Rapid Response to a Triple Disaster
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The Indonesian island of Sulawesi was impacted by a monstrous earthquake and tsunami on Friday, Sept. 28. The magnitude 7.5 quake cut off power to the tsunami alert system, leaving residents totally without warning when the resulting 20-foot-high tsunami broke upon the island.
Adding to the disaster, Mount Soputan erupted on Wednesday, Oct. 3, spewing ash 19,700 feet into the air above the island of Sulawesi.
The estimated death toll from the series of events is currently estimated at more than 1,550 individuals.
The Indonesia Assemblies of God, AG World Missions, and Convoy of Hope have joined hands in their swift response to this overwhelming tragedy.
AGWM Asia Pacific Regional Director Jeff Hartensveld served as a missionary in Indonesia for 23 years, leading relief and rebuilding efforts after the historic 2005 tsunami. "Our national AG church leaders in Indonesia immediately loaded a truck with relief supplies and sent it overnight to the disaster area and are sending more,” Hartensveld says. “They need our prayers and our help. Our missionaries are also engaged in responding to this horrific tragedy. It's very clear that the devastation was far more than anyone imagined.”
The Indonesia Assemblies of God has 31 churches in Central Sulawesi. At least four churches are completely destroyed, four have minor damage, and the status of 23 remains unknown.
The Indonesia AG has already sent the first truckloads of relief supplies to affected communities.
A team from Convoy of Hope arrived in Indonesia on Thursday where they will meet with missionaries and pastors to begin assessing the damage and what can be done.
Convoy of Hope president Hal Donaldson says, “As in so many past major disasters, Convoy is committed to joining hands with AG World Missions to minister to the needy through AG churches in the area, who themselves suffered so much.”
Meanwhile, believers continue to pray for the thousands who remain trapped under rubble or debris. Tragically, 180 Christian students were having a retreat at a school which was hit badly by the tsunami, and 100 are still unaccounted for — including the daughter of an Assemblies of God pastor.
“The government is restricting access to the area, even by humanitarian organizations,” AGWM Advancement Director Randy Hurst says. “Because we already have people on the ground, we are able to minister to fellow believers in the AG churches. As well, through those churches, desperately needy people will be served in surrounding communities.”
For continuing updates and ways to give, visit AG.org/Indonesia.
“I urgently appeal to the churches of the U.S. Assemblies of God and anyone who gets these communications to fervently pray for the Indonesia Assemblies of God, our missionaries serving there, and for Convoy personnel,” says AGWM Executive Director Greg Mundis. “All these need God's guidance and strength in these tragic circumstances.”