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Relief funds to be used 100% to aid Asia tsunami survivors

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–Since news of the devastating tsunami first broke, Southern Baptists have sought ways to help those affected by the crisis. Many have done so by sending gifts through the International Mission Board’s General Relief Fund.

IMB President Jerry Rankin expressed appreciation for those who have responded to the tragedy and asked Southern Baptists to continue to respond.

“A massive outpouring of support for disaster relief is needed by our Southern Baptist missionaries seeking to minister to those suffering the devastation of the tsunami in Asia,” he said.

The board is uniquely positioned to make use of relief gifts, he added. Funds from the Cooperative Program — Southern Baptists’ unified giving approach — and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering cover the administrative and on-the-field support expenses that allow IMB personnel to be available to help in these crises.

That means “100 percent of gifts designated to disaster relief are used to minister to those who are suffering,” Rankin said.

Some have asked if they should divert their Lottie Moon offerings to the disaster relief effort. In a word, no. “If giving were to be diverted, it would undercut the foundation of our support and ability to respond to relief ministries that are needed,” Rankin said. “My hope would be that Southern Baptists would first support their missionaries through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and then give what they are able to minister in this crisis.

“Regular field budgets and missionary support provide no margin for the massive response that is needed in this disaster,” he said. “As Southern Baptist missionaries and volunteers come alongside the survivors of this tragedy, there will be opportunities to demonstrate the compassion of Christ and share the hope and security that can be found in Him.”

To contribute to the tsunami relief efforts, send gifts designated “Asia Earthquake Disaster Relief” to the International Mission Board, P.O. Box 6767, Richmond, VA 23230. To give online, go to the International Mission Board’s website, www.imb.org, and click on “Give Now” in the box highlighting this story. All funds given will go to relief efforts; none will be used for administrative costs.

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