Indonesia (MNN) — A powerful
earthquake shook eastern Indonesia Friday, causing panic among residents. The
region is still recovering from a 7.6-magnitude quake that devastated western Sumatra
last month and killed more than a thousand.
The focus has already shifted
from relief to recovery. Doctors without Borders reports that many aid
organizations have already withdrawn. Indonesian
authorities are assessing the gaps in order to relocate aid efforts.
In the meantime, ministry teams are still finding remote areas
where no aid has arrived yet. Unfortunately, it may not be an issue of location.
Paul Estabrooks with Open Doors says they're finding out
that not everyone is getting help: "It's the Chinese Christians
who have been discriminated against in the aid distribution, both for ethnic and
religious reasons. In this case, it
seems to be pretty much strategically planned."
An Open Doors worker (unnamed for security reasons)
writes, "Christians in Padang–especially those in the Chinatown area–have been crying 'foul' because of the
little help they had been receiving from the local government."
The news leaked out via SMS messages. As the worker investigated, he found that aid
ministries were still very cautious about being identified. "On my second day in Padang, I met two men
from two Christian organizations. They were interested in helping the
believers in Padang and Pariaman, but they could not do it openly. They
asked if they could channel their help through Open Doors."
Estabrooks says that those talks
led to a partnership, and now, "Christian
colleagues are there distributing aid to Christian families who have been
overlooked and those who are in serious condition." They
also formed an alliance with the National Prayer Network (JDN, to
broaden their ability to help affected Christian families.
The worker further reveals the scope of the
devastation affecting Christians in Padang. "In my visit to Pariaman, northwest of Padang, 165 families and
individuals (mostly Catholics) were affected. Forty-one houses were
heavily damaged, and 72 may still be repaired. Although help from various
sectors, local and international, has been overwhelming, and the relief stage is
almost over, these believers have yet to receive direct help. Some of
them were said to have been lured to leave their faith in Christ in exchange
for food packages or medical assistance."
Estabrooks says they're calling attention to the situation.
You can help. "Pray for our
colleagues that God would help them find all of our brothers and sisters who
need help, and that the body of Christ in Indonesia would be a channel of love
and hope to the people in that area."
Pray for God's comfort and peace upon the hearts of all families who
lost homes and loved ones during the earthquake. Also pray for health and safety for the workers and