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Prayer Needed for Families and Friends of Downed AsiaAir Flight

The tragedy of AirAsia QZ8501 left 41 Christians missing from the congregation at Mawar Sharon evangelical church in Surabayadead Indonesia. Mourners prayed, sang and celebrated life in Christ anyway, knowing that life isn’t over forever for their missing loved ones. Some are still holding out hope for a miracle, but they realize the likelihood of any survivors is highly improbable.  Prayers for the family and friends of those missing is appreciated.

AirAsia flight leaves 41 Christians from this church dead.

Even in the worst of times, the Mawar Sharon evangelical church in Surabaya puts on a show for its Sunday service.

Six singers swayed on stage as they belted hymns. Cameras stationed around the church caught their every move at every angle.

Behind the choir a massive screen showed close-ups of the singers.

It felt more like a rock concert than a church service. But despite appearances this was a congregation in mourning.

Missing from the pews, 41 people who were on board the AirAsia flight.

Most were families with young children travelling to Singapore for a new year’s holiday.

They apparently made a block booking on the budget airline, as it made their tickets cheaper.

A week after the crash, the church offered prayers for those who will not sit among them again.

Hard hit

“I actually knew one couple who had two young children,” said Caleb Natanielliem, the church’s executive pastor.

“I met them before Christmas. But right now I cannot say hello to them again.”

Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country. But the Christian community in the city of Surabaya has been particularly hard hit by this accident.

The fact that a single church could have suffered such a loss – a quarter of the passengers on board – is incomprehensible to many here.

“I was very shocked when I first heard the news,” said Paulus Angka Wijaya, a member of the congregation.

“Hopefully all the bodies will be found soon so their families can bury them and give them proper funerals.

“We will always support the families so that they can stay strong and know that they are not alone.”

Still searching

Hundreds of kilometres away the search operation continues in the Java Sea.

But rescue efforts continue to be hampered by bad weather. Slowly, though, more bodies are being recovered.

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It’s hard to live through losing a relative or loved  one regardless of the circumstances. But while the loss is great, it is only temporary. Christians have a hope that lifts us out of grief into the glorious appearing of Christ for the church.

I Thessalonians 4:13-18  But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Therefore comfort one another with these words.

Still, please pray for those close to those lost with love and compassion.

The original article is published here.

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