Blogs by Richard D. Lee
2004 Tsunami Relief
8/24/2005 10:07:24 AM
Helping the Hardest-hit survivors of the devastating 2004 tsunami in Indonesia
A Light in the Darkness is the true story of God in action as He sends four middle-aged Christian men into the Muslim stronghold of Banda Aceh in Indonesia following the devastating 2004 tsunami. These four men chose to believe God and leave their homes, their families, and their jobs to travel halfway around the world to a place they'd never visited, to help a people they didn't even know.
Order your copy today at www.buybooksontheweb.com or by calling (877) 289-2665. All author royalties are being donated to World Harvest Indonesia for the people of IDP Camp #85. Here is an excerpt from the book:
Although this story takes place in tsunami-ravaged Indonesia, it is not so much about the tsunami, as it is about God’s intricate plan for our lives, and how one small part of God’s unique plan for my life was interwoven with a portion of His special plan for the lives of others.
God has declared that before He formed us in our mothers' wombs, He knew us. And before we came forth from the womb, He had determined our destiny and designed a plan for our lives. (Jeremiah 1:5)
Samuel Soh and I had been unrepentant sinners for most of our lives, but God had preordained our meeting as Christians in Banda Aceh, a Muslim stronghold in the world’s most populous Muslim nation—a place where Islamic Shari`ah or sacred Muslim law takes precedence over Indonesian law. In fact, proselytizing by other religions is forbidden. The ultimate penalty—death—is meted out to those caught violating this prohibition.
Since 1976, separatist Muslim rebels in the Aceh province have sought independence from the central government in Jakarta, the capital of the archipelago. Their desire for self-government has evolved into an armed conflict with Indonesian armed forces.
Introduction of the Shari`ah and the on-going conflict between the rebels and the military have made it difficult for outsiders, especially Christians, from visiting the Aceh province.
While I don’t believe that God caused the tsunami, I do believe that when the Indonesian government temporarily suspended its travel restrictions to the Aceh province, God opened the doors to this region for Christians to demonstrate Christ’s love through their love, giving, and work. The tsunami also caused the Muslim people of Banda Aceh and the surrounding communities to cry out to God for help. No matter what our religious beliefs or spiritual condition, we sincerely seek God to intercede when we come face-to-face with death or suffer tragic loss and pain.
God did not turn His back on the cries of the Muslim people; He sent thousands of Christians, including Samuel Soh and our small team of four men, into the devastated areas as a visible manifestation of His love, comfort, and support. I don’t pretend to know God’s plan for the people we helped in the Internal Displaced Persons Camp #85, I only know that He has one, and that by His grace, we were a small part of that plan.
Our small team faced many self-imposed difficulties preparing for our trip: increased stress levels associated with our fundraising efforts, discouragement when we couldn’t find an American relief organization to sponsor us, and a few internal disagreements and self-doubts about whether God really wanted us to go.
God never said it would be easy, He just said, “Go!” We’re glad we did because we learned that when God sets His plan in motion, He provides the wherewithal to accomplish it. (Romans 8:28)
Because our experience required us to depend more on Him and to pray constantly for His favor and guidance, it brought us closer to God.
They say that hindsight is 20/20—I see now that God was in total control of our trip and perfectly managed every detail.
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2004 Tsunami Relief - Wednesday, August 24, 2005