means tragedy.

We still know very little. We received our first text about this tragedy at around 3am Saturday morning. A boat was going down and could we pray. We heard news first thing in the morning that the ferry did sink and many people were dead or missing. Many people were saved as well.

I was away at the coast and first heard that one of my English students Mohammed was on the ferry but he was among those saved and ok. Then a call came this morning that he had died and was burried in the middle of the night to meet the dominant’s religions ordinances regarding burial. I am now going to be with his family. To try to love them, just be with them, to cry, to mourn, and maybe even offer hope in an impossible situation. When another student called me he said “tumefiwa” meaning we have been bereaved or we have lost because we all have been affected by this and that is how it feels. There are few here that don’t know someone that died or was on that boat between our two small islands.
For now I have little to say, only prayers to offer as my heart is further wrecked for the people here. For their hardships and their sufferings. And I am further learning to trust and feel profound loss. I am leaning into His ways even when I do not understand them.
Jason wrote this this morning:

As the world mourns 10 years since 9/11, the people of our island have been dealt their own tragedy. Many of you have probably not heard of the tragedy that struck us yesterday. An overloaded passenger ferry, traveling from Unguja (our island) to Pemba (sister island) capsized and sank around 1-3 AM. The boat may have had over 1000 people on board (registered to carry only 600).

As of now, it seems that near 600 people have survived and been rescued (miraculous due to the timing and extreme lack of rescue equipment and infrastructure), but over 240 have been confirmed dead, and that number will only rise (some think it could top out around 500) as many are likely still trapped in the hull of the ship.

This has had a profound impact on these islands, as there is nearly no one that has not been impacted by someone that has died or was on the ship. Shock, despair, anger, sadness, grief. Many woke up this morning never to see their loved ones again. It looks as though one of Roxanne’s English students is among those that lost his life. Tragically, the ship was full of children and students celebrating Eid here on Unguja and heading back home. Numbers seem to indicate that 90% of those that died were women or children.

more here and here and here and here

We have an amazing opportunity to pray for God’s love, comfort, and blessings to flow from tragedy. We are praying that God would meet them in their need, and that love would be shown to them and that they would have peace. We believe God speaks to people in their distress. Please join us in praying and standing in the gap for them in the days ahead. Pray for God to provide opportunities for us to share hope and truth and comfort and peace into their lives. Please pray we would seek where we can help in practical ways to show how God provides. Some children have also lost parents and are now orphaned – pray for God to provide for them via relatives, or perhaps even to open the hearts of the government to allow us to adopt one? We believe God wants to do big and beautiful things through this tragic event. We appreciate your partnership as we seek to further His kingdom.
  1. Anonymous says:

    Oh Jason and Roxanne, my heart is grieved with you. I will pray. May God show His mercy and His unfailing love through these circumstances. May it open ways for the people to come know Him.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I heard about this yesterday and I was wondering if it had affected you. I'm glad that you guys are ok, but I am so sorry to hear that you lost a friend.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Jason & Roxanne,We heard about the sinking on Sun. morning. It's been pretty big news here and our hearts went out to you and the people on the island who have suffered such loss. We will be praying for you for wisdom and sensitivity to God's leading in your interactions with neighbors and friends.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I saw this on Fox as just a blurb, and I felt so bad that no one had the courage to report the truth for all of the mothers and children, and families we so love because of you(that sufferred loss) I am so very sorry! Love, Aunt Karen

  5. Anonymous says:

    When student asked me my favorite Bible verse, I was absolutely mortified to say (with no knowledge of where it was in the Bible) “”God bless the peacemakers, for they shall inherit the Earth”. You have lived a life, where I now kinda know what this means. I am older now, and the yearning to understand “peacemaker” still exists, but you clarify it by your experiences, and your ability to put it into words.. Hold onto God. You will look back in five years and be overcome with love for what God has provided.Everything is always changing, focussing on God's amazing grace no matter what comes your way….it never ends. The journey is so good, no matter what, when you are constantly assurred that God's grace is sufficient! It is!