Piracy affects Christian outreach

By April 29, 2009

International (MNN) — One ministry is asking Christians to pray as piracy continues to expand off the coast of Somalia.

A few weeks ago an American captain was held hostage after pirates boarded the Maersk Alabama on April 8.

Currently, Somali pirates are holding at least 16 ships and more than 250 seamen to ransom. They have defied an increased international naval presence to step up attacks during favorable weather, seizing more than 10 vessels in April alone.

Global Action is a Christian organization that challenges, inspires, and equips believers to become risk-takers for God who radically impact the world for Jesus Christ. They're constantly shipping relief supplies, medical equipment and other aid into the region.

Ministry president Lars Dunberg says, "Right now we have one container on its way to Burundi. Two containers are being shipped this week to Uganda. They all have to go that way. And we also ship to Sri Lanka."

With the large number of shipments headed to the region, are they being affected by the piracy? "They have been delayed, but they have not been affected yet," says Dunberg. "We pray that God will hold His hand over these containers that go through the Suez Canal," he says.

These shipments do more than help the people physically, says Dunberg. He says as Global Action is able to meet needs with medical equipment, artificial limbs, medicine and other relief, people begin asking questions.

He says one man who received an artificial limb illustrates that. "He started to inquire about the God who had provided the limb. Suddenly there was a tremendous opportunity to present the Gospel. Here he had a new leg and crutches, and he found out about Jesus."

While the shipments have made it through okay, Dunberg is concerned about increasing costs for shipping. "Just to ship one container from A to B, to go through all the customs clearances, is about $19,500. Anyone can take $100 of that, or even $1,000 to help us move these containers along. We're moving three or four containers every month."

Global Action is working in 75 countries today, partnering with dozens of organizations to help provide everything from hospital equipment to schools supplies.

You can help Global Action and the compassion ministry. Just click here to get connected.

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