In God's providence, Alice and I visited India just a few days after the tsunami of December 26, 2004. We traveled to the city of Jaipur (located in northwestern India) as part of a group mission trip with my seminary. The purpose of the trip was for us to see another culture, share the gospel, prayer-walk, and distribute Christian literature. For the two of us in particular, we hoped that God would use the trip to tell us whether or not to serve Him in India (He did). We spent about two weeks in the city and surrounding area.
Since the tsunami had hit the southeastern coast of India just a few days prior to our arrival, it was heavy on the people's minds. Although Jaipur is located several hundred miles from the sites of devastation, most of the city-dwellers had at least heard about the massive loss of life.
The tsunami, as terrible as it was, provided us with a starting point for discussion. As we walked the city, we engaged in conversations with people of all types. Fortunately for us, because India was a British colony, many of the people spoke English. We were eager to talk with them, and they were intrigued by these white foreigners. Because religion is such a dominant aspect of life in India, it was easy to get to that topic.
In discussing the tsunami, we (Indians and Americans) could all easily agree that it was a tragic thing. Interestingly, when asked to explain the tsunami, the Indians we talked to had no answer. Most were Hindus, but some were Muslims. Regardless, they had no good way of dealing with this tragedy. This allowed us to share with them about the God of the bible. Most were interested to hear about the all-powerful God of the universe who sent His Son to save men.
I cannot say that the Indians we talked to were lining up to hear more about the gospel. However, I believe we did honor God by sharing Christ. Who knows? Maybe God will eventually use that to save many residents of Jaipur.
I know this: God used the 2004 tsunami to give us an open door for conversation with lost people. I praise Him for that.