Tuesday, 9 October 2018, at 4:30 am while I was fast asleep, a loud roar, and the harsh knock on the door startled me. I woke up and realized that it was quite a massive an Earthquake! It was so much different that the Earthquakes I have experienced in Jakarta. It came with a loud roar!! I think this happened because we were right at the epicenter of the Earthquake. When the condition became stable already, I could still feel the adrenaline rushing in my body, and my legs were shaking. Before going to bed last night, I prepared my cell phone and torch light next to me. I thought I was ready in case of Earthquake. It turned out that I was not ready at all!!
On the second day of our stay in Palu, our team and I went to the city center at Talise Beach. I can say that this is really the ground zero, where the 7.5 SR Earthquake and Tsunami hit on Friday, 28 October 2018. The atmosphere of death was so vivid, and it was creepy, unlike whatever we had seen on TV. Some blocks of the city look like they had been swept, flat to the ground. Oh Lord!! The damage was so vast; it was depressing to see. All our eyes could see was rubble upon rubble. The iconic yellow bridge of Palu that once stood so tall now drowned in the depth of the river, waiting for its fate to be sold as scrap. Crushed cars showed us how hard the Tsunami waves hit.
This is the title of a song in local dialect that tells of the beauty of Palu, and how the people who live in Palu are proud of their city. But it is no more…
In the midst of all the rubbles, still many people are optimistic that God is good. This is a priceless personal lesson for me. When I was doing live streaming from my IG at @danielhendrata, I said this is the right time to have a reflection of our relationship with God. But now I will add that this is the right time not only to make sure our relationship with God is good, but also with our family members: wife, husband, children, and parents. Life is fragile. No matter how good we try to live our lives, some things are beyond our control. Some victims in Palu are hotel owners and well-respected people in the city.
From the city center, we drove to Simoro area in Sigi Region. We held our relief medic operation here, helping at least 70 families (200 patients). A man came with gauze on his forehead. He fell down during the Earthquake, and something hit his forehead. He only got minimal treatment. When our doctor opened the gauze, she saw an open wound with the size of an adult’s pointing finger.
There were many other cases, such as internal injury, bruises, sprained ankles, skin rashes, diarrhea, etc.
Praise the Lord, our doctors and nurses are certified medical relief workers, who were involved in previous natural disasters in Aceh and Padang.
Then in the second location, we held another relief medic operation, serving 86 families (more than 250 patients). We also distributed baby formula and baby food, kids milk powder, diapers, sanitary pads, etc. Here we found a church building, GPID Patmos in Pakuli, in Sigi Region, with collapsed exterior wall. There is no way to reuse this building, unless first being destroyed completely, and then rebuilding it again.
God sent us to them, so they can receive hope. Our ground reporter, @TezarKodongan, said that these people felt so blessed to see people coming to help them. It made them feel special and precious to receive such care. “God still cares for us. We are not abandoned,” he said.
One side of the operation in Palu that is invisible is the logistic team. Here is where the local church plays its role, to train and equip young people to execute God’s plan. I salute the logistic team who are working with joy and high dedication. They are the unsung heroes: a group of young people who tirelessly help with the logistic. Not only the goods coming in from Anugrah Foundation, but also from other churches. They are working hand in hand, merry in their hearts; they don’t get tired. I see that in every natural disaster area I have been in, young people are playing their roles. Indeed, some of them lost their homes too. They lost their job, their income. Though they have a chance to evacuate from Palu, they chose to stay. This is because, my friend who is their pastor, Pastor Chris Apitula also chose not to leave his congregation. He’s staying in the city where God has put him in, together with his wife and two daughters (6 and 10 years of age). They said they are ready to die in Palu.
When the Tsunami hit, Pastor Chris and his family were on a beach. They were supposed to die, but God saved them. They realized that there is no safe place but in the protection of the Almighty. (I am very teary as I am writing this report)
“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness.” Psalms 37:3 NKJV.
This family is one example of many others; pastors who choose to stay. They become the field commanders in this city. The Body of Christ can even be light and blessing to all.
As a closing, I would like to ask you a question. What about you? Let’s live our lives totally surrendered and learn to be faithful, to be in the likeness of Christ.
By the way, we have collected our second cargo that was flown in by the Hercules. That’s another 1.5 tons. So far we have received 3.5 tons out of the total of 5 tons logistic that we are bringing into Palu.
Indeed many people are involved in this operation and become unsung heroes: You who have donated funds, You who are praying, You who prepare the logistic, You who opened the access to the Hercules, and You who are distributing in the field.
God is good. His faithfulness endures forever.
Please keep us in your prayer.
In HIS Service,
Ps. Daniel Hendrata and all the team of Anugrah Ministries in the field.
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