Bible League church planters safe, many partners missing

By January 7, 2005

Asia (MNN) — Ministries continue to count the cost of the tsunami. The Bible League has ministry in all of the affected areas. There’s both good news and bad news for them.

The Bible League’s Asia Director Ronald VanderGriend says they train both church planters and small group Bible study leaders. Vandergriend says most of their church planters are safe, but it’s not all good news. “We haven’t contacted all the Bible study leaders, but we have had reports that a pastor and his congregation of 64 were washed out to sea. (A) small group children’s Bible study group meeting on the beach were washed out to sea. And, from Sri Lanka between 25 and 30 pastors that have died and their churches have been destroyed.”

The good news is the national churches not affected are reaching out. India is just one example, says Vandergriend. “Many of the churches in the interior are responding by sending aid. And, we’ve over the last number of years trained over 50,000 Bible study leaders in that area. So, we’ve asked our staff to mobilize as many people as possible to go down and help.”

Short term response is providing food, shelter, and clothing. Long term assistance will be in the form of replacing fishing boats, homes and businesses. But, there’s also a need for spiritual help. “There’s just a lot of people in shock. (They’re) sometimes so much in shock they don’t even know to go to the food distribution point. There are people reportedly just in the last couple of days that just still stand on the beach hoping the waves will bring their kids back,” says Vandergriend.

Local knowledge by Bible League national workers is helping direct international relief efforts. This is giving Christians a platform to share their faith in anti-Christian areas of Asia.

Funding is needed for immediate relief efforts, but also for Bibles as they reach out with one-on-one counseling.

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