Dec. 30, 2004
A UMNS Report
By Jan Snider*
Methodist missionaries Don and Ramona Turman watched the words crawl
across their TV screen in Jakarta: “Indonesia Menangis.”
Translation: “Indonesia is crying.”
Indonesian island of Sumatra was near the epicenter of the Dec. 26
undersea earthquake that sent tidal waves crashing into 12 countries
around the Indian Ocean. The waves killed at least 117,000 people and
washed away entire villages.
The Turmans offered words of assurance in an open letter to family and friends.
want you to know that we are safe, and that none of the effects of the
devastating earthquake and tidal waves reached the island of Java and
the city of Jakarta,” they wrote.
Turmans are closer to the tragedy than most of the church’s
missionaries. “The United Methodist Church has no missionaries in the
coastal areas or islands devastated by the tidal waves,” said Elliott
Wright, information officer for the denomination’s Board of Global
of our church family have relatives who have perished or are missing,”
the Turmans wrote. “Others can tell of miraculous escapes. It is a time
of desperation for all of the people in the affected areas, and the
Christians represent a tiny minority in the midst of a very conservative
majority religion. We pray that a strong Christian witness will be
evident through the outpouring of beneficial aid from around the world.”
Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population. The country is also ethnically diverse, with more than 300 local languages.
The Turmans say that Indonesians are uniting in their response to the catastrophe with donations of money and materials.
has suffered economically and politically in the past few years, in
part because of inter-ethnic and religious conflicts but also from
natural disasters, such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Bishop Joel Martinez
Bishop Joel N.
Martinez, president of the Board of Global Ministries, echoed the
Turmans’ hope for a strong response from the Christian community.
am sure that our gifts will be offered generously to provide ministries
of healing, relief and reconstruction,” Martinez said Dec. 30. “United
Methodists have always responded in times of crises, and the General
Board of Global Ministries and the United Methodist Committee on Relief
will lead our United Methodist people in responding to this terrible
to UMCOR's “South Asia Emergency” relief efforts can be placed in local
church offering plates or sent directly to UMCOR, 475 Riverside Drive,
Room 330, New York, NY 10115. Designate checks for UMCOR Advance #274305
and “South Asia Emergency.” Online donations can be made by going to www.methodistrelief.org. Those making credit-card donations can call (800) 554-8583.
*Snider is a freelance producer for United Methodist News Service in Nashville, Tenn.
News media contact: Tim Tanton or Ginny Underwood, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.