India (MNN) — Some of the coldest weather in over 40 years set the stage for Gospel opportunities in northern India.
According to reports, the cold snap hit Uttar Pradesh the hardest last week, with a death toll climbing past 200. India's capital city saw its coldest day in 44 years, while temperatures dropped below 3.6 degrees Celsius in the eastern city of Kolkutta.
Sensing imminent danger for those exposed to the cold, missionaries supported by Gospel for Asia sprang into action. They quickly gathered over 100 blankets and organized teams to distribute them among the homeless.
"As the road intersected underneath several overpasses, hundreds of people could be seen lying on the roadside," said a GFA correspondent. "The situation looked so desperate that it was difficult to hold back my tears.
"The saddest was seeing people who covered themselves with plastic tarps or worn-out bamboo mats. The whole situation suddenly became real, and I knew at that point that this was truly a crisis."
At each bamboo mat or thin tarp covering the missionaries saw along the road, they stopped and replaced the cover with a blanket. Reaching a tent community, the believers offered more than physical relief.
"We pulled over and saw a row of five makeshift tents. Suddenly a young boy appeared, maybe 10 or 11 years old," the correspondent penned. "Before I could hand him the blanket, he was already grasping for its warmth. Within moments, 20 to 30 people came running out.
"We gave everyone Christian literature, telling them Jesus is the One who cares for their needs."
Pray that this act of compassion would draw each person closer to the Son of God.
Among the distribution team were Saeed and Baha, two teens from GFA's Bridge of Hope program. They were especially touched by the outreach.
"By seeing the condition of the people, I felt like crying," Saeed said when reviewing the experience at the children's home. "Here we are, being provided with all of our needs, but there are so many people who don't even have a single thing to keep them warm.
"I wish we could give everyone a blanket."
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