Indonesia Earthquake – Field Report

A field report from Patrick Jones who is leading our relief effort following the devastating earthquakes that struck Lombok, Indonesia.

Last month something happened that happens every few months. I woke up, turned on my phone and found out that there was an earthquake in Indonesia, the country I now call home.

The funny thing is, I didn’t find out from a local weather service. I didn’t find out from the news. I found out because a friend in America saw that there was an earthquake and sent me an early morning text message. He was afraid that I was dead.

Luckily for me and my family, Lombok is over 800 miles away from where we live. But this earthquake was different because my family and I have been to Lombok close to a dozen times. We have friends there. We have church connections there. We vacation there annually. And we were scared.

On Sunday, August 5, a magnitude 7 earthquake hit the northern tip of Lombok and flattened the rural villages that house most of the locals. Mataram, the main city, experienced everything from minor nuisances to collapsing buildings. The local tourist hub of Senggigi essentially shut down.

The problem with earthquakes in developing countries is that the local infrastructure is built with only one thing in mind: cost. Huts, houses and buildings are made to be cheap. Even a minor earthquake can cause considerable damage. But this earthquake wasn’t minor.

The August 5th earthquake was stronger than the 1989 earthquake in San Francisco. And it hit an island that has more bamboo and sheet metal huts than it has houses.

I instantly contacted my friend Eko, who works at a local church in Lombok. Though Lombok is, like all of Indonesia, predominantly Muslim, many other religions live peacefully here. And when something like this happens, the beauty of co-existing religions really shines.

Five days after the earthquake I was able to travel through Lombok to villages and refugee camps and distribute items provided by CRF donors — 10,000 eggs, 20,000 boxes of noodles, bed rolls, soap and cooking oil.

The majority of the people that received these goods were Muslim. It was my joy to be able to tell them that all of the gifts were from my Christian friends. My Christian friends in America. They were shocked. And they were grateful.

At Christian Relief Fund, the full amount of donations for Lombok go to Eko and the church where he works. They have partnered with local businesses to help out people in villages that no longer have houses. One business even lent him a semi truck!

I still wake up to early morning text messages. In fact, it’s happening more and more. But now they’re from Eko. They’re pictures, too. Pictures of people with soap. And eggs. Beds and blankets. And they have one more thing that I know we couldn’t ever hope to buy — smiles.




CRF Named in Top 3% of Charities

We were honored to receive the highest possible rating from Charity Navigator for the 8th consecutive year!


From Charity Navigator’s President Michael Thatcher:

“Only 3% of the charities we evaluate have ever received eight consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that Christian Relief Fund outperforms most other charities in America.

This exceptional designation sets CRF apart from its peers and demonstrates to the public its trustworthiness.”

We are grateful that Charity Navigator has recognized our firm commitment to impact and financial accountability.

Thank you for joining with us in our mission to create more hope in the world as effectively as possible in the name of Jesus!



Changing a Name for Good

When I recently visited Kitale, Kenya, one of our directors, Priscilla Wairimu introduced me to one of the cutest babies I’ve ever seen.

As beautiful as the baby was, his story was anything but beautiful.

His mother had been sexually assaulted and decided to give the child to our children’s home in Kitale where Priscilla and our staff would provide for his needs.

The father only wanted to have one thing to do with the child. He wanted to name the new baby. He searched for what he thought was just the right name and chose Ishmael, which in Kenya means rejected one.

Can you imagine this name being placed on you for life?

In the compassionate atmosphere of the Kitale home, Ishmael got all kinds of love and care. And he even got a sponsor. Lauren and Conrad Prugh heard about this abandoned child and wanted to sponsor him immediately. Lauren is the daughter of our executive director, Kevin Wasner.

And the baby’s name was also changed. Ishmael is now Victor.

Indeed he is victorious. There is a lot to be said for this change of names. It is a statement that evil has been overcome by good.

We pray that Victor will have a good life with his new name. — Milton Jones, CRF President




I Love Troy University

Rick Cochran and Bobby Templin, who minister to college students at the Christian Student Center and the Collegedale Church of Christ, invited me to Troy recently. What a great ministry they have, and what great hospitality they showed me.

The highlight of my trip was going to the Troy Trojans’ football game. The athletic director, Jeremy McClain, got us seats in the luxury area. At the first timeout, I couldn’t believe it, but the public address system boomed, “We would like to welcome Milton Jones today!” And then they put on their big jumbo screen monitor the CRF logo and a picture of a water well we had drilled.

If that wasn’t enough, the announcer thanked us for the partnership we have had with Troy. Campus ministries have drilled wells and sponsored kids. Fraternities and Sororities have drilled wells. And even Dr. Jack Hawkins, the president, sponsors CRF children.

After seeing Troy University on a lot of different levels, I thought — “This is what a university should be!” Thanks, Troy!

Oh and they also won the game 59-7.

— Milton Jones, CRF President

Hurricane Florence Relief

UPDATE 9/26/2018:

CRF is continuing to help those impacted by Hurricane Florence. And we need your help to continue the relief and rebuilding effort.

Through our partner, Disaster Response Team, we have set up bases of operation in New Bern and Wilmington, NC. In New Bern alone, more than 4,300 homes were heavily damaged by Florence. And many thousands of people are still displaced throughout the region.

Your donations are supporting five large trailers that are currently on location dispensing food, clean water and other supplies to thousands of people who have lost most of their worldly possessions to this terrible hurricane. We are also coordinating clean up crews that are helping tarp damaged roofs and remove debris so homes can be repaired and rebuilt.

Can you help us bring hope to victims of Hurricane Florence? We plan to continue helping thousands of people in these communities for the foreseeable future. If you want to help immediately, the best things you can do are:

  1. Pray for those who have been touched by this storm
  2. Donate to our Disaster Fund to help us continue providing support.


At this very moment, Hurricane Florence is battering the Carolinas. Many thousands of people have lost their homes due to lashing winds and massive flooding. More than 500,000 people are currently without power in the region. Water rescues are underway and many lives are at risk.

And, unfortunately, it’s likely to get even worse. Hurricane Florence is a very slow-moving storm, and it is forecasted to continue dumping an additional 3 inches of rain every hour for at least another day. The flood waters are continuing to rise and the human impact is truly shocking.


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The areas affected by Hurricane Florence need our help.

CRF is immediately responding to this disaster with our partner the Disaster Response Team (DRT).
Large response trailers are currently staged to enter the affected areas as soon as emergency officials allow us to enter. We will begin distributing relief and support as soon as it is safe for our teams to do so.


In the early stages of our response, we will be providing clean water, food, showers and housing to hurricane victims around some of the hardest hit areas.

As the catastrophic flooding subsides, we will assess the situation and decide where we can make the biggest long-term impact by helping repair and rebuild the homes of people who have lost everything to this catastrophe.



The best way that you can help today is to donate. Your gift will be used immediately to get our team in place and to provide immediate help with water, food, and other short-term needs. You can donate here.  As relief for these basic needs become less dire, the team will transition to helping clean up and rebuild in the most affected areas. Please give today.



Your friends and family may be looking for ways to help the people impacted by Hurricane Florence. Share our social media posts to encourage your network to get involved.


God hears our prayers. Please join us in praying for safety and peace for all those affected by this disaster!


Give Now to Help Hurricane Victims