Loudi and the kids arrived in Makassar late yesterday and have settled in the guest house. Budy it seems will make his own way to Makassar overland by going down the west side of the island. He will have to be careful for the first 100 or so kilometres as he will be going over roads which may well have earthquake damage. Kezia is traumatized from all the noise and the shaking so they want to seek help for her, likely in Jakarta, where they will also have to register Kenzo’s birth.
The death toll has risen to 1,023 and it still likely to rise when the search teams can get into all parts of the city. So far the western side of the bay has not been entered. There are 300,000 people who live on that side. Such a sad scene. The pictures on TV last night were awful to see. Parts of the city we know left in ruins. The Palu mall and a major hotel left a crumpled mess. Yet a church right beside the hotel is standing pristine perfect without any damage at all. Amazing.
We are so grateful to God that Budy and Loudi and the kids have not only been found alive but are also out of there and in Makassar. The looting and the public reactions are sad to see as people fight for food and water and the basic of human sustenance. We applaud the efforts of the govt to get women with young children out of the city by airlifting them to Makassar (formerly called Ujung Pandang). That is where we used to live but used to visit Palu frequently.
We received WA messages from Loudi this morning when they arrived in Makassar. They have been through a huge ordeal but have come through well. Now we are concerned for the others we know and many of whom we have no way of contacting. At least we know that Max and Janet Oruh are safe and will be airlifted to Palu today and then from there to Makassar. We also have heard no news from Darne’s family. Despite sending texts etc. They live in Palu but have no communication connection, so we just have to be patient.
Some of our burden has lifted but much still remains until we know how others we know are.
I received this from Loudi this morning:
Please pray for wisdom and miracles from God for our current situation. Yesterday afternoon the kids and I arrived in Makassar on a govt evacuation flight from Palu. We are well but Budy was not able to come with us and is still in Palu. Honestly, I am so disappointed because we have been apart for 3 weeks because he has been with a team filming the Jesus film in the village. On Tuesday, Budy had to walk from the village for 14 hours so he could meet us and be evacuated together with the family. After we waited for hours in a queue at the airport, he was not able to board because the priority was given to women and children. I only realised he had not come with us when we landed at Makassar. Kezia and I were very disappointed because Sept 30thwas Kezia’s birthday and she had hoped her dad would come and we could pray together. Added to the fact that he wasn't with us when the earthquake hit. But we experienced a miracle because God looked after us perfectly, so that was our miracle. Please pray for God’s plan whatever it is for Budy to join us in Makassar. Last night, through the night until dawn earthquakes kept happening in Palu.
Celebrating Kezia’s birthday in the Refugee camp
I received this from a friend with links to Malaysian Airlines:
The testimony of the Pilot of the last plane out of Palu before the earthquake.
Today the Batik Air pilot, Captain Mafella, visited a church in Jakarta (Duta Injil BIP) and testified why he speeded up the departure of his flight 3 minutes ahead of the Palu airport schedule set.
He told us that all day Friday he had been feeling unsettled and he didn’t know why.
To get rid of these feelings of unrest, he loudly sang worship songs the whole way from Ujung Pandang to Palu, (“Usually I only hummed, but that day I wanted to praise the Lord as best I could”, he said). Eventually his Muslim Co-Pilot jokingly suggested, that he make a CD of worship songs.
When they were about to land at the Palu Airport, the sky was clear but the wind was too strong and he “heard a voice in his heart” telling him to circle again before landing.
The Palu airport is squeezed between two mountain ranges and it reminded him of the verse.
"I may walk through valleys as dark as death but I wont be afraid. You are with me and your shepherd's rod makes me feel safe". Psalm 23:4
According to the Captain, pilots call airports situated between two mountain ranges, “valleys of death”, because they must be extra careful in landing, so Christian pilots hold on to Psalm 23:4.
A moment after landing successfully, he felt in his heart that he needed to be quick.
Because of that, he instructed his crew to just take a 20 minute break before the plane was due to return to Jakarta via Ujung Pandang.
He didn’t even leave the cockpit and requested permission from the Control Tower to depart 3 minutes ahead of schedule.
After receiving permission for take-off from the late air controller, Agung, [Anthonius Gunawan Agung] they prepared for take off.
Captain Mafella confessed that at that time he broke flight procedures because he took over the job of the Co-Pilot by speeding up the plane in the process of take off.
He didn’t know why but his hand kept holding on to the lever causing the plane to speed up as it took off.
He did not know then that an earthquake had struck Palu but he felt the plane swaying a little to left and right.
According to him if he had taken off three minutes later, he would not have been able to save the 140 passengers, because the asphalt on the landing strip was moving up and down like a curtain blowing in the wind.
Several minutes after take-off, he tried to communicate with the tower but there was no response from Agung.
He looked down and saw a strange phenomena.
The sea water on the coast was forming a very large hole “so that the foundation of the sea bed could be seen.”
When the plane arrived in Ujung Pandang, he was told that there had been an earthquake and tsunami in Palu and that the official in the control tower who had organised his plane’s take off, had died shortly after he had made sure that the plane had taken off safely.
This afternoon before he left to fly to Kuala Lumpur, Captain Mafella emphasized how important it is that we are hear the voice of God.
And whatever happens we must be calm, not in a panic, so that we can clearly hear the voice of God coming to us by the Holy Spirit – because he added that when he took over the role of the co-pilot to speed up the take off, the co-pilot looked fearful, as the body of the plane was swinging left and right.
May we take a lesson and a blessing from the testimony of Captain Mafella today.