Another emergency! I can barely believe it! I didn’t want to know, really. I have had enough from my Nepal experience. I just wanted to go back to the urgent task of sharing the Gospel through the works of AFA in 11 countries. That is my love. These unspectacular needs are easily neglected and our AFA projects are relying on regular donations that may suffer.
But I am prompted to say: Most of us have no idea about the amount of suffering experienced in Myanmar at this time. It’s absolutely tragic! The media are fairly quiet about it.
We are in almost daily contact with our friends in Myanmar – those who have been nearest and dearest to us for many years – people in three churches, friends who are heartbroken about what they see before their very eyes: wholesale destruction in vast areas, with hundreds of thousands of people thrown into desperation and poverty. Farmers overnight become homeless, landless, refugees, peasants. Many of these are our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Rivers have become large inland seas – houses, churches and schools destroyed, farmlands disappearing with all top soil just washed away. This has happened right in the homelands of Pastor Martin’s church in the Tahan region (LCM – Myanmar Lutheran Church) and Pastor James’ church (MLC – Myanmar Lutheran Church). It’s so wild there in the MLC territory of the Khumi people around Paletwa that communications are barely possible. There are no roads, only rivers, jungles and mountains.
Evangelist Thomas’ reports are particularly touching. Right now he is where it is all happening – with those who cry, suffer and die. A week ago he stood there on a main street in the middle of Yangon, that metropolis, singing, playing Gospel songs with his guitar, asking the Burmese to donate to the flood victims.
This is what he says, I'm heart-broken that the flood has destroyed the very villages I went to on our mission trips - including the village that threw rocks at us while preaching the Gospel there. They don't have any food or drinking water. We are going to help them. They need our help. I need your help please. He is full on. He is there in the mud with the least of Christ’s brethren.
We are helping them with rice packs, water, medicine, cloths and water filters. A lot of people are starving. Now, people (especially children) are dying of waterborne diseases; diarrhea, typhoid, worms, cryptosporidiosis. Most of international assistance goes into the government's pocket, not to people in need. Yes, the Australian government sent plane loads of food also.
Pastors Martin and James are saying exactly the same thing. Martin is organising his fairly big “Helping Hands” expedition to Tahan – similar to the way he did his cyclone relief a few years ago with AFA funds. Pastor James still is stunned and appalled when he sees what happened to his people – some of the poorest in Myanmar.
This time both churches will also receive help from LCA-World Mission, and probably also ALWS/LWF relief. There are also some funds available from USA sources.
But our contribution is absolutely vital as well. Thomas, from Concordia Gospel Mission, is not receiving any help from abroad other than from AFA. No-one can do everything. Everyone does his best. The LCA is also supporting two other churches who are members of the LWF. For your convenience, see below the links for those who wish to help through LCA-World Mission.
Just one example of the immense suffering in just one town alone, brought to us by Pastor Martin, In Kanan, which is my wife’s hometown, around 110 houses were washed away and 500 people have no place to stay. In the city of Kalaymyo nearby, conditions are worse.
Another example is the death of Yee Tun:
YEE was 25 years old and lived in Kan Ma village. She is a non-believer and she has a beautiful heart. She was helping to share food (rice packs, water and medicine ) by boat in Yadanapon Kyun Village near Mon Ywa city on August 7th at noon. Sadly, her boat sank and the four in the boat nearly drowned. Three were saved but Yee didn’t make it. Most of us don’t have life jackets when travelling in boats to help the people.
We could go on and on.
"Let us work while it is day before the night comes when no one can work."
John 9, 4
Over to you,
PRESIDENT, ASIA FOCUS AUSTRALIA
Donating through AFA:
Donations can be made by cheques or money orders to ‘Asia Mission and Relief Fund’ or by direct bank transfers. Please earmark, Myanmar Floods.
All correspondence: PO Box 911, Gympie Qld 4570, Australia
COORDINATION OF RELIEF WORK:
We are all in touch with one another – the churches in Myanmar, LCA World Missions, ALWS and AFA. We all try our best to coordinate the work as much as possible.
Donating through LCA-World Mission
Information regarding the LCA ( http://www.lca.org.au/ ) and the flood appeal can be found at:
Information regarding donations: http://www.lcamission.org.au/act-now/donate/