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Eyewitness To Tragedy


When waves crashed into Southeast Asia and Africa at the end of December, the world soon saw images of death and destruction that were almost impossible to imagine.  And then the world tried to reach out and send help.  The Rev. Larry Hollon is a United Methodist church leader who traveled to Indonesia. Lindsay Ferrier shares his story.


The Rev. Larry Hollon is just back from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where a United Methodist delegation delivered a hundred thousand dollars worth of antibiotics to stricken tsunami victims. It was a hard trip, in every way.

The Rev. Larry Hollon: “This looked like someone had dropped a bomb in the middle of the city.”

Like you, Hollon watched the pictures on television. He will tell you that's nothing compared to seeing it for yourself.

The Rev. Larry Hollon: “We talk about the tsunami as a wall of water, but in fact, it was a wall of water that carried with it tin roofing, sheets of glass, I-beams and doors , and all sorts of debris that became a machine that actually took people in and destroyed them.”

And those it didn't destroy continue to suffer…high rates of illness and infection...camps overflowing with the homeless and displaced. Hollon saw and photographed all of it. But he also saw humanitarian aid swiftly and effectively delivered to victims. And amid all the suffering, he discovered hope all around him. Like the Indonesian Methodist pastor who in spite of the carnage at his own church doorstep chose to make the church itself a symbol of rebirth.

The Rev. Larry Hollon: “We talked with a pastor who had 27 bodies just piled up at his door. They immediately started cleaning up.  Some of the members got all the mud and debris out of the sanctuary and were already talking about reopening the church, not for the sake of the church, but for the hope of the community.”

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