“Cancer, most likely stage four,” announced the email. Since older women compose the majority of my Bible study group, a notification of someone’s hospitalization was not unusual. But this one? She seemed too young, healthy, and vibrant.
Three weeks after we evacuated to Bali to escape the riots on Lombok Island, we returned to our home. On my desk I found my abandoned letter to my parents from January 17, the day the riots broke out. My last words on the unfinished page read, "We are not terribly alarmed, just being careful." I picked up where I left off.
Muslims, Hindus, and Christians lived peacefully together on Lombok Island, Indonesia in the 1990s. The only violence this sleepy paradise knew was the occasional outbreak of a decades old tribal feud between two rival Muslim villages. Consequently, the events of January 17, 2000 caught us off guard.
This scare, known as Y2K, caused us to pause and take a few extra precautions. Before the clock struck midnight on the new millennium, my husband took a significant wad of cash out of the bank. January 1 arrived and nothing happened. We hid the cash. Then January 17 erupted around us and we grabbed the cash.
In the year 2000 in Indonesia I was having fun with my brother (surprisingly) when we somehow heard the news. I was eight years old when this happened. The Muslims were burning down Christian's houses because they wanted to revolt. My Mom said we had to go to Holiday inn. At first I wasn't afraid. I thought the riot would stop and everything would be okay. I was wrong.
"Wake up! Gather our belongings and meet in the hotel lobby!" Banging on the door aroused us from the beds we had just settled into. Frantically we followed orders and and joined our teammates and other guests to await our fate. There we received the news we had feared.
"How will I know this for certain?" Zechariah asked and God called his question unbelief. Mary asked "How will this be?" and God said she believed. So why was Zechariah’s question not acceptable and Mary’s was?
As a way to deal with the 2020 pandemic, I am remembering God's goodness and protection and telling of his works to the next generation. This is the first in a series on the Lombok riots of January 2000 — another time when life was upended, uncertain, and anxiety-ridden.