April 9, 2024

Adventist Churches, Members’ Houses Affected by Earthquake in Taiwan

No casualties were reported, leaders said, as they continue assessing the damages.

Taiwan Mission, and Adventist Review
The house of Elder Lin, a Seventh-day Adventist church member, sustained damage from the April 5 earthquake. [Photo: Taiwan Mission]

An earthquake in Taiwan, which took place around 8:00 a.m. local time on April 5, caused minor damage to three Seventh-day Adventist churches where South Korean missionaries are serving. Fortunately, no casualties were reported. However, aftershocks continue, and the full extent of the damage has not yet been determined, indicating that the overall impact may grow, regional church leaders said.

Kwon Soon-Beom, youth director of the Taiwan Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, described the situation. The eastern region of Hualien was hit by a magnitude 7.4 earthquake, causing the collapse of old buildings and slightly affecting local churches. “There were about four long aftershocks lasting about two hours from 7:58 a.m. this morning,” Kwon said.

Kim Sun Hwan, director of Adventist Mission for the Northern Asia-Pacific Division of the Adventist Church, shared the current state of Adventist churches on the island. “So far, no significant damage has been reported to the churches and their congregations,” Kim said. “However, buildings that have been shaken may develop cracks over time, and with ongoing aftershocks, we need to continue monitoring the situation.” He requested prayers for the buildings to not have further damage.

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Some Seventh-day Adventist churches, such as the YueMei church, were affected by the April 5 earthquake. [Photo: Taiwan Mission]

Most churches with Pioneer Mission Movement (PMM) missionaries are located in western urban areas and were less affected by the recent earthquake. However, exceptions include the Xintian Seventh-day Adventist Church, where ceiling finishes and tiles fell, and the Beitun Seventh-day Adventist Church, which experienced minor wall cracks and ceiling warping.

Some church members are facing difficulties due to the impact of the earthquake. Elder Lin and his family from the Hualien Seventh-day Adventist Church have lost their home, as severe damage has rendered it uninhabitable. Furthermore, the De-An and Yue-Mei Seventh-day Adventist churches have sustained damage that will require a significant amount of reconstruction. Nevertheless, all the church members are safe, and there have been no casualties.

This earthquake, which occurred southeast of Hualien, a city on the eastern coast of Taiwan, was the strongest in the region in the past 25 years, with a depth of 20 kilometers (12.4 miles). So far, the quake has resulted in the collapse of two buildings, power outages, and widespread damage in the Hualien area. Tsunami warnings were also issued for the Japanese island of Okinawa, coastal areas of China, and the Philippines.

In Taiwan, 11 South Korean pastoral families are serving as PMM pastors to share the gospel, and 12 young adults are officially active as Public Campus Ministries (PCM) missionaries.

The original version of this story was posted on the Northern Asia-Pacific Division news site.