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Indonesia: are we the answer to our prayers?

In the aftermath of the Indonesian tsunami, what is the Lord calling us to?

On 28 September a tsunami, triggered by a magnitude 7.5 earthquake, hit Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province. Thousands of homes were destroyed and hospitals, hotels and shopping centres collapsed. The death count, which is already more than 1,400, is likely to rise, and at least 800 people have been seriously injured.

This catastrophic event comes less than two months after an earthquake struck Lombok (another island in Indonesia), which killed nearly 100 people and left at least 20,000 people homeless. 

Over the last few weeks the people of Indonesia have suffered greatly: they have lost homes and loved ones, felt unbearable pain and are still living with the effects of the recent natural disasters. 

A rescue effort has been mounted, but rescuers are struggling to reach the remote areas in Sulawesi that are cut off by the effects of the earthquake and tsunami. The UN has warned that what might be the worst-affected” areas have not yet been reached by relief workers. Many countries have pledged money and emergency supplies, and yet, although it seems that everything that could be done is being done, far away and removed from the situation it can be so easy to question the challenge to reach those in need and ask why there was no plan in place or too few people helping. 

Around the world, in Indonesia, down your street, people who are worn down, overwhelmed, broken by tragedy are calling on the Lord for help. At the same time, people across the globe are asking the Lord, what can I do? We can be the answer to people’s prayers. 

In Philippians Paul writes: Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who…emptied Himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:3 – 7). 

We, as children of God, are called to love all people, putting them above ourselves and recognising their needs. Jesus is the ultimate example of this love and servitude. He gave up everything to reach us when we were at our lowest, to bring us into a relationship with God. What can we learn from His example? 

In the light of recent events, and the daily darkness that surrounds us, both throughout the world and on our doorsteps, where is God calling you? As we seek to help others may we ask ourselves, what gifts has God given me and what issues, places or people has He placed on my heart, so that I can be His representative and bring a drop of His kingdom to earth.

Tearfund and World Vision – two Evangelical Alliance member organisations – are in Indonesia helping those who are suffering get the relief and aid they need. They are looking after children and people who are displaced. Visit their websites to find out what they are doing and the different ways you can get involved with their work. 

Or maybe, your heart lies closer to home and you feel God calling you to your friends and neighbours. We have hundreds of member organisations who are seeking to make a difference to those in the UK. Explore the website to see all our member organisations and details of what they are doing and how you can get involved. 

Or maybe you are being called to take what you’re currently doing to the next level. If you are already helping those around you, see how you can partner with others, to share resources and ideas to make a bigger impact in the world around you. 

As chosen and dearly loved children of God, let us run to those in need and give what we can: prayer, money, time, love, food. Let us be a light. Let us love others with the same abundant love that Jesus has for us, and find who God is asking us to help for the sake of His kingdom. 

About the author

Sarah is a very excitable chocoholic and avid tea-drinker - she talks super-fast and is always full of energy. Sarah has been with the Evangelical Alliance ever since she graduated in 2016 from the University of Nottingham with a degree in English. Having started as an intern, she is now our membership marketing coordinator, looking after all the Evangelical Alliance's personal members, recruiting new members, running the exhibition stands and the Instagram account - @evangelicalalliance.

See more from Sarah Paul

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