It’s been one year since the tsunami, much work yet to be done

By December 26, 2005

Indonesia (MNN) — It was one year ago today. A massive earthquake off the coast of Indonesia changed 11 nations throughout East Asia. December 26, 2004 was the day the tsunami hit, killing more than 200,000 people.

Indonesia was one of the hardest hit countries where more than 100,000 people died and entire cities and villages were destroyed.

Wycliffe Associates President Bruce Smith says his organization had extensive work in Indonesia before the tsunami, but not in the hardest hit area, Banda Aceh. “It’s been fairly closed to Christian missionaries for a long time due to some civil unrest and political and religious tensions that are in that arena. But, of course the opening of the area up to relief and responsive support after the tsunami was really unprecedented.”

Nearby Nias Island, Indonesia wasn’t only affected by the tsunami, but also a powerful aftershock a few month later. Smith says, “A couple of our families are living there and doing some training to help people learn better construction techniques, things that will help to earthquake-proof some of their simple dwellings, by adding reinforcement steal.” Wycliffe Associates needs more people to help with construction and other physical needs.

While physical work has been on going, it’s paving the way for future outreach, Smith says. “By working with the government officials, obviously you gain some credibility and you gain some human capital for work in that area of the future. And so, it’s really created an open opportunity for us to do additional language research, be in contact with people groups we didn’t have contact with previously.”

That work, according to Smith, is needed desperately. “The country of Indonesia has about 500 languages that are still without any Scripture at all. And so, our commitment there is really long term.”

If you’d like to help tsunami victims with many areas of need, click on the link below to get connected.

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