From the outside, the situation for Burmese refugees settled in Mae Sot, Thailand can look quite hopeless.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced from their homes in Myanmar, fleeing the brutal violence that has been occuring between several warring militias in the country for several decades now. Many of these families have settled in landfills and dumps, building "homes" using whatever salvagable items that they can, and collecting recyclables to sell for pennies. Hunger and disease run rampant.
On top of that, the area that these camps are in sustains monsoon-level rainfall almost every year, which often damages the meager homes and destroys what few crops had been growing. But, by the grace of God and thanks to your partnership, there is hope.
Following the monsoon rains, one of the areas that IDES works in was severely flooded, affecting 8 villages. Our local mission partner in the area recognized the desperate needs of the families settled in the villages and developed a response plan.
"We were warmly welcomed and facilitated by the mayor and headmen from the 8 villages. We are very blessed to get to know these local leaders who were helping the victims tirelessly days and nights," our partner reported. "The next day, after all relief supplies were purchased, they brought us by 5 trucks to the villages to distribute the sustenance. Some are 1/2 hour away while some are 2 hours from the city. We spent 3 days [to deliver] all supplies to each village. As usual, wherever we reach, we shared the Good News of Jesus Christ to the suffering people."
Thanks to your generosity, our partners were just in time. One of the villages completely lost their primary harvest to the floods, which would have directly caused hunger and malnutrition in the weeks following.
"At one village, we met a late-middle age woman who [was in disbelief] after all her crops were destroyed by the floods. She was in severe depression and said to her friends that she wanted to commit suicide," our partner reported.
"Our farm has been lost for 3 years. Last year and the year before, the drought made farming impossible. We didn't even have drinking water. I was so glad that this year the rainfall came early in May, but then came the floods that have destroyed all the crops in a night!" the distraught woman expressed to our partner.
"I was shocked to hear this. But then I started to realize that for the farmers, all they have is their farm--when their farm is gone, everything is gone including their hope. I encouraged her as well as others that they are not alone...I affirmed them that there are many Christian friends praying for them with much love and concern," our partner said.
With IDES' financial support, our partner distributed rice and other basic necessities to each family, including the distraught woman mentioned above. The food and necessities bridged the gap in their harvest that the flood damage had left. Not only was this woman's life saved, but also man other families in all 8 villages who benefited from the distribution.
"I can't be more grateful and honored that IDES allows me to bring the light of God to those who are hopeless. In Matthew 5.16 says, 'In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.' One of the local leaders said that even the government cannot do what we did that day. Praise God!" our partner said.
Every project IDES completes is centered upon creating opportunities to share the love of Jesus Christ. By meeting physical needs, the door is opened to meet spiritual needs.
Thank you for your generous and faithful support. Your partnership with IDES literally saves lives, and souls.