From December 2015 to late this Spring 2016, rain fell on the low-lying jungle lands of Southwest China and Myanmar. The areas in which rainfall was heaviest happened to be where thousands of refugee families have settled in the past, fleeing the warring Burmese militia and terrorist groups.
"The older Lisu people said that they have not seen this kind of rain. It rained so long...The rain has hit the area every day for over three months. Finally the mountains and hills burst out, dirt, stone, rock came out first and then followed by mud and water. Some is about the size of the house. Some houses were completely wiped out. Many houses, and over 20 Church buildings were destroyed," reported our partner mission in the area.
On the Southwest China side of the border, a massive landslide was triggered which destroyed countless homes, make-shift shelters, and field-crops.
"We thank God that there were not many people that got killed. Thanks to God for His protection," our partner said. "At one place there was a Church building and the house that were washed away. I asked the villagers if the people inside got killed. They said the people were safe. It happened when the whole family was up hill visiting neighbors, but when they came back the house was no more."
This particular area was first reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ in 1912, but many believers there were persecuted in the decades following. It is reported that there are now over 700 physical church buildings, and many hundred more church families meeting in homes throughout the region; however, within miles of these churches are entire tribes that have not heard or responded to the Gospel.
Following the landslide and terrible flooding, IDES' was blessed with the opportunity to provide funding for rice, cooking oil, Bibles, and hymn books to be distributed by our partners to many of the families affected. During the time immediately following a disaster, if followers of Jesus are there and present to meet their physical needs, people are much more likely to respond positively to the Gospel message.
"We are happy that in time of pressure from out side our evangelist friends are not only giving rice, and cooking oil but they are giving spiritual food with true love. Bibles to read for knowledge and Hymns to sing praise to God...We went to pray for sick people. We encouraged those who lost family members. We also rejoiced with the family that came to Christ in Fugong. We rejoice [even more] with the 300 Lamae people who opened their hearts to the Gospel. The Lamae people are one of the toughest people for sharing the Gospel. Helping the victims of disaster is a step towards help the spreading of the Gospel. I am blessed to work with brave people of the Lord who seek to the lost all the times. I praise God for people who love the Lord and dare to go beyond the limited to share the Gospel," our partner shared.
Our mission partners stayed at the distribution point until late into the night due to families traveling in by foot from the flooded areas. Please continue to pray for the Good News of Jesus to be accepted among the families who are suffering due to these disasters. And, please continue to pray for our mission partners as they bravely and generously reach out and serve their communities. These are the stories that you are writing by partnering with IDES.