KARACHI, Pakistan (BP) -- Aadam Channar* was only a young boy quietly listening in the shadows when Baptist missionary Hu Addleton first brought the Gospel to his Hindu tribal village in Pakistan.
BANGLADESH (BP) -- Najia Khatun* knows what her life would be like without the Light of Hope Center in Bangladesh. She knows she would be hungry. She knows she would be uneducated. She knows she would be working long hours at a garment factory.
|Southern Baptists’ sensitivity to God, SBC President Frank Page says, will be a key factor in reaching the people of southern Asia, such as these young Pakistani women.|
“In order for that revival to come, we have to be the people of God” and follow the instructions God gives Christians in 2 Chronicles 7:14, Page said.
Nine months later, the television cameras are gone, but the hurt isn’t. Empty arms and miles of rubble linger to keep the pain fresh.
“Every morning they wake up to that reminder,” said Ned Thaxton*, a volunteer working in tsunami relief through the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.
Pierce Hosmer,* another team member who serves as the International Mission Board's strategy coordinator for the Sinhalese Buddhists of Sri Lanka, recounted, "This week, [Southern Baptists] have shown God's love for Sri Lankans by handing out hot meals to the homeless. In the days to come, the needs will change, and we will be here to meet those needs as well."
The assessment team worked closely with local Baptist leaders to determine the most effective ways to minister both physically and spiritually to the people in Sri Lanka.
|A grateful family
A family in Sri Lanka sits down to a hot meal provided by Southern Baptists. Displaced by the Dec. 26 tsunami, this family lives with five other families in a 20-foot by 20-foot schoolroom. Photo courtesy of the IMB
"I asked a pastor friend what the people's greatest need is right now, and he said they need Bibles. These people have lost everything. Their Bibles were washed out to sea," Hosmer said. "As of Jan. 9, Southern Baptist gifts had purchased 600 Bibles in the Sinhala and Tamil languages, and 340 of those already had been given out, not randomly but to those who truly longed to read God's Word again -- or for some, to read it for the first time."
About 77 percent of Sri Lanka's nearly 20 million population are Buddhists; fewer than 1 percent of Sri Lankans are evangelical Christian believers, Hosmer said. About 8.5 percent are Muslims, and about 8 percent are Hindus. Southern Baptists are trying to help all of those who are in need, said David Garrison, leader for the IMB's South Asia region.