How Elim has helped after earthquake

Thousands of lives were lost in a recent earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia but Elim has stepped in to help, reports Danielle Face

A devastating earthquake and tsunami hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi in September. The 7.5-magnitude earthquake caused a tsunami with waves as high as 18 feet that swept into the city of Palu, decimating entire communities.

More than 3,500 people are confirmed dead, with approximately 20,000 people still missing. More than 1.5 million people have been affected, leaving hundreds of thousands of survivors in urgent need of food, water and shelter after more than 70,000 homes were destroyed. Yet, we praise God that none of our people in Indonesia was seriously injured.

On December 24, another Tsunami devastated Sunda Strait, killing 429 people, injuring over 1,500 and displacing another 20,000.

Because of Elim churches giving so generously, and our people in Indonesia, we were able to release funds to see relief brought within hours of the quake. So far we have built six latrines, two shower blocks, installed five water tanks, four community tents and provided two safe communal spaces for churches, schools, training, cooking, washing and medical assessments.

Elim Relief Appeal has been working alongside World Central Kitchen and YWAM, to provide over 80,000 meals to multiple refugee camps. Because of your kindness, we have also provided more than 150 families with care parcels that include cooking stoves, fuel, pots and pans, plates, cutlery, solar lamps, blankets, rope, soap, vitamins and medication.

Iain Hesketh, the International Missions Director, said: “I had only been in my role as IMD for a week as I watched the news unfold following the earthquake on the Island of Sulawesi, Indonesia, on September 28, and knew that we would have to do something to respond.

“It quickly became apparent that the scale of this disaster would have a profound impact on the people of Sulawesi for many years to come. One of the criteria for launching an ERA appeal is that we have people on the ground who can make sure any money raised through such an appeal is spent wisely and for the purpose for which it is sent.

“Our people in Indonesia agreed we should do something to meet the immediate need of the people most affected by this disaster. Christy and Linda Smith, who have much experience in the area of disaster relief, were able to visit Sheryl and Novi Maatitawaer and help with the initial response and provide some disaster response training to people in the town where Sheryl and Novi live.

“As the Indonesian government seeks to rebuild what had been destroyed our focus is seeing long- term kingdom impact in the lives of those affected.”

Volunteers help sort through emergency resources funded by the Elim Relief Appeal. Sharing resources helps build relationships

Elim minister Christy Smith, who has been a part of ERA in Kosovo, Haiti and Nepal, has been able to visit Indonesia and help the relief efforts there. Christy says, “These people have had their homes completely destroyed by a massive mudslide. Many of them are also Christians, as the area of Palu has a lot of churches compared to other areas. We were able to help in many ways. The Elim Relief Appeal has made a real difference here in Indonesia, because of Elim Missions’ willingness to respond in such a fast and decisive way.”

The Palu team has been providing children’s programmes to help them recover from the trauma, and have been praying for the sick, and counselling and discipling the refugees whenever free to do so.

The team has gained the approval and respect of the local authorities and police who have granted permission for them to serve the people and move into a second location..

       Rescuers at work after the earthquake hit Sulawesi in Indonesia

The team is looking to set up semi-permanent homes for the displaced families as the next step to help them to start to have a more normal and sustainable living environment.

Through such a devastating event, it is amazing to see how God is turning things to good. We have been able to enter new communities and build new relationships, strengthen our commitment with other organisations, help those who are hurting and demonstrate the love of Christ.

An emergency shelter provides temporary refuge

However, the task is still incomplete. Our desire, through the work of our people in Indonesia, is to help the Church play a central role in meeting the needs of the community – shelter, training, relief distribution, meeting points and conversations. We hope the light of Christ will shine even through the midst of loss.

Join us in prayer...

  • For the people who are working tirelessly to help those in desperate need.
  • For the ongoing work and for favour with local leaders as we seek opportunities to stay in relationship for the future.
  • Thank God for ERA and our people in Indonesia, as they seek to serve God by reaching communities in desperate need.
  • Thank God for the response of the Elim churches in the UK, who have donated over £24,000 which made it possible to release finances straight away and provide immediate relief.
  • Pray for wisdom for the staff of Elim International Missions, ERA and our people in Indonesia, regarding the ongoing release and distribution of relief money raised.

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