Late last summer, the seasonal monsoon rains that sweep through India each year caused major flooding in many of the villages in which IDES' partners are ministering.
The country was still recovering from the unexpected drought that had lasted several months before the rains hit. Due to the soil being too dry to soak up the water, flash flooding occurred quickly.
On top of this, there had recently been road construction near one of the villages, but proper drainage was not installed in the roadway. The rain water backed up into the village, destroying several homes and grain-storage buildings.
"Even the church building, the strongest and best structure in the village, had nearly three feet of water inside of it," our partner in India reported. "All of these brothers are poor farmers who rely on crops to survive and to sell to send their children to school."
The families in this village, many of whom have committed their lives to following Jesus, lost their main sources of food and income due to the flooding. To make matters worse, the area in which this congregation is located has recently experienced a spike in persecution against Christians.
"It is humbling and at the same time encouraging to see my Christian brethren in India faithful in spite of so many hardships. The number of reported incidents is certainly low, as many instances go unreported," our partner said.
The double-burdened situation in the region was discouraging. Many families were losing hope, believing that perhaps God was punishing them.
"Some of the brothers asked if this devastation was evidence that God is unhappy with them," our partner said. "This provided an opportunity to teach from the story of Joseph, and other incidents from the Bible, how God uses difficulties to bring glory to Himself and how Jesus can bring blessings out of hardships. The message was a real encouragement to the church and gave them hope again."
Once the flood waters receded, the local church opened its doors to families who had sustained damage to their homes. Others moved into nearby abandoned warehouses as a temporary solution.
Thanks to your generous partnership, IDES provided funding to our mission partner in the area to assist in rebuilding and repairing these families' homes, as well as the local church meeting place. This assistance gave our partner the opportunity to encourage those affected within the congregation, and to show Christ's love to those affected who were not in the congregation.
"While each of these unfortunate events brings hardship on non-Christian and Christian alike, they also afford an opportunity to express Jesus’ love," our partner said. "I am always thankful for such a compassionate group of people at IDES who so often make it possible for us to minister during times of tragedy."