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Please Bless China's Earthquake Victims…

A Special Report by David Wang, 26 May 2008

Sichuan Earthquake & Our Response

Two weeks.

It’s now two weeks after the Sichuan earthquake shook, and moved, the world. The  vital facts are:

· Death toll: 65,080; expected to reach 80,000 and more
· Wounded: 360,058
· Still Missing: 23,150
· Homeless/Displaced: 15 million

The world also felt the pain and the grief. Of the tens of thousands of child fatalities, almost all were the only child of their families.

The world was somewhat enthused that there were some positive changes:

· Within hours, Beijing’s highest officials arrived at the scene
· Over 130,000 Chinese soldiers reached the worst affected within two days
· 30 billion yuan in donations and goods were raised, mostly from within China
· China took the initiative to call for help from around the world
· International aid and relief personnel were actually welcome
· The media was given practically uninhibited access to report

We at Asian Outreach joined China’s three day national mourning; we fasted and prayed. We gave money. Our China team converged in Sichuan within 24 hours to join the front-line efforts. We urged key house church leadersin China to mobilize prayers, resources, and personnel. The Wenzhou house church gave one and a half million yuan as an immediate relief fund.Because our ActionLove is recognized in China, and with good relationships with Beijing, our teams were quickly granted access even to restricted areas. We were assigned the task of disinfecting and burying bodies to avoid an epidemic. We were on the ground to distribute food, water, tents, radios, and torches. We also spoke words of comfort to the families. I am so proud of China’s Third Church leaders. Nearly 30 medical personnel, quite a few my M-Div and D-Min students, were at the scene within 24 hours. They served alongside Chinese soldiers. Many lives were saved. In one village the team found six pregnant women who were about to deliver their babies. Together with the local hospital’s nursing team they were able to help.

Friends of Asian Outreach around the world were concerned. They asked about the safety of our Sichuan teams; and they offered help. For me, this is a most pivotal phase: “How do we respond from now on?” The new, urban Third Church of China relies on us to lead them in this – their very own – Great Commission & Great Commandment opportunity. Together with them, we are now starting a step by step “Sichuan Recovery.” It is to be executived according to our long established four-point China Ministry Modus Operandi.

1. Long-Term: Even in a natural disaster of this magnitude, besides immediate relief efforts, we must still aim for the long-term. Our emphasis is always “the nationals,” and “on the ground.” A number of long term projects are now in place.

For the first time, Beijing is appealing forinternational help to provide post-trauma counseling for the millions of victims. Asian Outreach is now sending an immediate team of counselors to Sichuan. But starting from June, together with the urban house churches, we are training 65 young Christian professionals in “Community & Family Counseling.” Our aim is that some will locate to Sichuan even during their training to start serving alongside the recovery process. All the trainees are already engaged in church planting and Christian ministry. Originally, this training is a two year program. We are now in discussion with our local partners to fast-track it to meet China’s greatest and most urgent need for counselors.

2. Strategic: Over the years we have built a strong relationship with the house church leadership of Sichuan, particularly with the urbane, young, professionals and business people there. We are now serving them to officially be incorporated into government efforts in the rebuilding process. The Sichuan Church will play host to the various Christian efforts from China’s other cities. Thus far an alliance of 12 cities is established under the banner “China Christians’ ActionLove.” This sort of combined effort from China’s house church Christians is a first-ever! The team is determined to “Be a Difference, and Make a Difference.” Their aim is to introduce strong Christian community elements with every new rebuilding project. “Our prayers are in every new built village and town, there will be a positive Christian presence and influence!”

3. Leveraging: Beijing has pledged billions to rebuild Sichuan. Both international and national aid organizations have done so as well. Orphans from the quake are already provided for, and education guaranteed. Likewise, support for the elderly is also pledged by the government. Therefore, a high official shared with us, “It’s not so much your money, orthe physical reconstruction. You must leverage with what we government do with your specialty.”

“Our specialty?”

“Yes! Your specialty is of course love in heart and love in action!”

We are test-casing a “Community & Family Harmony Centre” in two Chinese cities immediately, praying that by 2009 we will be able to prototype these centers into Sichuan’s devastated areas. We aim to establish these Harmony Centres in association with hospitals, schools and local businesses. The Third Church prays that for every re-built village and town, the majority will soon become Christians!

4. Holistic: As China opens up more and more, to give a glass of cold water in China is no longer difficult. It is always very needed — particularly in devastations such as this earthquake. But doing so “in Jesus Name” requires trust, sensitivity, relationships, and in short, wisdom. For the Third Church in China, our efforts in training them on “Biblical Principles in Social Services & Volunteerism” was a most timely effort. Their leaders are now saying, “We are no longer jumping here and there and everywhere, aimlessly trying to meet needs. Rather, we are mobilizing the Whole Church to take the Whole Gospel to the Whole Person. And hopefully soon, even to the Whole World.”

For China’s house church, this is their first time to come out into the open, and to offer their love and services. Our prayer is that we, the outsiders, will join their efforts and also be long term, strategic, leveraging and holistic.

For information about partnering with, or supporting China’s Third Church, Asian Outreach China or its social services arm, ActionLove, please contact:
Facilitators International
P.O. Box 887
Greenwood, IN 46142
or send an E-Mail to Dee Richardson


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