Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: India (02/12/09)
- TITLE: The Earth Breaker
By Jeannie Morse
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The floor tiles vibrated with the deafening roar. Was the plane crashing? No, the four story hotel shook like a jack hammer. Earthquake!
My young children, Amy and Johnny, half dressed in their PJs, screamed. Their dot-to-dot books and crayons bounced off the small table. I grabbed their arms and ran for the hallway door. “Stand in an inner door!” I remembered from an earthquake drill.
As the building swayed shaking violently the door smashed my arm. Plaster and glass shattered around us. Amy and Johnny screamed louder. Concrete and iron cracked and broke with deep deafening explosions below us.
The floor tipped toward the large broken window while beds, lamps and the TV smashed into each other. My feet slid out from under me and I grasped the door post with all my might. "Both of you, grab my waist tight." I couldn't hold two children and the door posts at the same time as parts of the ceiling fell.
The building dropped and the floor of our room leveled out. The first floor had collapsed. The giant jack hammer slowed its powerful pounding.
Two Indian friends rushed in to help me. Johnny, in his pajama shirt, had nothing on his bottom while Amy had pants on and no top. I grabbed a T-shirt and underwear off the debris covered floor. While searching for shoes, my husband, Dan rushed in.
"Quick, out, out, the building could crash down on us!”
A cloud of suffocating dirt billowed as we groped for the staircase. I wrapped the underwear around Johnny's nose and mouth and the shirt around Amy's face as the two Indians carried them.
“The stair well is gone,” Dan yelled, grabbing my arm.
We climbed out a broken window onto a smaller building and then down piles of rubble to a large open field. On the ground, we stumbled with rubbery legs away from the tottering hotel.
Around us buildings collapsed pancake flat or leaned at angles with broken windows. The ground continued to groan and twitch. People shivered in utter shock. It was India's Independence Day, January 26, 2001 and the day the earth broke Kutch.
Dan had spent hours motivating mission and church leaders to travel to Kutch. They planned to work together strategizing on how to bring the Gospel to this remote desert.
The day before, the partnership group had discussed reports of several accomplished ministry goals. In the afternoon the leaders talked about the needs of the Kutchi people and barriers to the Gospel. One pastor said the Kutchi were deep in idol worship and had no desire to leave their gods as long as they had food and housing. "People won't change unless a great problem is in their life."
The earth-breaker, as little Johnny called it, was worse than an earthquake. Over seventy-five thousand people died. Our minds couldn’t comprehend all the destruction and loss we saw. A war couldn’t devastate a place this much.
We drove past villages of a hundred houses shaken into bits and pieces, some with not a single building standing. People dug and searched for loved ones. Dark gray columns of smoke rose against the horizon as Hindus cremated their dead. What looked like bundles of wood along the road, were bodies tied inside of sticks ready to be transported to the funeral pyres for cremation.
The sun set on these sights and our minds and hearts ached. I wept for the people who refused God's love. They had beaten and persecuted Christians. But God still loved them and so did we.
God used the earthquake to shake the doors of opportunity open for the Gospel in Kutch. Over twenty Christian organizations poured their love and aide into the area. We are still praying that the spell of idol worship among the three million unreached Kutchi will be broken by the Holy Spirit. Slowly hearts are accepting Christ’s love and forgiveness.
We asked our taxi driver, "Have you heard about Jesus?"
"No, who is he?" he asked. “Maybe I have given him a lift. Describe him to me.”
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