More than 75,000 men, women, and children were killed when a killer cyclone flattened parts of Myanmar on May 2 with more than 55,000 still missing and presumed dead. Another series of devastating earthquakes demolished parts of China less than two weeks later, killing more than 70,000. Almost 20,000 are still missing and presumed dead. Thousands upon thousands of others have been left homeless and injured while experiencing unrelenting grief because of the death of family members. In addition to the human losses, both countries have experienced loss of agricultural fields, factories, highways, schools, and churches. And yet somehow the survivors find reason to move forward in spite of their losses.
I’m writing this just a few days after returning from China as I feel sorrow and anguish because of the challenges these people face. While in China I listened to religious leaders explain the large numbers of places of worship that have been either totally destroyed or made unsafe for worship. Fortunately, both countries are receiving aid from governments and various nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and perhaps you are involved through your church’s development or disaster organization in assisting the relief efforts. However, most of these governments or organizations will be addressing health, transportation, housing, and school needs. While there, I observed that the people in China continue to respond from their hearts to help the victims—in several of the cities I saw collection boxes for donations.
As my wife and I were returning to the United States, we had many hours to think about what happened in those two countries. Besides the personal losses, we grieved as we thought about the many houses of worship that have been demolished and the people who desperately want to again gather to worship their Lord. As we discussed the situation there, my wife and I felt that we must do something, personally, for the rebuilding of these churches. As we discussed the specific amount of our donation, I asked myself, Is there not something that the readers of Ministry, including pastors, professors, chaplains, or priests, would be willing to do either personally or corporately or both? You know, of course, that we do not, as a rule, participate in any major fund-raising efforts initiated through the journal. But these two events are extraordinary, and I am asking you to consider helping out either individually or from your organization. Surely our readers around the world will simultaneously share the blessings they have received from God to help rebuild these countless destroyed churches.
The entire Ministry publishing editorial team has, grateful for the opportunity, promised to participate—and we invite you to join us. Will you talk to your church, hospital, seminary, parish, conference, diocese, whatever organization you are affiliated with, and ask what you and they can do to help our brothers and sisters in those two countries? In China, church buildings become worship places for several congregations representing various denominational persuasions. All funds that are received will be distributed there by the appropriate channels so that what you give will bless many. These donations will be used in China and Myanmar for the rebuilding of worship sites. One hundred percent of the funds will go there with no funds held back for fund-raising costs or processing, and we will let you know, through Ministry, just how much we will be able to share with these two countries.
When Jesus comes, He will say, “ ‘ “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you. . . .” ’ ” (Matt. 25:34, NIV). As we share that heavenly inheritance now with those who are anxious to again worship Him in an appointed church building, we figuratively put our funds in the hands of our Savior, Jesus Christ who has the power to multiply our gift again and again.
So, instead of just watching the news reports and thinking of how badly we feel about the devastation, let’s do something concrete about it. Won’t you join us?
To make a contribution for the rebuilding of churches in Myanmar and China, please (1) use the enclosed envelope, or (2) send to:
Ministry, International Journal for Pastors
Attn: Myanmar and China Church Rebuilding
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600 USA
A tax-deductible receipt will be returned to you.
If you have any questions, please contact me via email at [email protected], by phone at +1 301-680-6507, or by fax at +1 301-680-6502.