Rev. Voon Guest Blogs: Natural Disasters – Opening Things Up posted by jwatson on Jun 29, 2011
Guest Blogger: Rev. Voon Yuen Woh
Rev. Voon Yuen Woh is the pioneer pastor of the two Full Gospel Tabernacle churches in Seremban, Malaysia. He was trained in EE in 1989 and has been actively involved in equipping believers to share their faith ever since. He has been serving as Chairman of the board of EE Malaysia since 1994.
Natural Disasters – Opening Things Up
There is a special branch of study called “theodicy” which examines how a good and loving God can allow the existence of evil in the world. While it is beyond the scope of this short essay to even explain the principles in theodicy, several events become evident after each disaster.
Firstly, the people in the nation going through a disaster open up to discussions on the Gospel of Christ. Whereas the nation’s peoples might have gone ahead normally in the hustle and bustle of life without a second thought of the existence of God or of the afterlife, a sudden national-scale disaster will often cause hardship, self-assessment, and a realization that there are more important things in life than the pursuit of material wealth and personal happiness. As their world comes crashing down, many people start opening their hearts to discussion about God and His wonderful love for mankind. Dr. John Sorensen, President of EE International, recently wrote, “I was sharing with a young lady from Japan via Facebook yesterday. All I said was, ‘We are praying for you. We believe that God will help you.’ She told me how great this was. She was going to tell all of her friends. Even though they have suffered much, they are so happy that people are sharing the love of God with them…”
Secondly, the nation’s borders open up by accepting relief workers who bring aid and comfort to the victims and their families. Prior to the 2004 tsunami, Aceh was closed to the outside world due to the separatist and insurgency movement. Regular clashes between the locals and the government military made this place unsafe for outsiders. Christian witness was very rare. With approximately 230,000 people killed or missing in the disaster and 500,000 left homeless, this event helped trigger the peace agreement between the government of Indonesia and the local separatist militants. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Christian ministries and missions proceeded very quickly to assist in the relief and reconstruction efforts. Many of them remained long after the tsunami to continue their work and witness. There is much openness after the tsunami, and tourism is now heavily promoted.
Thirdly, the disciples of Christ both inside and outside the nation open up to the spiritual and material needs in a nation that has experienced a disaster. Whereas the Christian community was apathetic before the disaster, many feel guilty of not doing enough to share Christ’s love. After the disaster, many of God’s people repented and began to sense the need to “redeem the time” as they rushed in material and spiritual resources to a hungry and receiving people.
Finally, the world opens up to the helplessness of humanity and its need to depend on God. Earthquakes and tsunamis cannot be prevented nor predicted. Mankind at best can only come up with an early warning system. Even then, when the tsunami hit the coast of Japan, it was a matter of minutes. In the areas hardest hit by the tsunami, residents probably had only about 15 minutes of warning. Japan is one of the most well-prepared countries in the world to deal with the threat of a tsunami. Yet when it came, it was too big and too soon. All over the world, people are now aware that the next disaster, when it comes, could well be at our doorstep. We need God—like never before. Today, spare a prayer for the Japanese people. Maybe the Lord might ask you to do more.
Voon Yuen Woh
Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia
20th June, 2011
Want to learn more about EE Malaysia? Check out their website: http://eemalaysia.net/