The CT staff wanted a relaxed week between Christmas and New Year's, so they polished up this issue's contents before Christmas. But then, the day after Christmas, a death-dealing tsunami inundated the shores of South Asia.

One of the few editors on duty was Agnieszka Tennant. Before coming to CT, she worked for the City News Service in Chicago, chasing emergency vehicles—sometimes into treacherous neighborhoods. She felt the old adrenaline surge return, and she quickly called Christian relief agencies to gather their initial reports from the affected region. Her report on CT's website was our first coverage of the devastation.

As the rest of the staff returned from vacation, managing editor Mark Galli decided to change the cover story—five days before this issue was to print. On these pages, you'll find the last-minute tsunami reporting of Agnieszka Tennant and Stan Guthrie, as well as the design heroics of Gary Gnidovic and Windy Haugen. Special thanks goes to agencies like World Vision and World Relief for opening their channels of communication to us. And we're grateful as well to others with an international reach: the Bible League, which provided news on Indonesia; Australian journalist Paul Gallagher, who connected us with sources at Lanka Bible College; and John Maust of Media Associates International, who led us to writers in Java and India. Evangelicalism's global nature and ready network paid dividends in both relief and reporting.

The time-zone difference has meant long hours for our staff. One late night, Agnieszka Tennant was interviewing World Vision's first-response manager in Colombo. The intrusion alarm went off in our building, and Agnieszka had to decide: Call security and deal with a possible intruder? Or keep talking to a difficult-to-reach source? I'm really a lot safer here than this fellow in Sri Lanka, she thought, and kept reporting while the alarm bells rang on.

Next Issue: Stirrings of the Spirit in the land of Sartre, the colossus of Christian relief work (World Vision), and an evangelical and Catholic call to holiness.

Related Elsewhere:

First Waves of Relief | Muslim-Christian hostilities. Competing for qualified labor. Handling record donations. These are just three obstacles Christian aid groups must navigate.
Bent but not Broken | A pummeled church helps bury the dead and bring life to those who remain.

Our full coverage of the Indian Ocean tsunami includes:

Indonesian Christians in NYC Gather Money, Pray for Spiritual Healing | Church thankful that few friends and family were in worst-hit areas. (Jan. 03, 2005)
Church Building and Its Members Reported Swept to Sea | Horrific and hopeful stories emerging from Sri Lankan Christians. (Jan. 03, 2005)
Sri Lanka Bible College Aiding Victims, Churches | More than 30,000 of island nation's 20 million people dead. (Jan. 03, 2005)
India's Christians Prominent in Casualties and Aid | Velankanni basilica, Christian fishermen among hardest hit. (Dec. 30, 2004)
Disaster Prompts 'Neighborly Love' | The director of Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka meets Christian survivors straining to deliver aid to victims despite their own losses. (Dec. 30, 2004)
Tsunami Survivors Desperate for Aid | Christian groups worldwide mobilize massive relief effort to South Asia. (Dec. 29, 2004)

Other tsunami weblogs include articles on theodicy:

Tsunami Weblog: Combining the Gospel with Aid | Plus: Tensions increase between Muslim militants and aid workers; Christian, Hindu groups fighting to help; Churches giving aid; more theodicy debates; and more articles from online sources around the world. (Jan. 11, 2005)
Tsunami Weblog: UNICEF Confirms the Kidnapping of Tsunami Orphans | Plus: Ake Green condemns Phelps's attacks on gay Swedes, tax deduction deadline extended for tsunami donations, Muslim radicals provide relief, and other stories from online sources around the world. (Jan. 07, 2005)
Tsunami Weblog: S. Korea Worries Christian Relief Groups May Face Terror Attacks | Plus: Where was God in the disaster? Churches giving aid, and orphaned children kidnapped. (Jan. 06, 2005)
Tsunami Weblog: The World Seeks Meaning | Is God to blame for the tragedy? Plus: the recent tsunami updates, ministry amid the wreckage, and Christians give $millions in relief. (Jan. 05, 2005)
Tsunami Blog: World Vision's $50 Million Goal | Plus: Commanding the wave to stop in Jesus' name, missing sponsorship kids, and other stories of faith and works in the wake of tragedy. (Jan. 05, 2005)

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