Got this eMail forwarded said to have originated with the Bangkok Bethel:
So many of you have shown interest in the welfare of the brothers staying in the coastal areas affected by tsunamis this past Sunday (Dec.26, 2004) ... emphasizing the truth expressed in our day's text today (Prov. 17:17). We are happy to report that to the best of our knowledge none of our local brothers were hurt or lost their lives.
However we are sorry that we cannot say the same of our tourist brothers vacationing in these areas. Just a few minutes ago I talked with a Sister from Austria, now in Bangkok, who was staying in Kao Lak (a resort very popular with Europeans north of Phuket) with her husband who is also in the truth. She described how they were alerted by someone yelling at the top of his voice, realizing that some terrible thing must have happened. So they ran out of the bungalow they were staying in and soon saw the tsunami bearing in on them -- "higher than the trees" she described it. Of course they didn't get far before being swept away... She survived, but so far we have no clue on what happened to her husband. So there is still hope that he is found, though many people died in the resort area.
Just yesterday I got the glad news that a Sister from England who had a similar experience, was reunited with her (unbelieving) husband who by some had been presumed dead already. Several ones of our brothers (including two special pioneers from Switzerland and one from Britain who serve here in Thailand) are touring the area, looking up hospitals etc. and showing pictures of the missing Austrian brother. It could be that he is severely injured or suffers from memory loss and thus was unable to make contact himself ... however I personally rate the chances are rather slim that he will be found; hopefully I will be proven wrong in this regard.
Then there is the Finish sister who also was separated from her husband. We were alerted by the brothers in Finland of her ordeal. The brothers spent many hours till finally locating her in a hospital in Phangnga. She doesn't speak English (like the Austrian sister) and needed help to explain her stand on blood. Finally she was operated on successfully without blood. Her husband, a brother, is presumed dead--as far as I heard it. While still in the operating room our special pioneer phoned we should select a hospital in Bangkok because she would be taken there with an ambulance shortly. I tried to arrange for that, asking a Finish Sister (former missionary here) to be ready to receive her. Soon afterwards he phoned again, saying that no ambulance was available (something I doubted from the very beginning), and that we should find one in Bangkok to get her (a round trip of about 1,700 km). Government agencies said they couldn't help and I should try to find a private hospital who would be willing to let us hire an ambulance... It finally turned out that it was agreed that she should be transported to nearby Phuket and there a special plane from Finland would pick her up. Hopefully she is back in Finland now. I had so far no news on her husband.
Now just as I am writing this email, I got a call from an elder from Krabi. He phoned yesterday telling us that a German couple who had been vacationing at Kao Lak (the same resort mentioned above) hasn't been seen since and that he is worried that they may have been victims of the tsunami. I spent a couple of hours yesterday trying to trace them (via many phone calls, Internet searches), to no avail. Now he gives me the good news that some sister found their names on a list of those having been able to return to their home countries. Thus one worry less.
Interestingly some Swedish Brothers went in the field service with the Phuket congregation on Sunday morning rather than playing in the sea. It may have saved their lives as when they came back to their living quarters many cabins had been destroyed by the huge waves. They thanked Jehovah that they had put his service first over enjoying swimming and sunning themselves.
There are a number of other foreign brothers having attended meetings but that have not been heard of since. At this stage we just can't say what happened to them. Well, one thing we all can do is keeping our affected brothers in our prayers-- I am sure you all will and already do. One positive aspect of the disaster is that surely people will here and elsewhere give more attention when we quote Mt. 24:7 where it says about the time of the end that there will be "earthquakes in one place after another."
With much brotherly love,