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Assisted by tsunami aid, volunteers in Asia continue ministry

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–Workers and volunteers laboring to meet the immediate needs of people affected by the tsunami that hit South Asia and the Pacific Rim last December have utilized more than half of the $16.8 million given to the International Mission Board in response to the disaster.

Almost $9 million donated for relief has helped individuals and families in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India and other areas rebuild their lives.

Now the board is moving toward long-term approaches to impact the area for Christ.

“Workers have been reassigned to different locations to help move relief work into long-term projects,” said Jim Brown, International Mission Board specialist for world hunger and relief ministries. “If doors stay open, efforts to help could last years.”

All funds -– 100 percent given –- go directly to help those affected by the tsunami. This is possible because Southern Baptist gifts through the Cooperative Program provide funds for administrative needs. Plus, CP monies and gifts through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering support IMB workers in the area.

Tsunami relief funds have been used in building homes and boats, repairing damaged or rebuilding destroyed schools and supplying drinking water, food and fishing nets.

In Thailand, more than 350 volunteers have used $2 million in relief funds to build 26 homes; minister to more than 17,000 families; build 50 boats; and distribute 8,250 fishing and crab nets.

Almost $4 million in relief funds has helped those in Indonesia obtain food and water purification; materials for boats, houses and schools; cooking and medical supplies; and livestock.

In South Asia, more than $2.5 million has bought sewing machines, thread and needles to help start jobs; food; and school supplies. The funds also have been used to build houses and provide medical care and hydraulic brick-making machines.

“We go in wanting to meet basic needs and God reveals ways for longer-term access to these locations.” Brown said. “In southern Thailand, the Sea Gypsy people group was hit extremely hard by the tsunami. Many of the Sea Gypsies have come to faith in Christ through the efforts of volunteers.”

House churches have started where volunteers have met not only physical needs but also spiritual needs.

Volunteers and prayer partners are still needed to continue medical clinics and construction projects. To find out how to volunteer, go to http://going.imb.org or write to [email protected] To help tsunami survivors, go to http://worldhunger.imb.org.
Watch an entire TC:Video about Southern Baptist tsunami relief online here.

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  • Jesse Lyautey