Indonesia (MNN) — A powerful
earthquake and aftershocks struck the waters off western Indonesia just a few
days ago. "The recent earthquake reminded us, even though there wasn't
any notable damage where we serve, of the impact of the tsunami a few years ago
on the island of Aceh," said Lee DeYoung with
Words of Hope.
In December 2004, a massive
earthquake off Sumatra island triggered a tsunami that battered much of the
Indian Ocean coastline and killed more than 230,000 people.
province of Aceh was devastated and the infrastructure set back a decade or
so. Unemployment in Aceh rose as
rebuilding efforts following the tsunami slowed. Analysts believe a high
unemployment rate could resurrect political instability in the separatist
region. Fears and memories of the chaos
that reigned in 2004 came flooding back in the wake of the jolts.
At the same time, the disaster
sped ministry forward by light years. "That created a little bit of a
different climate and an opportunity for ministry," said DeYoung. "We're grateful for that, and
we can see that sometimes these natural disasters prompt
questions of 'Why?' And sometimes the answers can be surprising in the
DeYoung explained earlier that
"in the past, [broadcasting] that was an option which was closed, even
though there were stations that were willing to consider it. There was concern
that there might be a backlash, and at this point, at least in one area, the
station is willing to go ahead and air programs. It seems as if it may reflect
a softening of opposition against the Gospel."
Because Christians were the hands
and feet of Christ during the crisis, today
"Words of Hope ministers in Indonesia in the languages of Buginese
and Makasar on the island of Sulawesi."