Evangelical Christians have been urged to keep up their efforts to support relief work in the areas of China and Myanmar ravaged by recent natural disasters.
The comments came yesterday from Rev Joel Edwards, General Director of the Evangelical Alliance.
He said: “We need to pray and give, give, give to organisations that can help the afflicted. I have been so impressed by the response from Christians who have given to organisations such as Tearfund, World Vision, Samaritan’s Purse, Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), HCJB Global Voice and Trans World Radio, as well as the work of the organisations themselves.”
He added, “Prayer for China is critical at this time. The country’s recent three days of national mourning for the dead of the Sichuan earthquake gave the world the opportunity to stand together with them in their pain and we pray there will be continued openness to relief agencies.”
Dr Geoff Tunnicliffe, International Director of World Evangelical Alliance, has been in contact with leaders of the Myanmar Evangelical Christian Fellowship. He said, “I have assured our Christian brothers and sisters, who have been directly impacted by the May 3 cyclone, that we will stand with them.”
Evangelical relief agency Tearfund, in common with World Vision, is a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), a body of 13 member agencies that provide humanitarian aid in times of disaster. Currently, apart from the Red Cross movement, the DEC member charities have a modest humanitarian capacity in China. Donors are therefore being encouraged to give to the British Red Cross direct.
On a more hopeful note the DEC has raised over £8 million from its Myanmar Appeal.
On the ground Tearfund estimates that more than 55,000 survivors of the Myanmar cyclone are receiving aid from the charity’s Christian partners and could reach more if donations continue to flow in.
Samaritan’s Purse, another member organisation of the Evangelical Alliance, recently received permission to begin flying relief supplies into Myanmar. MAF’s Asia Regional Director has also just been granted a visa to enter the country.
In contrast, while many are struggling to get on the ground in Myanmar and China, HCJB Global Voice has been reaching Christians in both countries via short-wave radio. In a similar vein Trans World Radio has produced special radio programmes offering critically needed health and social care information to those afflicted in Myanmar.
Edwards concluded: “At times like this it is so encouraging to see two member organisations of the Evangelical Alliance on the DEC and to hear stories about so many more who are doing such great work.”