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By AT News Team, July 23, 2014
 
The Netherlands Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination has released a public statement deploring the incident in which a Malaysian Airlines passenger flight was shot down over Ukraine last week. It expressed condolences and solidarity with the many Dutch families touched by this tragedy.
 
There were no Adventists on the flight, according to Pastor Wim Altink, union conference president. One lay leader did come close to being among the dead, according to a story reported in the Adventist Review. Frieda Souhuwat-Tomasoa, a lay member of the union conference executive committee, changed her flight at the last minute.
 
Souhuwat-Tomasoa has been assisting with a United Nations peace-making project in an area of Indonesia where she has family roots. She travels regularly to Ambon, located on Maluku Islands to assist with a UN program to reconcile people caught up in sectarian conflict for more than ten years. She is also a local elder in the North Rotterdam Adventist church.
 
“Our country is mourning,” the Adventist Review quoted Altink. “The crash has made a big impact. Everybody is affected.” About two thirds of the dead in the crash were from the Netherlands.
 
“We are deeply saddened by the unprecedented suffering caused by the disaster of flight MH017 in eastern Ukraine,” the statement said. “We empathize with and pray for God's strength and comfort for all those affected and the next of kin.” The 55 Adventist congregations in the Netherlands had special prayer for the families on Sabbath. There are about 5,000 Adventist adherents in the country out of a population of 17 million people.