• Rich Handley

Banda Aceh

The day after Christmas 2004 a 30-meter tsunami swept over North Sumatra killing 166,000 people. The Muslim city of Banda Aceh was devastated. A militant insurgency in the Aceh province that had dragged on for years ended on that day.

Today Aceh stands rebuilt with new hope and a transformed character. Non-Muslim women no longer wear head coverings and feelings of suspicion and hostility toward foreigners have largely disappeared.

In the aftermath of the destruction came thousands of aid workers, many of them Christian missionaries. 15 years later some are still here, praying and quietly sharing the goodness of the gospel in churches, schools and in industry.

The Christians have found each other and gather daily and weekly to fellowship, pray and to discuss their respective work of advancing the name of Jesus Christ.

Before coming to Banda Aceh I was advised not to bring a bible. So I borrowed one here from a Christian missionary family. I've spent two mornings reading the book of Hosea out loud in my hotel room. It seems appropriate, as the book describes a loving God who takes his people back even after they go astray.

There is hope in Banda Aceh, a new hope I didn't think I'd find here. God has his ambassadors on the ground sharing the gospel in thought, word, and deed. Amen.

"So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 2 Corinthians 5:20.

Love and blessings,

Rich H.


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