Living through the Lombok Earthquakes

17 Sep 2018

When we follow God’s call to another place and a different culture, we expect big challenges will come our way.  But Mandy* never imagined ground shaking earthquakes would be part of her overseas service.  Here is her first-hand account of what went down

Last month a neighbouring island in Indonesia was struck by a large 7.0 earthquake. It shook us hard here and within about 10 minutes our cell phone service cut out.  After about twenty minutes I went back into my room, and it hadn’t sustained any damage. An hour later our local tsunami siren went off, loud and unrelenting. Everyone panicked. It was hard not to be swept up in the panic as I ran with my neighbour. After about half an hour the siren stopped, but we still couldn’t access information online or call, so we waited a few hours until police started sending people home.

We were quite traumatised, although our friends in North Lombok were impacted far worse and sustained terrible damage. Villages were levelled, roads were cut off and many people died and were injured. This was only compounded as two days later a big 6.5 aftershock shook the capital of Lombok, restarting terror and doing more damage. There were dozens of large aftershocks over the week, and two weeks later as we started to settle a bit, we were hit by another 7.0 earthquake. This one was closer to us, and so it felt so much stronger and did massive damage here. During this earthquake, I happened to be staying at a homestay house with some friends who were visiting. Fortunately, of all our homestays, this house sustained the least damage.

My friends and I have found ourselves in the fortunate position where we are quite safe and able to help our local friends who have sustained more damage. A relief fund has been established that can be used to help rebuild. When I took food and water up to one local friend he was near tears, not because of what I brought, but simply because someone cared. When my colleague Andrew* took tarps up to the village (as almost everyone was sleeping outside) he gave one to our friends’ neighbor, who started crying. It is an honour to do life with these precious people in the midst of times like these, even when it seems that the need is too great. But I do feel that we have been protected and are blessed to live here “for such a time as this”.

*Names Changed for Privacy

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