Sunday, July 13, 2008

Local church leaders help rebuild

China Quake Aftermath:Sichuan Province Refugee Camp
Cyclone Nargis Aftermath:Myanmar Irrawadi Delta Refugee Camp
Asia-Christian leaders in China and Myanmar plan to help with long-term rebuilding after the recent natural disasters, and Partners International is committed to supporting them."Our desire as Partners International is to help brothers and sisters in Christ who are already reaching their neighbors long before these disasters occurred, and helping them to strengthen their outreach and ministries in practical ways," said Howard Amland, Vice President, Resource Partners, of Partners International.Thousands died, and millions lost their homes in the 8.0-magnitude earthquake in Sichuan Province, China on May 12. Cyclone Nargis left 50,000 dead and hundreds of thousands homeless in Southern Myanmar on May 2-3. It also wiped out the rice harvest in the Irrawaddy Delta, a region that was poor even before the cyclone, and destroyed the fishing boats."A long-term presence is needed in order to...rebuild those communities into viable places in which to live and work,"Amland said."In farming communities and fishing communities, individuals can't really make a living right now.Entire areas...won't be able to be replanted for quite some time to come."Ministry partners are building houses and providing basic necessities like plates, bowls, and shoes in Burma.In China, its partners are helping with construction projects, counseling, caring for orphans and the elderly, and developing micro-enterprise projects.Partners International works with about 100 ministry partners, primarily in the 10/40 window.Many of these partners live in economically-depressed areas and must rely on outside assistance to grow their ministries."Many of our partners, particularly in the difficult areas, they're just doing ministry: they're reaching the lost, which is very admirable," Amland said. "But in order for them to grow beyond those initial beginnings and one-to-one ministry, they'll need resources and training in how to better communicate, particularly with the Western world."Ministry partners also receive biblical training and mentoring in stewardship and board governance. In China, they are involved in church planting, theological training, poverty relief, and reaching unreached people groups. Ministry partners in Myanmar have been involved in church planting, leadership training, youth centers, orphanages, child sponsorship, drug rehabilitation, and training local missionaries.Servant partnership, Amland says,"is partnership done in the spirit of our Lord's agape love, not to seek fulfillment or personal satisfaction.It's done with the primary desire to help accomplish the objectives and fulfill the vision of the other partner.""Those of us who have the privilege of living in the resource-rich area of the West need to reach out to our brothers and sisters in the non-western world who have opportunity-rich situations."
Pray that God will strengthen His church in Myanmar and Sichuan Province.
As in the days of Noah...

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