Asia (MNN) — Christian leaders in China and Myanmar plan to help with long-term
rebuilding after the recent natural disasters, and Partners International is
committed to supporting them.
"Our desire as Partners International is to help brothers
and sisters in Christ who are already reaching their neighbors long before
these disasters occurred, and helping them to strengthen their outreach and
ministries in practical ways," said Howard Amland, Vice President, Resource
Partners, of Partners International.
Thousands died, and millions lost their homes in the
8.0-magnitude earthquake in Sichuan
on May 12. Cyclone Nargis left 50,000
dead and hundreds of thousands homeless in Southern
Myanmar on May 2-3. It also
wiped out the rice harvest in the Irrawaddy Delta, a region that was poor even
before the cyclone, and destroyed the fishing boats.
"A long-term presence is needed in order to…rebuild those
communities into viable places in which to live and work," Amland said. "[In] farming communities and fishing
communities, individuals can't really make a living right now. Entire areas…won't be able to be replanted
for quite some time to come."
Ministry partners are building houses and providing basic
necessities like plates, bowls, and shoes in Burma. n China, its partners are helping
with construction projects, counseling, caring for orphans and the elderly, and
developing micro-enterprise projects.
Partners International works with about 100 ministry
partners, primarily in the 10/40 window.
Many of these partners live in economically-depressed areas and must
rely on outside assistance to grow their ministries.
"Many of our partners, particularly in the difficult areas,
they're just doing ministry: they're reaching the lost, which is very admirable,"
Amland said. "But in order for them to
grow beyond those initial beginnings and one-to-one ministry, they'll need
resources and training in how to better communicate, particularly with the Western world."
Ministry partners also receive biblical training and
mentoring in stewardship and board governance. In China,
they are involved in church planting, theological training, poverty relief, and
reaching unreached people groups. Ministry partners in Myanmar
have been involved in church planting, leadership training, youth centers,
orphanages, child sponsorship, drug rehabilitation, and training local
Servant partnership, Amland says, "is partnership done in
the spirit of our Lord's agape love, not to seek fulfillment or personal satisfaction. [It's done] with the primary desire to help accomplish the objectives and fulfill the
vision of the other partner."
"Those of us who have the privilege of living in the
resource-rich area of the West need to reach out to our brothers and sisters in
the non-western world who have opportunity-rich situations."