By Rachel Greco

A thud outside their home in Sentani, Indonesia woke Brandon and his family in the middle of the night.

Opening the shades, they discovered the thud came from a car that had just washed up and crashed into the metal grate outside their house. They realized that due to recent, heavy rainfall, water stood above their windowsills. If the window pane had broken, their house would have instantly filled with water.

Brandon quickly assembled his family and found a ladder. In the dark rainstorm, he decided that the best place for his wife and three children, all under the age of six, was on the roof.

Brandon and his family climbed up there and found refuge by crouching under the place where the main house roof and porch roof joined.

Brandon’s family is just one of many in Sentani who were impacted by intense, destructive flooding in March. For four nights in a row, the heavens unleashed their torrential wrath. On just one of the nights, it rained 9.8 inches in seven hours.

A house damaged by debris from the flooding

Due to a JAARS connection with our aviation partner in Sentani and the families who serve there, we sent a team to help. Along with helping the families of those serving with our aviation partner, this team touched the lives of people serving with about 10 other organizations.

“In record time, God provided approval, finances to go, the perfect team, all the logistics, and the paperwork,” Tammy, one of those who served, said. In just five days after receiving the call to help, the entire team was on a plane to Sentani.

A house foundation that is all that’s left after the flood
Silt, up to two feet deep, blanketed the yards

Eleven families in Sentani lost items in the flooding like shoes and toys for their kids, towels, games and books. They gave a wish list of these items to the JAARS team. “In 48 hours, every single item was met, which was amazing,” another team member remembers. God mobilized two local churches in the Waxhaw and Charlotte area to provide these items—five totes full—for the team to take to the hurting families.

The team also provided physical energy to their colleagues. Kyle repaired a drain for Brandon’s family and worked with another team member, Tim, to build a generator stand so that a replacement generator wouldn’t be destroyed in the mud and water like their last one.

Kyle fabricated a high-water generator stand

The women, Amy and Tammy, encouraged the aching mothers and kids. “It’s really easy, if you serve overseas and are far from loved ones,” Amy shares, “to feel invisible, like nobody sees you. Maybe nobody has any idea what you’re dealing with.” When they landed in Sentani, one of the first things that people said to her and Tammy was, “Thank you for coming.” The team’s presence was a tangible reminder that people on the other side of the world loved and prayed for them. It showed them that they were not invisible, that God still cared for them.

Landslides scar Mt. Cyclops

The Lord orchestrated time for Tammy and Amy, supplied with a list of families affected by the flood, to touch each woman and her child at different times. They listened as the women processed the tragic events. If they needed Tammy and Amy to love on them, to cry with them, to laugh—whatever they needed—Amy and Tammy responded. “The Lord let us be a part of sharing his love with them,” Tammy recalls.

Join us in praying for the Sentani community for:

  • The physical needs of rebuilding.
  • A solution for their drainage problems. Every time it rains, the whole town is tense, wondering where the water’s going to go.
  • God’s Church to be known for their love, courage, and generosity as they seek to serve their neighbors.

Praise our God that we and our brothers and sisters in Sentani are not invisible to him! Read more here about the experiences of the team who live and serve in Papua and their response to the flood.