Earthquake in Indonesia could spur church growth

By October 7, 2009

Indonesia (MNN) — Indonesia continues to mourn the dead and the missing, following two devastating earthquakes measuring 7.6 and 6.6, respectively, on the Richter scale. The quakes hit the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

According to United Nations officials, the disaster has left about 4,000 people buried beneath the rubble.

While the official death toll is 777, "most people here are trapped and buried inside buildings. You cannot hope for more survivors. I think most of them have died," said Indonesia's vice-president Jusuf Kalla in a press conference.

While the devastation pales in comparison to the 2004 earthquake and resulting tsunami, David Lu, Associate Coordinator of Southeast Asia for AMG International, says, "This is a wake-up call for us: we have to do something for our brothers and sisters who need Christ. This is a very good opportunity. I see it as the hand of God working in our world today. He Himself opens up opportunities for us to go inside a place that is very, very closed to the Gospel."

According to Lu, this part of Indonesia is predominately Muslim, "and it's a very, very antagonistic area to the Gospel."

AMG International has work in the region. "We have church planting and also a child sponsorship program. We have to work as if we're walking on a tight rope. We have to keep our balance. If not, they will just close churches. They can destroy churches."

However, despite the threat of imposing sharia law in some areas of Indonesia, Lu says church growth is unstoppable. "This is like yeast. You put yeast in the dough, and it will just grow. As the Bible says, 'the gates of hell will not prevail against it.'"

Throughout Indonesia, AMG has about 200 church planters. Pray that these believers will be bold but wise as they share their faith.

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