Regional Superintendent Tommy Smith reports on the recent earthquake and tsunami that struck the central region of the octopus-shaped island of Sulawesi. The fatalities numbered 2,113, along with 10,000 injured. Palu was the worst hit city and they surmise over 67,000 homes were either destroyed or damaged, leaving 82,000 people displaced. Sulawesi is the 11th largest island in the world.
Church of God World Missions through Christ Birthday Offering funds has already sent assistance to purchase emergency relief food, water, medicine, and other needed items. The Smiths hope to place some joy into the hearts of any children whom they meet by distributing cookies (baked by Poppi), snacks, stuffed animals, and miniature cars when they and the leadership team travel to the area to survey the damage and destruction.
Gereja Bethel Indonesia, the official partner denomination of the Church of God has reportedly had 12 church buildings destroyed/seriously damaged. The director for Bethel Women Ministry in this area experienced her home split in half. Since the onset of the disaster, the COG has been represented by the Gereja Bethel Indonesia Department of Benevolence and by the Foundation of Love and Care for Indonesian People, which is associated with Operation Compassion. These entities operated four emergency medical clinics and relief supply distribution centers.