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Families of plane's missing gather in prayer

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SURABAYA, Indonesia (AP) — While others celebrate the new year, families of the passengers aboard AirAsia Flight 8501 are spending the holiday in shock and prayer.

In a waiting room at the airport in Surabaya, Indonesia, the Rev. Philip Mantofa prayed with about 100 grieving relatives on New Year's Eve.

Mantofa, whose church lost about 40 members in the disaster, said: "Help us, God, to move forward, even though we are surrounded by darkness." Before breaking up, those gathered stood together and sang "I Surrender All" with their hands reaching upward.

Mantofa said, "Some things do not make sense to us, but God is bigger than all this. Our God is not evil."

Nearly all the passengers on the plane were Indonesian, and many were Christians of Chinese descent. Indonesia is predominantly Muslim, but the population of Surabaya, the nation's second-largest city, is about 10 percent Christian.

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