There was an devastating earthquake on May 27, 2006, centered near Jogjakarta, Indonesia that killed 6,000 people and left over 30,000 people homeless. ServLife staff members Mark and Jennifer Storm went to Indonesia to participate in relief work. ServLife funded construction of 44 temporary houses for 65 families. The families provided the siding for the temporary houses from materials they salvaged from their homes destroyed in the quake. The hope is that these families can rebuild their homes within the next six months. These houses were provided as an expression of Christ’s love to those in great need. These homes, built in a predominantly Islamic region, where provided to those who met the requirements in each community, regardless of religion.
From the Journal of Mark and Jenn Storm:
“Being available, being put in the situation that we were in was awesome. There were so many flattened houses and buildings, or houses and buildings that needed to be flattened due to the extreme damage, that the task of recovery looked daunting. What exactly do we have that they need?
We were Americans in a Muslim country in Muslim villages, and we were still welcomed with smiles and handshakes. The villagers got to see that we, American Christians, care about them and are willing to work with them, with our hands in order to help. This is important in the hierarchical society where foreigners have money and only the poor actually labor. Almost nobody breaks the ranks. We did.
We could have sent in money instead of going ourselves, but it would never have come close to achieving the same results. Having a face and a body there willing to work alongside them had an effect that money alone could not produce. Not only did we actually, physically help people, but we changed hearts and opened doors. Some of the villages were 99% Muslim, where missionaries (both Western and Indonesian) were rejected and couldn’t form relationships. Now, through need and helping hands, there are friendships. Those friendships can now be maintained and built upon to a point where discussions of faith can take place. Discussions of the God of Ishmael and the God of Isaac, the same God of Abraham, can now take place.
We had 12 days of intense labor. We spent 5 days helping with the demolition of unsafe houses in 3 different villages. In 4 other villages, we spent 6 days building a total of 10 temporary bamboo and tarp houses. We also spent a day surveying another village for future help. All of this work was done through a missionary organization in Indonesia.
While we barely scratched the surface of the clean-up and construction needed, we did help a few villages, and hopefully we changed a few lives. We know our lives and our outlook on Indonesia have been changed.”