LITTLETON, N.C. — The world's worst earthquake in 40 years created one of the deadliest tsunamis in history. Even though the disaster hit nine countries, the effects could be felt in a Littleton church.
"I just started to cry and I could cry all day thinking about what's not there," said Susannah Sherman of Littleton United Methodist Church.
Pastor David Haley and a group from Littleton United Methodist Church were in Sri Lanka less than a year ago. They were part of a medical mission that operated out of a day care. One of the service workers who is still there said the day care is now gone, as well as the shantytown where many of those they helped lived.
"I said, 'Well, what about the Moratuwa Beach community?' and he said, 'It's gone, brother. It's gone,'" Haley said. "He described how mothers were crying for their children who were swept away and children were crying for their parents who they couldn't find who had drowned."
Sherman and Haley do not know the names of the dead, but they are sure among them are some of the faces they once helped. When they see the scenes of destruction, they know those who already had so little now have even less.
"These people came home in my heart and my mind and it upsets me. These are the people left with nothing and they were nice people," Sherman said.
The church has started mobilizing. One person already donated $1,000 for an emergency shelter.
Anyone wishing to help the church's relief effort can call (252) 586-7401 or can send donations to:
Littleton United Methodist Church P.O. Box 26 Littleton, NC 27850
The State Department set up a hotline for Americans who want information about loved ones. That number is
. The state department also has disaster relief and emergency service information online.