India (MNN) — Uttarakhand's flooding is potentially the worst natural disaster in India since 2004.
Almost a decade ago, one of the deadliest tsunamis in recent history devastated the southeast coast of India. It killed 10,273 people, and 5,832 were reported missing. In addition, 501 children were orphaned.
Last month, early monsoon rains caught everyone by surprise. Although statistics vary widely, India's government has raised the number of people missing to 5,748. The death count in Uttarakhand officially stands at 580; groups on the ground in the region say it's much higher.
Jeff Palmer of Baptist Global Response says there's a silver lining.
"When things are at their worst, sometimes it's at the best place that God's message can come in, a message of hope and love," he states.
BGR's partners are bringing those messages to flood survivors, along with food, clean water, and health care. Palmer explains that BGR sends these supplies to northern India, and their partners take it from there.
"They minister physically and spiritually to the folks that are in need," says Palmer.
"The people who are actually being the hands of Jesus by delivering the goods, are the mouthpiece also and the feet, by going in with the Gospel."
They've helped out several thousand survivors so far. You can support their efforts here.
"It's very confusing right now as to exactly how many people have been affected," Palmer adds.
Flooding occurred when thousands of Hindus and Sikhs were on an annual pilgrimage called Char Dham Yatra.
"Several thousand are not accounted for, and they're not sure–the government's not sure–whether that's [because] they've gone on a pilgrimage, or they're gone because of the flooding," states Palmer.
Amid the confusion, BGR partners are carrying out their mission faithfully.
"Culturally, language-wise, and heart and calling-wise, they really want to share their faith," Palmer says. "They can minister by giving (care), but also they can have the opportunity–and earn the right–to share the Gospel while they're there."
Pray that in the midst of this tragedy, hearts will be open to hear new Truths.
"Pray for those who are giving compassion out by giving food and water, but also pray that they would be wise to be able to share a testimony of what God's done in their life," Palmer requests.
Keep BGR in your prayers, too.
"We want to make sure that we're using these resources wisely," says Palmer.
Ask the Lord to show BGR how and where to send assistance. Pray for wisdom and knowledge.