missing as a result of the quake and tsunami. This disaster occured in a deeply religious area, where most are Sunni Muslim, and have been very instrumental in spreading Islam throughout Indonesia and Southeast Asia.

As a deeply religious people, many believe these natural disasters are a punishment from Allah. And while the area only had a small contingent of Christians, it’s their voice that’s speaking about a very different kind of God.

In light of this, the IMB asks believers to pray that not only would the survivors’ physical needs be met, but that many would hear the truth about Jesus presented in a culturally sensitive and appropriate way.

There are also concerns that the cease-fire declared between the Indonesian government and GAM (Aceh Free Movement) would hold. In that vein, because of the increased security risks, the Indonesian government has been increasingly restricting continued relief work.

That has proven a frustration for workers on the ground trying to assist the survivors. A growing concern now are the plagues and diseases that often follow natural disasters of this magnitude. Medicines are being rushed in to stave off outbreaks.

Please pray that local believers would be bold and compassionate witnesses to their hurting communities, and that Christians would be wise in the way they conduct themselves during relief efforts.

Teams are distributing $1,257,200 (USD) in aid throughout the region. Additional relief projects will be funded as teams are able to evaluate needs and design projects to meet those needs.

In the Pacific Rim:
— Indonesia: $487,200 for food, water, water purification, medical supplies, body bags, blankets, temporary housing and needs assessment survey.
— Thailand: $25,000 for food, water, blankets and temporary housing.

In South Asia:
— Sri Lanka: $725,000 for food, water, basic medical care and temporary housing.
— Other areas: $20,000 for food, water, building materials and supplies.

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