Bible Camp destroyed in Indonesia’s triple-disaster

By October 5, 2018

Indonesia (MNN) — Over 1,400 people are confirmed dead following the triple-disaster in Indonesia. Within a week, the island of Sulawesi suffered an earthquake, a tsunami, and a volcanic eruption.

Disaster at Bible Camp

FMI’s Bruce Allen explains at least 800 hundred people are still missing and over 60,000 are displaced. But Allen says one of the saddest stories he’s heard is about a Bible camp in Jono Oge, a town 15 miles south of the city of Palu.

“Two-hundred high schoolers were at this camp when the earthquake hit…What ended up happening during the earthquake was liquefaction, which means that the soil actually behaved as if it’s liquid. It would have ripples and waves and would have the power to suck people. People can sink in it.” Allen shares.

Aftermath of earthquake outside of Palu, Indonesia, September 2018. (Photo courtesy FMI)

Some people ran for the hills or woods when they saw the liquefaction of the soil. Over 30 people have been confirmed dead, and 55 people are still missing from the camp. Debris from the camp’s buildings has been discovered up to a mile away from the site. The debris was dragged away during the liquefaction of the soil.

“One young man, I’ll call him Boby, said, ‘You know, yesterday I had a bed to sleep in. I was safe. I was well. Today I am sleeping in the middle of the forest. I have nothing to eat and nothing to drink. I have my brother, our clothes are ripped, and that’s all we have’,” Allen recounts.

Boby communicated with Allen by using a cell phone. However, without electricity to charge the phone, Allen is unsure how long Boby will be able to stay in contact with him or others.

Surviving Isolation

Allen has also been in contact with another Christian survivor, Atin. Atin is a midwife who lives outside of Palu. Thankfully, the disasters have not damaged her home. But because of the blocked roadways and limited food access, she has been surviving on instant noodles. These same challenges Atin faces also face the government, making rescue and aid operations more difficult.


Damage caused by triple-disaster in Palu, Indonesia September 2018 (Photo courtesy of FMI)

Still, Allen is encouraging Boby, Atin, and other Indonesian Christians to use this triple-disaster as an opportunity. Southern Sulawesi is a majority Muslim area where radical Islam has been on the rise. Northern Sulawesi is predominantly Christian. The triple-disaster hit Central Sulawesi, which means both Christians and Muslims have been affected and need aid.

“There have been clashes. What I’m really encouraging the Christians there in Sulawesi to do is us this as an opportunity to show compassion to people who have abused you or mistreated you. Show forgiveness, extend compassion, reflect the values of Jesus Christ to everyone,” Allen says.

Be Prayerful, Be Active

Please pray for Boby and Atin, that God would sustain them and encourage them. Pray for the government and aid organizations’ ability to rescue and respond to the needs of people impacted by this triple-disaster. Also, pray the government would secure better warning systems for natural disasters. Finally, pray Indonesian Christians to be a part of the relief efforts and for them to reflect Christ’s love and compassion even to their enemies.

Another way to help Christians in Indonesia is by donating to FMI’s “Tangible Resources” fund. These funds will then be used to supply Indonesian Christians with aid to distribute.

Click here to donate.

Want to encourage your Indonesian brothers and sisters? Drop a note to let these Christians know you are praying for them by emailing FMI.

Email FMI here!


Header photo courtesy of FMI

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