(MNN) — Relief efforts are underway in Sumatra,
a series of strong earthquakes shook the area.
Sumatra has been jolted by four powerful earthquakes since late Wednesday,
the strongest of which measured 8.4 on the Richter scale. The epicenter of this quake was about 105
kilometers southwest of Bengkulu. Officials deemed it the most powerful earthquake to strike anywhere in
the world this year.
AMG International's Roger Thomas says they have a church
planter in Bengkulu, southwestern Sumatra. Although there have been strong aftershocks,
the damage there has been minimal. Two small tsunamis were also reported, but neither caused any
serious damage or injury. Power
cuts and disrupted telephone networks made gathering information difficult,
although government authorities and relief groups did manage to fly into the
Even though their project wasn't directly affected by the
disaster, Thomas says they're ready for action if needed. "We generally
use our church-planting places as a base of operations for reaching out when
these things happen. So if this church planter lets us know that there is a
need in the region, then that'll be coordinated and come from our headquarters
there in Solo."
Thomas says this crisis might allow the hope of the Gospel
to penetrate in areas that would otherwise be closed. He urges prayer. "It's difficult going
into that region, but in response to a disaster like an earthquake or a tsunami,
the Christians are generally the ones out there first to give relief,
comfort, or whatever assistance that they can."