“God, help my family”

“God, help my family”

By: Brandy Campbell, with Tonny Tunya in Indonesia   |   Posted: February 12, 2007

An Indonesian Family Survives a Devastating Earthquake
Church members and project workers gather to pray with Yesaya and his family. Yesaya lost two grandparents and an aunt in the devastating earthquake that destroyed his home.

On May 27, 2006, thousands of families in Indonesia were jarred awake as a powerful earthquake shook the earth. Panicked families rushed to higher ground, fearing another tsunami. Others were crushed in the rubble of poorly built houses, unable to escape.

Thousands were killed, including three Compassion children. Fourteen Compassion-assisted projects were affected, and in the days following the earthquake, project staff reached out to provide food, shelter and medical assistance to the most vulnerable victims, including little Yesaya.

Searching for Yesaya

Eight-year-old Yesaya doesn't remember much about the morning of May 27. He was still asleep when the ground began to shake.

He doesn't remember when the roof of his one-room home collapsed into a pile of rubble and dust. He doesn't remember his parents being buried under splintered wood while his older brother, Andreas, escaped the earthquake's wrath by leaping through a nearby window. The little boy doesn't remember the sound of his brother's hands scraping against stone as he frantically dug through the debris to free the rest of his family.

The little boy doesn't remember the terror his family struggled with as he lay underneath the rubble the only one still trapped by the earthquake's destruction.

As the city of Yogyakarta crumbled around them, Yesaya's father stood outside what used to be his home, pleading with God to let his little boy live. "God, help my family!" Yesaya's father yelled as the child's mother sobbed, fearful that her youngest child would not make it to see another birthday.

"It was a miracle."

Andreas and his parents dug side-by-side in a frenzied attempt to free Yesaya, his little body crushed by a fallen wall. Soon Andreas' strong arm enveloped the little boy, wresting him from the earth's grip.

"It was a miracle," says Marni, Yesaya's mother. "Andreas had to climb through a very small hole to get to Yesaya, and the whole house was collapsing. God was with my family that day."

Not Alone

At the hospital, doctors discovered that Yesaya's hip and leg were broken. The family was devastated, but not alone. It didn't take long before project workers from the Generasi Anak Terang Student Center (IO-746) showed up to help the family. Yesaya had been attending the Compassion-assisted project since 2001.

In the days following the earthquake, church workers cleared away the rubble and constructed a temporary shelter for the family. They outfitted the family with new soft mattresses and stocked the shelves with food and supplies.

When Yesaya left the hospital two weeks later, he was in a wheelchair supplied by Compassion. In addition, donations to Compassion's Indonesia Earthquake Disaster Response Fund helped Yesaya's family pay for his medical bills.

"I want to say thank you to all of the people who helped me and my family," says Marni. "I pray God will bless them."

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