Indonesia (MNN) — Five years ago, nearly a quarter of a
million people lost their lives in a deadly earthquake-tsunami combo in
Indonesia. The numbers are less following a 7.6-magnitude earthquake earlier
this month; an estimated 1,100 people were killed, mostly on the island of
Sumatra. With an indigenous
church-planting group, Partners International is raising support to help meet
needs of earthquake survivors.
Partners recently received an update from Cahaya Suku, a
church-planting group in the region. About 30 miles north of Padang lies a
remote area hit severely by the quakes; food and shelter remain key concerns.
Chaya Suku provided immediate relief aid in the form of blankets, money, mattresses
and gas for stoves.
"The wreckage seems so random; some homes are perfectly
fine and all the ones around it are reduced to rubble," says one team
member. "Fortunately we were able to coordinate the purchase of 25 large
rolls of tarps. These tarps will be cut to family size and distributed to those
in need of immediate shelter."
Along with providing immediate relief, Chaya Suku is
developing long-term strategies for church-planting in the area. In giving his
perspective on the tragedy, Partners' Southeast Asia Director said open doors
are the silver lining.
"Could God turn this horrific tragedy in the history of
this people into a turning point…where they learn to express their love for God
through Jesus? It would be just like Him to turn something so bad into
something so incredible."
He explains that the 9 million nomadic Minang people of West
Sumatra are key to the spiritual shift in Indonesia. Only 100-300 of the 9
million Minang people believe in Jesus and confess Him as their Savior.
"The Minang are staunchly Muslim," he says.
"They take pride in the fact that during colonization they did not give
ground to the West and become Christian."
Chaya Suku's other long-term goals include recruiting and
training additional church planters, relocating current church planters into
this region, and engaging in long-term development projects such as building