December 29, 2004
An extra-ordinary tragic disaster of unprecedented magnitude hit Asia and the surrounding areas the day after Christmas. At this moment, News Reports and broadcasting Networks, locally and around the world, estimated the death toll to have surged past 55,000 with many more still missing and millions of people displaced. Without any warning this region was turned into weeping and great mourning. Indeed we can hear “Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more”.
On behalf of the Province of the Anglican Church in South East Asia, I send our heartfelt condolence and deep sympathy to all those who have lost their loved ones. We deeply grieve with them and we share their pain.
With such a devastating tragedy we could no longer keep silent. We turn to our sovereign and merciful God in prayers. May I at this time call all our Intercessors in our Province to have a special day of prayer and fasting on Friday, 31st December, 2004. May I also request that special prayers to be offered during the Services on New Year’s Eve, 2004 and New Year’s Day 2005. Please remember all the people who have been afflicted by this disaster. Please pray that effort for rescue, relief and re-habitation can be properly coordinated and effectively carried out so that all people, lands and nations afflicted may be speedily recovered and healed.
On behalf of our Diocese and our Province, I want to thank all Christian brothers and sisters and friends from around the world for praying for us and have phoned or sent us messages of concern either by email, fax etc. It is times like this we know we are not alone. We are so thankful to all of you. Please continue to pray for our areas.
In our Province, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore have not been affected. However, some areas in West Malaysia, mainly Penang and Phuket in Thailand have been greatly affected. I have been in contact with the Bishop of Singapore and the Bishop of West Malaysia. They reported that all the churches are safe but extensive damages have been inflicted in these areas. More than 1,000 people died in these areas.
As a Province we would like to offer practical help to as many affected people and areas caused by this dreadful disaster as possible. Our Provincial Crisis Relief Fund is now open to receive donations from our churches and friends for this purpose.
Please send your donations, clearly labeled “Crisis Relief Fund”, to the Province of the Anglican Church in South East Asia by cheque or by bank transfer to Account No: 392-357448-011 HSBC Bank Malaysia Berhad, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. I will also contact churches in other areas outside theProvince to see how we can help.
We do not always understand everything that happens in this world. However, I know that our God is Sovereign. He wants us to love and to share. In Him we trust.
May the Lord bless you all!
The Most Revd. Datuk Yong Ping Chung
Primate of Province of South East Asia.