UPDATED 3/1: N.D. officer deployed to Indonesia
Story by Craig Dirkes, Writer/Photographer for The Salvation Army Northern Division. Photos by Lt. Matthew Beatty, co-leader of the Grand Forks Salvation Army.
Lt. Matthew Beatty of The Salvation Army in Grand Forks, N.D. is currently in Palu, Indonesia serving survivors of the 2,000 natural disasters that killed thousands and displaced millions throughout the island country in 2018.
He arrived two weeks ago. So far, he has witnessed unimaginable destruction, incredible compassion, and the Indonesian people’s unshakeable resolve.
“The Indonesians are amazing,” Beatty said. “They dust themselves off and get right back up.”
Beatty has spent much of his time accompanying Salvation Army response teams that provide medical supplies and trauma counseling to people living in remote villages (pictured).
“Many people lost everything and haven’t had access to their monthly medications and other important medical services – our mobile clinics bring these things to them,” Beatty said. “Lots of these kids need trauma care. Some of them lost classmates to the disasters, and some lost family members.”
Traveling to some of the villages has been a harrowing experience.
“One time we were driving on what had to be the world’s deadliest road,” Beatty said. “The cliff below it had to have been 2,000 feet down. And there are still earthquakes happening – yesterday we counted five in the areas we had just visited.”
Beatty is amazed at how large The Salvation Army’s presence is in the region of Indonesia at which he is serving – Central Sulawesi.
“It’s insane how big The Salvation Army is here in Sulawesi – it is everywhere,” he said. “It is the town center in many of the villages.”
The Salvation Army of Indonesia operates hundreds of churches and other facilities, including hospitals, clinics, children’s homes, student hostels, and nursing homes. It also operates more than 100 schools.
Beatty’s deployment will last another six weeks. He is one of The Salvation Army Northern Division’s most experienced international disaster workers, having previously served survivors of Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines (2013) and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico (2017).
Beatty is proud to be serving in Indonesia.
“It is so inspiring,” he said. “One Salvation Army officer had her entire (church) swept away in a landslide, and yet she had her hands in the air, singing praises to the Lord. I couldn’t be more humbled to be here.”
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Lt. Matthew Beatty still has the police dash-cam video from March 1, 2008. A few months later, Beatty got caught driving drunk again and was arrested a second time...