USA (MNN) — A ministry that provided relief during disasters, gave sight to the blind, healing to the broken, and sweet water to the needy, all while sharing Christ, is now shuttered. International Aid, a Christian relief agency, closed its doors last weeks after losing millions of dollars over the last few years.
Acting CEO of International Aid Gordon Loux announced that the organization is ceasing operations, effective immediately.
"It's a combination of many different factors," Loux explained. "One has been the historical trend over the last three years where the organization has lost money. The Michigan economy also had deep effects on many of the non-profit organizations.
"It is a very painful day for us here at International Aid," he added.
The closing was announced to I.A. employees following a decision by the organization's Board of Directors last week.
Mission Network News has partnered with International Aid for more than a decade. I.A. hosted MNN in Rwanda in 1997 covering the repatriation of thousands of Hutus. In 2000, we traveled with I.A. to Tibet to investigate the status of the church there and how I.A. could help the church become more relevant. And, in 2005, MNN was invited to join I.A. on the Gulf Coast of the United States to follow their Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
International Aid Board Chairman Roger Spoelman say the decision to close the agency was difficult, but necessary.
"While this was a tough decision for all of us who believe in the mission of the organization, we simply do not have the resources to continue even another day," he said.
Loux said he expects to bring several employees back on a "contractual basis" to fulfill pre-arranged orders for medical equipment and supplies.
"We want to fulfill the commitments we have made to various organizations," Loux said. "The staff has been wonderful. It's very disappointing and heart-rending because many of these people have worked here for many years. They have responded wonderfully, and I'm very proud of that."
Loux also said he's been in discussions with some other organizations to see if International Aid would be able to merge with them. He said there is "a lot of interest" in the medical supplies, water filtration systems, and other I.A.-initiated efforts from across the nation.
40 employees in the U.S. and 32 workers in Honduras and the Philippines are affected by closure. International Aid has helped literally millions of people around the world in times of crisis, working through local churches. That has opened doors to share the Gospel in places like Indonesia, Tibet, Rwanda and other parts of the world.