Southern Baptists are making a difference in earthquake hit Pakistan

By December 20, 2005

Pakistan (MNN/BP) — As winter weather threatens compound the tragedy in Pakistan’s earthquake zone, Christians are reaching out with the compassion of Christ.

“Over the past two months, a wonderful partnership between the compassionate giving of Southern Baptists in the U.S. and the sacrificial service of International Mission Board personnel on the ground have resulted in ministry to thousands of displaced Pakistanis and Indians,” said David Garrison, the IMB’s regional leader for South Asia.

“Many of the victims of October’s earthquake are having their first encounter with the Gospel in the person of Southern Baptists bringing the Gospel to life in service to them,” says Garrison.

Officials estimate that the 7.6-magnitude earthquake killed 73,000 people and left about 2.8 million homeless in Pakistan. Another 1,300 people died in India, where 150,000 are homeless.

“There are widows over here who have nobody to take care of them,” says volunteer Jesse Smith, a wheat farmer from Kansas. “That is something the Twelve told us to do, to take care of the widows and orphans. They are here, and they are in need.”

When local Pakistanis lend a hand, Southern Baptists can build temporary homes in a single day.

Volunteer Glenn Davis says, “We are trying to teach them how to build them We use sandbags and fill them with dirt and stack up the walls and then put a tin roof on it.”

Building temporary homes is just one of the many ways Southern Baptists are helping earthquake survivors. Funds provided to IMB are allowing them to distribute literally tons of food, blankets and tents to the survivors. In addition, we’ve been able to send medical teams to remote valleys.

But, there is a huge need still ahead — helping people survive the harsh winter. Many who have been affected and who live in remote villages still have not received help. Without winterized tents, food and blankets, the reality is that many will perish this winter.

Southern Baptists are providing medical care – treating abscessed teeth, tonsillitis, severe kidney stones and other ailments – in villages that have no access to medical facilities. The United Nations reports that a few cold-related deaths from pneumonia and hypothermia already have occurred and more are expected.

With gifts given through the World Hunger Fund, Southern Baptists also are distributing much-needed kitchen sets for families, waterproof tents for school buildings, candles, matches, blankets and shawls. They’re also provide flour, sugar, lentils and other staples.

As Southern Baptists and Christian partners offer physical help, they also have opportunities to extend spiritual help through trauma counseling, According to IMB workers there, victims are searching for understand and realizing that the people who are responding to their needs, treating them with integrity, crying with them and showing them God.

As they distribute supplies people are told Christians do this because of what Christ did for them. Because of the Christmas season, they’re also told the Christmas story. Pray that these doors will remain open.

Leave a Reply