Blankets Bring Warmth to a Shivering City
January 15, 2013
As the temperature was dropping and the death toll rising, Gospel for Asia-supported missionaries knew it was time to act—fast. On the morning following one of the coldest nights in many Indian cities since 1973, GFA-supported missionaries worked fervently to gather more than 100 blankets and organize distribution teams. That same evening, they split up into groups in search of people sleeping on the streets, under bridges or in bus and railway stations. One of our correspondents went with them. This is her story:
Teams Bring Blankets to the Homeless
As we drove to the outskirts of the city, I didn’t see a single homeless person. We should have been rejoicing about that, but something inside us said this was the “calm before the storm.”
Sure enough, a few minutes later and a few miles deeper into the old city, there was a small group of tents huddled together near the roadside. We could barely see them in the dim street light.
We pulled over and saw a row of five makeshift tents. Suddenly, a young boy appeared, maybe 10 or 11 years old.
He had a big grin on his face, a look of curiosity, as if he knew something good was coming his way. He wore a tattered shirt missing buttons and covered in dirt. His pants were about two sizes too small and he did not have shoes.
Before I could hand him the blanket, he was already grasping for its warmth. I handed it over and he ran back to his tent. Within moments, 20 to 30 people came running out. They laughed and smiled and thanked us continually. We gave everyone Christian literature, telling them Jesus is the One who cares for their needs.
Hundreds Found Freezing by the Street
We left the small tent community and journeyed a few miles more. As the road intersected underneath several overpasses, hundreds of people could be seen lying on the roadside. The situation looked so desperate that it was difficult to hold back my tears.
I saw a mother sitting on the cold concrete, feeding her infant child. I saw men huddled together without jackets, sweaters, hats or gloves.
The saddest was seeing people who covered themselves with plastic tarps or worn-out bamboo mats. The whole situation suddenly became real, and I knew at that point that this truly was a crisis.
Blankets Replace Thin Tarps and Mats
Seeing an old man curled up underneath a plastic tarp, we stopped the vehicle. He jumped up and ran toward us. Our missionary wrapped a blanket around him, and the man did not stop thanking us. Even as our vehicle continued down the road, this man held his palms together in front of his face, a sign of thanks, until we could no longer see him.
Many people had already fallen asleep under their thin sheets or makeshift blankets, so we quietly approached them and gently covered them with the blankets.
One man happened to wake up, and he was about to stand when our missionary told him not to worry and to go back to sleep. The man smiled and adjusted his position as our missionary placed the blanket over him.
Two young teens, Saeed and Baha, were also part of the distribution team. They had been rescued from the streets as young boys and brought to our home for street children. After handing out blankets, they went back to the children's home to share about their experiences.
“By seeing the condition of the people, I felt like crying,” Saeed said. “Here we are being provided with all of our needs, but there are so many people who don't even have a single thing to keep them warm. I wish we could give everyone a blanket.”
This winter, you can save a life and show Christ’s love through the gift of a blanket.
Give toward blankets
You can give toward blankets for our Compassion Services teams to take to cold weather victims. At $12 each, blankets provide much-needed warmth and comfort.
Compassion Services brings the love of Jesus to the cold weather victims.