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Union senior heading to Indonesia to help with tsunami relief

JACKSON, Tenn.Jan. 21, 2005 – Amy McCutcheon is nervous.

She’s afraid she might get sick. She’s afraid she might get stranded in a distant land. She’s afraid of potential violence from different militant groups.

But that’s not stopping her from going to Indonesia. McCutcheon, a senior athletic training major at Union University, is heading that way today with a group from her church to help tsunami victims rebuild their lives. She’ll spend 10 days there.

“First and foremost, as a Christian I am called to go out into the nations,” McCutcheon said. “What I’ll tell the Indonesians is that Jesus was a lover of all people, and he loves you. Therefore, I want to help in any way I can as a follower of Jesus.”

Germantown (Tenn.) Baptist Church is sending teams to Indonesia every Friday through March to provide disaster relief. Shortly after the tsunami hit in December, a team from the church led by senior pastor Sam Shaw and missions pastor Mark Morris went to Indonesia to determine what the most pressing needs were and how the church could help.

When they returned and reported their findings to the church, McCutcheon became interested in helping. Since Union’s spring semester doesn’t begin until February, she knew she had the time to go.

“I don’t figure God’s given me the time for any other reason,” she said.

The church is focusing on one village in Indonesia that sustained heavy damage and that lost 10 percent of its population in the tsunami.

“Our task is to help them rebuild their village,” McCutcheon said. “That’s slow, and that task will probably change day by day as different things come up. One of our goals is to cook one hot meal a day.”

McCutcheon said she wanted to participate in the relief efforts because the need is so urgent.

“Missions is something that I would like to do on a more long-term basis,” she said. “You can go on little short-term mission trips, but not very often are you going to have the opportunity to go and experience such a natural disaster and such a need. People all over the world have a need, but this is an immediate need for right now.”

In addition to meeting the physical needs of the Indonesian villagers, she also is hoping for opportunities to build relationships and talk to them about Jesus. And McCutcheon thinks this experience will be good for her own spiritual growth.

“I think it will help me become more well-rounded,” she said. “We as Americans have a lot of things. We overlook our clean sheets. We overlook water. Sometimes it’s good to kind of shake that up a little bit.”

McCutcheon knows the trip won’t be easy, and she’s prepared for that. But one of her biggest apprehensions deals with finances. The trip will cost her a total of about $2,800. So far, she’s raised about half that.

“I only found out about this a week ago, so I’ve been hard-pressed to raise the money,” she said.

She said anyone wishing to donate money to help with her expenses can send a check, payable to Germantown Baptist Church, to her at 2371 Calkins Road, Germantown, Tenn., 38139.

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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