Current location: Salatiga, Java, Indonesia
Home congregation: Gloria Dei, Iowa City, Iowa and Gloria Dei, St. Paul, Minn.
My perspective: Java was shielded from disaster by Sumatra, which took the brunt of the Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunami. Aceh in north Sumatra was leveled.
Aceh is the only Indonesian province under sharia or strict Muslim law. Indonesians recognize Aceh's people as a proud group that struggled for independence from the Dutch and more recently from Indonesia. Aceh is isolated from the world by Indonesia's attempt to control separatist rebels, hampering communication and relief efforts.
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