According to reports, over 25% of the people killed in the AirAsia crash at the end of December attended the same Pentecostal church in Indonesia.
While on a trip from Indonesia to Singapore, Flight QZ8501 crashed into the ocean on December 28, 2014, killing all 162 on board. Severe weather was a contributing factor in the crash.
41 of the passengers attended Mawar Sharon Church in Surabaya, Indonesia. It is one of the largest mega-churches in Asia with 17,000 attendees and is part of the Mawar denomination, a pentecostal group in Indonesia with 45,000 members.
Incredibly, these church members were not flying to attend a conference — all were on the flight for different reasons. They may not have even known each other, due to the size of the church.
There were other believers on the flight as well, including a Korean missionary family and five who attended Bethany Church in the same city.
In an interview with the Christian Post, Pastor Caleb Natanielliem said he spoke from Psalm 139 when he addressed the Mawar Sharon congregation this past Sunday. He said:
“It talks about how we can never escape from God’s love. It talks about flying. If I can fly with my wings to the ends of the Earth, your love is still there. If I go to the bottom of the sea, to the darkest pit, your love is still there. I believe this is the message for the families.”
With a population of 250 million people, Indonesia is the fourth largest country in the world. Surabaya with 3.1 million residents is Indonesia’s second largest city.
Though only 10% of Indonesia’s population is considered Christian, God is moving in Surabaya and churches are growing.