Monday, January 10, 2005
At the same time, though, evangelical groups active in Asia, including the Southern Baptists' International Mission Board, Gospel for Asia, and the Christian and Missionary Alliance, say the Bible always impels them to create converts to the faith.
"This [disaster] is one of the greatest opportunities God has given us to share his love with people," said K.P. Yohannan, president of the Texas-based Gospel for Asia. In an interview, Yohannan said his 14,500 "native missionaries" in India, Sri Lanka, and the Andaman Islands are giving survivors Bibles and booklets about "how to find hope in this time through the word of God."
In Krabi, Thailand, a Southern Baptist church had been "praying for a way to make inroads" with a particular ethnic group of fisherman, according to Southern Baptist relief coordinator Pat Julian. Then came the tsunami, "a phenomenal opportunity" to provide ministry and care, Julian told the Baptist Press news service.
In Andhra Pradesh, India, a plan is developing to build "Christian communities" to replace destroyed seashore villages. In a dispatch that the evangelical group Focus on the Family posted on its Family.org Web site, James Rebbavarapu of India Christian Ministries said a team of U.S. engineers had agreed to help design villages of up to 400 homes each, "with a church building in the center of them."