Friday, June 02, 2006

From Indonesian Council of Churches on the Earthquake

Church Leaders and the
Members of Congregations of the
CCI Member Churches and Ecumenical Partnership

Dear brother and sister,

The Communion of Churches in Indonesia (CCI) expresses its heartfelt sympathy and condolences on the earthquake experienced by our brothers and sisters in the Provinces of Yogyakarta and Central Java, Saturday, 27 May, 2006. The earthquake has taken victims at least 4000 casualties, thousands wounded, and thousands house buildings and public facilities are damaged.

We would like to take this opportunity to kindly request the CCI member churches, the whole members of congregations and the Ecumenical Partnership to pray and to help the victims hit by the disaster. Your aid can be transferred to the victims through the CCI account:
AC NO.: 001-7855.05.0

On behalf on the victims we thank you for the aid, which will enlighten their burden. May God grant them fortitude and strength both the bereaved families and the wounded.

Sincerely yours,

On behalf of
The Board of Executive of the CCI

Rev. Dr. A.A. Yewangoe Rev. Dr. Richard Daulay
General Chairperson General Secretary

From Presbyterian Missionaries Bernie and Farsijana Adeney-Risakotta, faculty members at Duta Wacana Christian University in Indonesia.

Dear Family and Friends,

It is Monday, 5 AM. I've just been watching the fiery lava running down Mt. Merapi, north of Yogyakarta.

A massive 6.2 earthquake opened the swelling peak, allowing the lava to flow. The earthquake struck at 5:55 AM on Saturday.  Farsijana was out running and I was drinking coffee upstairs. The whole world was shaking, as if a giant picked up a baby and shook us as hard as it could.  Most things were thrown from our walls and our floor to ceiling bookcases toppled.  I made it out to the street where all our neighbors were gathered.  <

Farsijana said she heard a deep groaning noise from the earth and the earthquake seemed to go on and on for 20 minutes. Time is distorted.  Many people were in a state of panic.  Soon there were motorcycles passing with their riders screaming, "The water is coming! The water is coming!  Tsunami!"  I tried to reassure our neighbors that a tsunami could not reach Yogya, 40 km. from the South coast of Java.  In Aceh the tsunami reached only a few km inland.  Farsijana sent our neighbor to ask for official information.  He came back with a report that the water had already reached the edge of Yogya.  Still, we convinced our neighbors not to join the mass exodus of people fleeing towards the volcano.  Out of the frying pan into the fire.  It's hard to get information with no electricity or telephones.  It's hard even to think straight when the earth is no longer firm beneath your feet.I had a cold coming on and was exhausted from a week-long seminar, so I went inside to read a book.  But after a couple minutes I knew I could not escape that way.  At 8 AM I left on my motorcycle to find out the real situation. I rode around the city, seeing many collapsed buildings, wounded people and a few corpses.  However the tight social structures of the Javanese were also apparent.  Most people were in groups, caring for each other.  I headed south to see if our friends in a village on the coast were still alive. The further south, the worse the damage.  As I neared the coast, a farmer said the village was totally destroyed and our bungalow on the cliffs had collapsed.  To my amazement, our house was undamaged, guarded by a family of monkeys.  A huge boulder blocked the road to the village, but I squeezed by on my motorcycle.  Amazingly, the coastal village was still standing. 
Our good friend Tumijo's new house, just built after 10 years of saving and hard work, was severely damaged, but no one died.  I left them my meager supplies of water, bread and emergency lantern.  Everyone was outside, trying to find shade.  Everyone wanted to talk to me.  The houses were not safe. Aftershocks continued and a rumor claimed that another big quake was coming. I returned safely to our house, exhausted, at about 2 PM, with bad sunburn from 6 hours on the bike.Sunday morning we attended the 6:30 worship at our church and were reminded to give thanks in the midst of tragedy.  At home, with the help of two friends, we cooked from 8:30 AM till 2:30 PM, wrapping up over 100 meals of rice, vegetables and eggs.  The food was seasoned with our sweat in the hot kitchen.  I finally found an open gas station and after a long line, filled our tank. The main road to the South was clogged with emergency vehicles and people trying to bring help.  The rain began to fall.  As we sat in the traffic, looking into the faces of many people with injuries, I wondered if we were mistaken in joining this mad throng.  Our destination was a remote village with a home for children with disabilities that we heard was in bad shape and needed help.  We finally reached them.  They were so happy to receive the food, water and medicines we brought.  All the houses in the village had collapsed.  15 people died and many are injured.  They had no food. The rain poured down as they huddled under plastic sheets next to theruins of their homes. As a parting hunch, I gave them my favorite umbrella. They were delighted. It was the only umbrella in the village.

When we finally got home, we found puddles of water all over the house. Most of our clay roof tiles were displaced by the earthquake and no longer keep out the rain.  Still we are so thankful.  Our neighborhood was spared serious damage.  None of our friends were seriously hurt.  But not far from us, thousands have died and many more are without homes.  Our village is now mobilizing food and supplies for other areas.  Christian and Muslim students are seeking donations of rice and supplies for villages that have not beenreached.  Today we hope to take food to Prambanan, the famous, thousand-year-old temple site, where Farsijana's relatives live and many buildings collapsed.If you would like to help, please send a donation to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Central Receiving Service, 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, KY 40202-1396. Put this Disaster Relief number on the subject line of your check: DR000146.  If you want to send a non-tax-deductible donation for immediate food supplies for victims, please send checks, For Deposit Only, made out to Bernard Adeney-Risakotta, Account number, 040011515315, at Citibank, 2000 Shattuck., Berkeley, CA 94704.  Please send me an e-mail at  detailing how much you sent on what date.  We will make sure it goes for immediate relief of earthquake victims.  Thanks to all of you who called or sent e-mails.  We are so grateful for your loving thoughts and prayers.  Indeed we count on them.           

God's Peace be with you,           
Bernie and Farsijana Adeney-Risakotta

P.S.  Sorry for the delay in sending this.  Somehow you got left out of my e-mail address book.  These last few days have been very busy.  We have hired village women to cook, along with volunteers, so our home has become a kind of public kitchen.  We've found many people still out in the rain, so we are buying tents.  Many people have not been reached by the official aid and we have an extensive network of contacts, so we are able to get basic supplies to many people who are in acute need.  It is wonderful to be able to help people personally. Yesterday a badly hit community near the Muslim university where I teach, asked Farsijana to help them set up a public kitchen in their area.  Pleasekeep us in your prayers.


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