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PRESS RELEASE (22 October 2018):

Wycliffe Bible Translators is at the heart of relief efforts following the earthquake and tsunami that hit Indonesia on 28 September. Wycliffe partners with a number of churches in some of the worst-affected areas in the city of Palu and the province of Central Sulawesi, and is helping them to deliver assistance to those most in need.

At the time of the tsunami, one of these churches was running a children’s camp at its retreat centre. The building collapsed, killing 128 church members, including 87 children. There are still a number of people unaccounted for.

‘One of the churches and a training centre collapsed and were swallowed up by mudslides,’ reports Marnix, director of Kartidaya (Wycliffe Indonesia). ‘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.’

Although the Kartidaya workers in the region are safe and have been evacuated, they are helping to coordinate and cooperate in relief efforts with three church denominations in Central Sulawesi. Marnix comments: ‘We have helped them solve emergency problems and continue to help them. These churches have distributed food to various places and helped recover those who were traumatised. 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.’

‘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,’ comments Marnix. ‘Praise God that the response from the people they visited was very positive.’

In the midst of the disaster, the faith of the church members is inspiring. Martin, whose child is among those missing, said: ‘I’m not angry – what for? We only hope, as a community, that the victims are found.’ Martin said he had been searching for his son, Tegar, through the tangled debris and slowly drying mud for 12 hours every day. ‘My neighbours said, “Your son hasn't returned,” and I said, “Yes, what can I do? God loves him more.”’

‘Our local partners are working right at the heart of this emergency situation,’ comments James Poole, executive director of Wycliffe. ‘We’re appealing for people to pray and give to support the work.’

‘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.

Notes to editors:

1. For further information, call Jeremy Weightman on the Wycliffe Communications Team on 0300 303 1111.

2. Wycliffe Bible Translators seeks to enable all peoples to engage with the Bible in a language that speaks to them best. It does this through a range of activities, including Bible translation, literacy and Scripture use initiatives. Currently, Wycliffe has 363 people from the UK and Ireland serving 486 million people who speak 368 languages in 71 countries. Of the 7,000 languages spoken worldwide today, only about 700 have the whole Bible. Around 1.5 billion people (one in every five people) do not have the Bible in their language. As a result, translation of the Bible into people’s languages is one of the critical needs in world mission, to enable the growth of evangelism and discipleship ministries.