Pakse Air Crash
As most people connected in some way with Laos will be aware, Lao Airlines flight QV301 crashed on Wednesday as it prepared to land in stormy weather at Pakse airport in southern Laos. The forty four passengers and five crew are all thought to have died. As I type this, the search continues to recover the victims .
Living as I do, beside the River Mekong, in Vientiane, I also hear the sound of festivities as this year's boat racing festival takes place. There seems an incongruity between the happiness of the festivities here while I know that downstream in Pakse, there is so much grief and the pain of unfulfilled longing and loss.
In the Bible, Saint Paul tells the Christian community in Rome to "rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep".
Today I want to try to help those who are in the latter category.
The Christian community here has been impacted through the loss of two of its own young people. I know that the sense of loss and shock goes far beyond our immediate church community. At times of crisis such as these, people often sense a need to look for spiritual support and also want to know what they can do to help friends and loved ones, who are hurting because of what has happened.
It is always good to make time to listen to those who are grieving. If you or someone you are concerned about wants to spend time talking about how they have been affected by the Pakse crash, then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will make a priority of finding time to try to help.
As a Christian, I believe in the power and willingness of God to hear and answer prayer.
Please pray for the families and friends of all those who have died - that they will find comfort in their loss.
Pray for all those involved in the effort to recover their loved ones, that in the midst of difficult conditions, they will have the strength to persevere until the work is done.
Pray for the practical arrangements that have to be made to help families to get to Pakse and for good communication between the authorities and those who are mourning, that there will be care and sensitivity shown and if expectations are not met, that there will be God-given grace and patience to cope.
Pray for those whose job it is to find out what caused the crash, that they will be given every assistance to help answer the questions of those who want to know what happened and to enable those in positions of responsibility to take the necessary steps to lessen the likelihood of tragedies like this happening again.
If you are not accustomed to praying, you don't need to do anything more than pour out your heart to God. As we're reminded in the Old Testament, in Psalm 147, verse 3: "He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds."
For any of you whose background makes you more familiar with more structured prayers, I hope you will find the following helpful.
There will be two English language church services happening as usual at ARDA Language Centre tomorrow at 10 am and 5 pm. If you are not in the habit of coming to church but because of what has happened would like to attend, please do so. I will be happy to meet with you and pray with you after either of these services.
Tony (Pastor - Church of the Holy Spirit)