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China death toll expected to exceed 80,000

By June 25, 2008

China (MNN) — China is now
saying the death toll from last month's 7.9 magnitude earthquake is expected to
exceed 80,000. More than 13,000
aftershocks have been detected since May 12, with five measuring above 6 on the
Richter scale.

The quake left more than five
million people homeless. In rural
areas, getting help to the survivors has proven tricky.  

Tom Henry, minister-at-large with
WorldServe Ministries, says although their team took a hard blow, "WorldServe works with 20 movements in
China. Eight of those movements were
heavily involved in those [quake-hit] regions. We've lost 12 workers that we've
supported, 10 training centers, and thousands of house churches." 

The church is working to help
people rebuild their shattered lives. Teams have committed two to three years
in remote areas. 

The ministry sent 34 people to
the worst-hit regions to provide humanitarian relief and to be the hands and
feet of Christ. 

Many remote villages are relying
on government air support for survival supplies such as water and food. Electricity is non-existent. Believers have hand carried supplies into
the area. 

Local government officials are
encouraging the church planters to help in the areas because of the need for
help. Some local officials gave approval to the church planters to minister
while helping in the relief effort. 

The remoteness of many of these
areas means vehicles are not able to deliver supplies to those areas. As a result, villagers are short of food,
water, and medical supplies.

Government officials in the
villages are even encouraging the pastors to come and help take care of the
villagers because of the desperate situation. Some forms of evangelism is permitted by the officials.

Henry says their teams "have
very limited resources. These movements are very poor, but they've responded in
amazing ways, from cleanup to giving a cup of cold water to sharing the Gospel,
and they're seeing tremendous results. In one large city, 3,000 people have come to Christ in the last
three weeks."

Gary Schneider, WorldServe's Interim CEO says,
"Our long-term goal will remain, of course, to help these families and faithful
home church leaders to rebuild and continue their work of spreading the Gospel
in the remote areas of the Chinese provinces."

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