EMERGENCY PRAYER LETTER
Dear Prayer Partners:
Warm greetings in the precious Name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
I am writing this letter from India to give you an update about what is happening here as a result of the tsunami. The Arabian Sea is about 18 miles west from where our Bible College and Children’s Home are located. An area of about 130 miles of coastal area, towards the south where the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea meet, is where the ferocious tidal waves destroyed many homes and swallowed up many lives. Over 10,000 people died along the southern coast.
During the Christmas season, IEM gave vacation time to the children in the Children’s Home, and most of those with parents went home for about 6 days. Some of the children have parents who live in this coastal area. The students were supposed to return on December 30. Several have not yet reported back to the school. Please pray for their safety.
On Sunday morning, January 2, one of the girls, Aswathy, came with her father, Mohan, and told us about their encounter with the tsunami. Mohan is a Hindu. Aswathy shared her family’s experience, and it was an emotional moment for the father, as he turned away in tears. Just a few hours before the tsunami hit, Aswathy wanted to go to the house of her mother’s family, which is about 30 miles interior. A couple hours later the Arabian Sea showed its anger, and waves rolled over into the coastal area and wiped out many of the homes.
While Aswathy and her father were gone, their house collapsed and the mother was trapped underneath. It happened at 12:00 and they finally discovered her at 4:00 in the afternoon with severe injuries to her head and body. She is still in a local hospital but is in stable condition. Aswathy’s younger sister, who is 7 years old, was found on the roof of another house. Presently Mohan is staying at a relief camp, and Aswathy has returned to the Children’s Home.
Yesterday Mohan took us to his village to see where many homes were washed away. Thirty-two people died in their village, and in the area nearby 170 died. At the site of Mohan’s house, there was only a washed-out indentation where the house had once stood. The edge of their house had been about 50 feet from the water. Though there were large rocks piled up at the seaside, the fierce tsunami rolled over the top and struck its woeful blows. A few men who survived in the tragedy gathered as we visited the site. They told us their horrible stories. Their wives and children are still in the hospital. The emotional wounds are deep. One man had received three packages of food for the day, but they were all laying there unopened and uneaten. It is just too much for him to bear. He has no desire to eat.
Mohan’s desire is to build a new home. What IEM would like to do is to help him build a small dwelling place for his family, as well as for other families in his community.
Another day we visited a refugee camp with Arlen Miller and Dr. Rick Phipps and his daughter Julie. The sight was heartbreaking. One cannot leave the area without shedding some tears. The injured had broken limbs and other kinds of physical challenges. We saw hundreds of people sitting on mats on a concrete floor, where they spend the nights without much cover to prevent the cold, hard concrete from chilling their feeble bodies.
Some of the flood victims lost their children. Women lost their husbands. And many men lost their wives and children. One lady shared with tears how the powerful waves rolled over while she was clutching her young child in her arms, but the child was “snatched” from her and was gone. Most were asking the question, “Why were we spared, while our family members were taken?” Some of them said they would have rather died with their children or spouses than to live and suffer what they are now experiencing.
The India Evangelical Mission is preparing to go to many of these crowded shelters and help the survivors with sleeping mats, blankets, sheets, clothing, and food. Some have been wearing the same clothing for a week. Most will be released after their injuries are healed, but they have no place to go. As funds become available, we would like to help build some dwelling places for these destitute people.
We who love the Lord have been given the opportunity to pray for these suffering people and also to help alleviate their suffering by sharing with them our material blessings. While doing this, we will be able to share with them God’s love and His redeeming grace through Jesus Christ.
My wife Mariamma, son Dayan, daughter Sheela, Jan Sieker, Dr. Bob Carpenter, Dr. Richard Imholte, and Ron Leonard arrived safely here today. Please pray for God’s protection and provision, that many souls shall be saved, and that God will be glorified.
Please pray how the Lord would have you be involved in the relief effort. If you wish to contribute, you may earmark your gift “Tsunami.” Please send it to IEM, PO Box 1633, Lakewood, CA, 90716-0633.
May God bless and protect you and watch over you while we enter into the New Year 2005. May His grace abound towards you. We are grateful to you for your prayers and financial support.
God bless you,