THOSE WHO LIVED THROUGH PREVIOUS DISASTERS NOW PROVIDING PRAYER, FOOD, CLOTHING, FUNDS AND RELIEF WORKERS FOR OTHERS; ACTIONS DEMONSTRATE STRENGTH OF CHURCH IN SOUTH ASIA
KATHMANDU, Nepal – Members from many GFA-supported churches in India are responding unconditionally to the disastrous April 25 earthquake in Nepal with widespread prayer, fasting, generous giving, clothing and food drives, as well as sending relief teams to help restore their neighboring country.
They are taking their own initiative to help bring relief there, knowing first-hand what it’s like to go through significant natural disasters in their own country. Their actions demonstrate the strength of the Christian church in South Asia.
“Many who have personally experienced the devastation of powerful earthquakes and storms are now responding to help others,” said Dr. K.P. Yohannan, founder and international director of GFA. “The local church, led by and composed of nationals in South Asia, is rising to the occasion by helping to meet the needs of earthquake victims.”
Among those responding are Believers Church congregations in the Uttar Pradesh region of northern India. Churches from this area have already sent truckloads of blankets, rice, flour, bread and other foods, and are collecting funds to send more.
One of the most generous responses is being organized in Delhi. After suffering through an earthquake in 2001 that killed more than 10,000, one of the leaders on the field, Dr. Simon John, said he can personally sense the sadness many Nepalese are suffering. “As soon as we heard about the earthquake, our staff individually and collectively started praying for bereaved families and working to collect relief supplies,” he said.
In the Punjab area, floods and landslides destroyed thousands of homes a year ago, with heavy rains again badly damaging wheat crops this spring. Yet field leader Pastor Martin said churches there immediately began to support victims in Nepal. “Three days after the earthquake, we had collective prayer and fasting,” Martin said. “Our churches will be continually praying for the people as we trust God to rebuild Nepal.”
Gospel for Asia-supported Believers Churches in Kolkata have contributed enough donations to set a goal of rebuilding at least 100 homes, providing rations to 200 families for two to three weeks, and providing for children’s educational needs. Members also plan to collect donations of clothing and send it when conditions in Nepal make that feasible.
Numerous churches have already been involved in fasting and prayer, such as in Bihar, which called for a three-day period of special fasting and prayer for God’s grace, peace and healing in Nepal. Church-wide observances are scheduled for May 8 in Delhi and May 12 in Udaipur.
Gospel for Asia has served the church in Nepal for more than 25 years. For decades, the ministry has also provided disaster relief throughout South Asia when tragedy strikes areas it serves, such as after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
GFA supports 450 churches, 20 Bridge of Hope children centers and Bible schools in Nepal. Some were destroyed or damaged by the earthquake, Nepal’s worst in 80 years. Many church leaders and members have lost their homes or can no longer safely live in them.
More information about GFA’s disaster recovery efforts in Nepal can be obtained at www.gfa.org/info/nepal-earthquake.
PHOTO CUTLINE: Gospel for Asia-supported missionaries, Believers Church pastors and Bridge of Hope staff pass out rice to earthquake victims in the Nuwakot District of Nepal. Twenty Believers Church members in the district lost their homes in the quake.
Gospel for Asia (www.gfa.org) is a mission organization sharing the love of Jesus across South Asia.
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