Christian Organizations Gear Up for Tsunami Relief
- Monday, December 27, 2004
CRWRC's partners, Eficor and the Southern Sumatra Christian Church, will act as CRWRC’s network on the scene in India and Indonesia to identify areas of need and distribute food and other supplies as efficiently as possible. In Sri Lanka, Jack Schenk, a CRWRC volunteer, will coordinate the response in coordination with the Dutch Reformed Church of Sri Lanka.
Andrew Sundersingh, a relief director from World Vision International in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, says the Christian humanitarian relief organization will be setting up relief stations on the east and south coasts where the massive waves had hit hardest. "We are right now preparing to target about 1,000 people with a feeding program. We will be setting up in four districts affected.”
World Vision's Jayanth Vincent reports from India: "In Chennai, where the national office of World Vision India is situated, the first warning came as a slight tremor. Around 7:30 a.m., walkers and children playing on the Marina beach of the city were taken aback and started running at the sight of a wall of water rising to flow into the almost a kilometer wide beach towards the car park. Reports say that the surge was so strong that parked cars were thrown around like toys.”
"All of us around the world are deeply saddened by this tragic news in Asia," says Richard E. Stearns, president of World Vision. "To those grieving over loved ones lost or missing, pleased be assured you are in our thoughts and prayers."
Gospel for Asia workers are rushing food, clothing, medical supplies – and the love of God – to millions of Asians devastated by the earthquake and tsunami. GFA President K.P. Yohannan, who returned from India the day after the powerful waves hit, says GFA workers are already ministering among the estimated three million survivors huddled in massive refugee camps in India. Others are serving in Sri Lanka and other hard-hit countries.
In spite of the death and destruction, Yohannan reports, some bright spots exist. He explains how God's hand protected one congregation. "In one of our churches in Sri Lanka, our believers were spared even though their entire village was washed away. At the time the wave hit, they were all in church, and their church building is located up in the mountains."
But Christians have suffered alongside their countrymen throughout South Asia's devastated coastal regions. One pastor in Sri Lanka, Brother Logidasan, lost his wife, son, and mother when the waves crashed in on them. The leader of GFA work in Sri Lanka, Lal Vanderwall, has called for prayer for the pastor and his coworkers as they try to minister to others in the midst of their own grief.
In the wake of this disaster, GFA's 1.5 million-member Believers Church in India is rallying support and deploying its leadership and members to minister to those suffering both physically and spiritually.
"In times like these, we know that God opens the hearts of those who suffer, and we pray that as our workers demonstrate God's love to them, many of them will come to know for the first time that real security comes only through Him," Yohannon says. "We ask that our brothers and sisters in the West take the time today to pray for these millions of victims, that they will feel God's presence and grace in a special way. And please pray for our workers, that they will be given strength to serve in these horribly difficult circumstances.
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