Myanmar (MNN) — The waters are rising fast in Myanmar, hit with yet another day of non-stop rains.
12 of Myanmar’s 14 regions have been hit hard. Residents were urged to find high ground. So far, the flooding and attendant landslides have affected more than 330,000 people across the nation, prompting a state of emergency for urgent relief efforts.
Heavy rainfall during this time of the year is nothing new to Myanmar. However, these floods are disastrous for the poverty-stricken country. “For someone to say it’s the worst in decades, it just gives you an idea of the massive impact this is having on literally tens of thousands of people,” says Greg Kelley, CEO of World Mission.
“Anytime a disaster like this hits, timeliness is absolutely urgent because people are literally hanging in the balance of survival.” World Mission’s national partner, David, agrees. “People are dying every day due to lack of food, clean water, medicine, and the basic necessities of life. We need your help.”
Because he is on the ground there, he can make things happen in terms of the distribution of basic necessities. It’s a boon to immediate response because, Kelley explains, “There’s aid that’s being dumped into these places; typically what happens is the inefficiency of mobilizing that becomes the issue. It will take us about $40 to impact the family which would get them by for a week or so.”
With a church network in place, not only can he get aid into the right hands, he can do it quickly. ”We’re trying to position just the basic survival–clothing, blankets rice, medicine clean water, and that creates an amazing opportunity to share the Gospel.”
Along with the supplies, some of the kits will also include a Treasure unit, a solar-powered audio Bible. “So many of the Burmese people are illiterate or oral learners. We’ll have Burmese New Testaments on each Treasure that we’ll deliver.” Initial response to the units (prior to the disaster) was positive, adds Kelley. “We just got a report that 32 Burmese, Buddhist individuals, gave their life to Christ after listening to the Gospel. One of them was a Buddhist monk.”
World Mission is making sure the local body of Christ has the funds to support the supplies they’ll need for their community. The urgency is due to more than the floods, though. “It’s a great opportunity to minister to them, share the love of Jesus with no strings attached,” says Kelley. “Ultimately the question of ‘why are you doing this?’ comes up. The motivation, of course, is our love for Christ.”
It also counters the message of years of civil war, a junta, and ethnic cleansing that is rampant on the borders. “Something supernatural happens when a heart opens itself up to the good news of Jesus Christ,” says Kelley. “That interaction happens, and God touches them and convicts them; we’re seeing Buddhists give their lives to Christ.”
Please keep this current relief effort and the team’s everyday efforts to spread the gospel to all nations in your daily prayers. “Pray for the response and that it’s an opportunity for the body of Christ in Myanmar to really show the love of Jesus in a very tangible way; and again, it’s without strings attached.”