Something to smile about in Myanmar

By August 12, 2015
(Photo courtesy Partners Relief and Development)

(Photo courtesy Partners Relief and Development)

Myanmar (PRD/MNN) — A picture is worth a thousand words.

Despite mud, rain, flooding, and landslides, a smile was found. It was spotted by a member of the Partners Relief and Development team as they were responding to a grim situation.   The team member captured a a smiling Rohingya boy standing beside homes destroyed by Cyclone Komen.  He was wearing one of the “I am loved and not forgotten” t-shirts that their relief teams distributed in the refugee camps near Sittwe more than a year ago.

It was timely. It was hopeful. It was needed. It was a reminder that a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name makes a difference. Here’s why: floods from a heavy monsoon season have cut through swaths of South and Southeast Asia in recent weeks, claiming lives and displacing millions.

Children are always amongst the most vulnerable following a devastating natural disaster. Save the Children estimates that up to 80,000 children are in need of urgent assistance for basic survival.

(Photo courtesy Partners Relief and Development)

(Photo courtesy Partners Relief and Development)

Of the countries experiencing the unusual monsoon, Myanmar has seemingly been hit the worst. Partners Relief and Development says on top of everything else, Cyclone Komen swept through a refugee camp, adding to the misery there. Additionally, floods have inundated more than 1 million acres of farmland, damaging crops, and disrupting the planting season, and it hasn’t stopped raining yet.

You may have seen headlines about the Red Cross and other countries responding with aid. However, Partners Relief and Development reminds us that the Rohingya communities probably won’t get much help from the local government given the state of exile they already live in. In fact, Partners was the first relief organization present to respond to the immediate needs of the families and lives affected. The team distributed 27,950 kgs (about 61,619 pounds) of rice to over a thousand families.

(Photo courtesy Partners Relief and Development)

(Photo courtesy Partners Relief and Development)

In addition to the food, the team provided bamboo poles and 3,300 sections of roofing leaves to help rebuild homes. They have also organized even more rice, tarpaulins, and building materials to be distributed over the next few days.

The ministry’s flood response is ongoing, and they are sending out even more relief team members to reach other flood affected areas in Myanmar that outside help still hasn’t reached yet.

Why does it matters? People are often attracted to the Christian community when those Christians live out the message of Jesus of a kingdom of justice and reconciliation. The Church is not merely an institution or organization but communities of Jesus that embody the values of the kingdom. Their teams show the love of God in Christ through actions and are ready to answer the questions about their motivation for action by pointing all who ask to Jesus and the Kingdom He proclaimed.

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