Indian Christians keep their faith in wake of tsunami

The devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean has tested the faith of many Christians. However, true faith can be revealed through times of hardship. The Church of North India (CNI) General Secretary Rev Enos Das Pradhan said that the people of Car Nicobar island, one of the worst tsunami-hit areas, have shown great faith despite adversity, according to the Council for World Mission (CWM).

Rev Pradhan joined a church consultation on tsunami and disaster management in New Delhi last week. He reported that almost the entire 25,000 population of Car Nicobar was destroyed and displaced by the tsunami, around 95 percent of the population are CNI members. In addition, eight of the 10 churches on the island were wiped out.

While the lives of survivors are being threatened by the aftermath of the tsunami, Rev Pradhan pointed out that "faith comes above everything else for these people."

"We want new churches to worship," the church members told a CNI delegation led by moderator Bishop Z James Terom and Rev Pradhan when they visited the islands on 16th January.

A temporary church was therefore set up with bamboos and tarpaulins. More than 1,000 CNI members participated in the Holy Communion service led by the CNI moderator at the Malakka village in Car Nicobar.

"They are more interested in building churches to worship than making new houses for themselves," Rev Pradhan told CWM.

Car Nicobar lies less than 500 km from the epicentre of the earthquake. 15,000 survivors are put up in 85 relief camps in the island.

In the relief camps, daily inter-religious prayer meetings are held everyday. Among Hindu, Muslim and Christians of diverse ethnic backgrounds, a pastor from the Church of North India Silvanas Wilfred said, "God is great. Let's praise God for all the good things he has done for us."