Scientology Volunteers of Australia help victims of Sumatra earthquake—Part II
The team of Scientology Volunteer Ministers from Australia who traveled to Sumatra to help those whose lives were shattered by the September 30 earthquake carried on their work in the city of Padang and outlying villages. After spending their first day providing assistance at a shelter and local hospital, the team headed out to the villages that suffered the greatest impact from the quake.
They woke at dawn to get to the mountain villages before traffic on the overcrowded roads made travel impossible. All along the way they were struck by the beauty of the countryside and the stark counterpoint of devastation: every house they passed was damaged if not completely destroyed—walls missing, windows shattered.
All along the route, they saw people camped out beside their ruined homes. Unwilling to abandon their possessions but afraid to go back inside, they had set up house in tents where they carried on as best they could.
The Scientology Volunteer Ministers arrived at a makeshift, unofficial camp where many families had gathered. The volunteers stopped to help, first by distributing food they had filled their car with before leaving the town; next by showing the families how to deliver Scientology assists, procedures developed by L. Ron Hubbard that provide relief by addressing the emotional and spiritual factors in stress, trauma, illness and injury.
Continuing up the mountain road they came to a refugee camp where government personnel and volunteers helped them unload the supplies they had brought.
The Volunteer Ministers walked through the camp, finding out what the refugees most needed. When they described Scientology assists, many among the homeless not only wanted to experience them but also wanted to learn to deliver them so they could help one another. And that is exactly what they did. The change in the tone of the camp was immediate and striking, as it transformed the atmosphere from worry and sorrow to optimism and hope: so many smiles, so many people doing better.
As more people received their assists the word spread and crowds grew. Police and military personnel came to see what was going on and they too lined up to receive assists. The results were so dramatic the official in charge invited the Scientology Volunteer Ministers to place their banner in front of camp headquarters so everyone would know they could come there for help.
After many hours at the camp, the Scientology Volunteer Ministers headed back to Padang, promising to return. But their work was far from over for the day. They returned to the hospital where they had worked the day before, where they gave Scientology assists to those they had helped and new patients as well.
That day, rescue workers found a child who had been buried under debris for two days. Her body was a mass of bruises and open wounds, broken bones and gangrene. Frantic, she didn’t know where she was; she thought she was still trapped in the rubble. Her screams of “Help me, help me, get me out of here,” filled the ward. In her efforts to free herself she had tried to rip the IV drip out of her arm and nurses had tied her arms to the bed.
The Scientology Volunteer Ministers realized the child needed a Locational Assist. Shock tends to rivet a person’s attention in past painful or distressing incidents. Locational Assists help orient a person in his or her current environment, so the relief trauma victims can experience from this kind of assist is often quite dramatic.
The little girl soon realized where she was, but her pain was so intense she was still beside herself. The Volunteer Minister continued to help her for several hours, giving her various Scientology assists, procedures which have come to be known as “spiritual first aid.”
Gradually, the little girl began to relax. She stopped screaming and flailing and she finally drifted off to sleep—her first sleep since she was rescued and probably since the earthquake struck. Her brother, at her side since the rescue workers found her, learned how to give her assists so he could carry on helping her.
Promising to return the following day, the Scientology Volunteer Ministers took their leave at the end of a grueling but rewarding day.
When he created the Scientology Volunteer Ministers program in 1976, L. Ron Hubbard wrote: “A Volunteer Minister does not shut his eyes to the pain, evil and injustice of existence. Rather, he is trained to handle these things and help others achieve relief from them and new personal strength as well.” The Scientology Volunteer Ministers serving in Sumatra truly live up to this standard.