Churchgoer whose son is still missing after Indonesia tsunami says he's not angry

ReutersPoliceman investigate the ruins of the church at Jono Oge village, Sigi, where more than 80 children are believed to have died.

The member of a church that was among those badly hit by the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia last month is staying faithful despite his son being among the missing.

The churchgoer, named only as Martin in an update from Wycliffe Bible Translators, said he had been searching for his son, Tegar, amongst the debris for 12 hours every day since the tsunami washed away buildings and lives in the area around Palu in Central Sulawesi. 

Despite the tragic circumstances, Martin said he is not angry over what has happened.  

'I'm not angry – what for? We only hope, as a community, that the victims are found,' he said. 'My neighbours said, "Your son hasn't returned," and I said, "Yes, what can I do? God loves him more."'

Wycliffe Bible Translators is supporting several churches in Palu and Central Sulawesi, providing food and practical assistance. 

Marnix Riupassa, director of Wycliffe Indonesia - also known as Kartidaya - described some of the destruction. 

'One of the churches and a training centre collapsed and were swallowed up by mudslides,' he said. 'Materials from the training centre were found 2km away. Where the training centre was previously has now become coconut and corn gardens. This all happened in just a few minutes.'

Wycliffe Indonesia has been able to confirm the safety of all of its workers in the region, but others have not been so lucky. 

When the tsunami struck, one church was holding a children's camp at its retreat centre.  According to Wycliffe, 128 church members, including 87 children were killed. 

Although Wycliffe Indonesia's workers have been forced to evacuate, they are continuing to help coordinate relief efforts with three church denominations in Central Sulawesi. 

In addition to food, they have been offering spiritual comfort and support to those who have been traumatised by the disaster. 

'Praise the Lord because in the midst of this difficult situation God continues to strengthen church leaders to be able to serve those who experienced the disaster,' said Riupassa.

'One of the church partners reports that they had just distributed nearly two tons of rice to isolated locations with the help of a helicopter.  Praise God that the response from the people they visited was very positive.'

James Poole, executive director of Wycliffe, asked Christians to pray for the recovery efforts and give to the organisation's appeal fund.

'Our local partners are working right at the heart of this emergency situation.  We're appealing for people to pray and give to support the work,' he said. 

'Please do join us to pray for those affected and for all those working tirelessly to bring relief in such difficult conditions. Pray for our local partners and all Christians responding to this situation.

'Pray that God will strengthen them and give them wisdom and perseverance as they work among these devastated communities, and that through them local people will see the word of God in action.'

To give towards Wycliffe's emergency fund for those affected by the Indonesia earthquake and tsunami, visit wycliffe.org.uk/indonesiaappeal. All donations will go direct to the affected areas.

Lifestyle