Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Real Disaster


"... Jesus stopped..." Luke 18:40

This morning I read this passage of scripture in two separate places. It was my Bible reading for the day (Open Windows) as well as "Day 16" in the latest devotional from Joni Erickson Tada. You may never have noticed the importance of those two words in the midst of the passage where the blind beggar is crying out to Jesus for mercy from the street. I know I didn't.

Every day the news of the deaths in Myanmar from the Cyclone and now in China from the earthquake grow by the thousands. The United Nations has suspected the true number of deaths from the cyclone could top the 2004 deaths of the tsunami (over 200,000) and the tragedy in China (15,000 confirmed dead) continues to grow as whole cities and villages near the epicenter have been buried under the mountains in avalanches.

I imagine the survivors are all crying out for mercy. We are crying out for mercy. Those who have friends, relatives in the area, those who know mission workers who have planted seeds for the harvest are all crying out "Lord have mercy!"

"Jesus stopped..."

I know our Lord is listening now - He is listening always. And as we believers ask for "mercy" for the victims in these unparalleled disasters do we hear Him asking "What do you want me to do for you?" In human terms, our desire is to see rescue, recovery, victims attended to within a time frame that will make their survival possible. We ask for help, for compassion, for ease in government restrictions, we ask for aid workers to be able to enter the country and save lives. We ask for more heavy machinery to lift the thousands of pounds of concrete off those trapped in collapsed buildings. Our heart breaks across the seas with the parents standing helplessly by in front of school buildings where their children are buried without knowing if they are injured, alive, or dead - all crying out for mercy.

But are we asking Him for their souls?

Just a few days after I returned from the Warrior Retreat I received an email request from Pastor Benhur in Nellore, India:

Dear Sister Charlyn,
We are praying for your ministry and for your family. We are Praying God to bless us to be a Partner with your ministry for the Glory of God, as children having holidays,we are planing to conduct special programs to children. Please pray and plan to be a Partner for those programs. I attached some pictures of our ministry in this e mail,please see my next e mail to see only children programs of us.

"Those who desire harvest of souls must shed tears for souls"
Your Brother in Christ's love, Pastor.Benhur, Lone Star Church Nellore

Honestly, I was exhausted and really couldn't think of "leaving on a jet plane". But the Pastor persisted, and about every two days he would send another email with more pictures of the lost, the broken-hearted, the lepers we visited in October. Each email ended "we are praying for your arrival."

The Lord moved the mountain of exhaustion in my heart and I knew I had to go and join in this work. I will be leaving next Tuesday returning at the end of the month. After my plane ticket was purchased and all the plans were put in place, the storm hit the shores of Myanmar. As the death toll was rising and my heart was crying out for mercy - my thoughts went to the loss of the lost. How many of the victims had never heard the Word of God. How many died without hope. There is a reason the government is controlling the incoming foreigners. The greatest "aid" is given through Christian NGO's who not only bring in fresh water, food, shelter and clothing as relief they, also bring His hope.

I will never forget the words of my dear Christian brother Amila while I was Sri Lanka. We had just seen some of the worst devastation, the loss of life and the absolute destruction was overwhelming. But Amila (who had traveled all across the region immediately after the tsunami and had witnessed thousands upon thousands of bodies being piled up and burned) said "Sister Charlynn, this tsunami caused outward destruction, but it also brought in a tidal wave of the Gospel. Where the government had kept out God's Word for years, aid workers came in and offered not just temporary help, but gave us an eternal solution for such a time as this."

"Jesus stopped..."

As you ask for mercy remember to ask for missionaries.

In His service always
Charlynn


Sunshine After Rain Ministries is totally dependent upon individuals for support of this global work. Contributions not only cover the direct expenses of travel, in-country costs and expenditures, the generous financial gifts we receive enable us to fund immediate needs in the areas we visit (for example the food supplied to cyclone victims in Nellore, medical supplies for the leper colonies as well as humanitarian aid to orphans across the globe).

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