Seventh-day Adventist Church (Myanmar)
Disaster Response Committee
May 28th. 2008
The Nargas cyclone hit Myanmar on the noon of May 2nd. 2008 and had left a trail of effects that will take much time to erase from the memory of the people of Myanmar. People have lost their homes, loved ones and everything that could be named after them. They are left destitute, lonely, frightened and with not future of their own. In just one night the rich and poor, the high and the lowly, were all made of no distinction.
The Nargas cyclone has left about 77,700 people dead, another 55,900 missing with no trace of their whereabouts, about 110,000 displaced people at the various settlement camps. The total effected population is about 2.5 millions. The United Nations has only been able to assist about a quarter of these destitute and homeless people.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has not been able to cope with the damage caused among it’s church members also. Within the two effected regions, Yangon and Ayeyarwaddy, about 2500 church members, 650 households have been effected. The death roll has reached 36 now. Nearly forty children are left orphans. Schools are opening next week and they have no prospect of attending school this year. The monsoons has already started and people have no shelter to protect themselves from the rains. With the rains the rice planting season starts and where are they going to get the needed seeds for the new crops? The Seventh-day Adventist Church has a great challenge to assist her members to survive and have a normal life in the future.
A Disaster Response Committee was formed under the leadership of the Union President as the chairman, with the responsibility to plan on the relief and resettlement for the effected church members of the Ayeyarwaddy and Yangon area. The committee is made up of the following members:
Muller Kyaw (chairman)
Gavin Johns (Secretary)
Htwe Lay (Member)
Shine Tha —ditto—
Khin Maung Lwin —ditto—
Maung Maung Htay —ditto—
After forming the disaster response committee, on the very next day (May 22, 2008), the chairman and some members left for Bogalay, one of the heavily damaged areas. They were accompanied with 500 blankets, 300 grass mats, 150 mosquito nets, 70 cans of cooking oil and two large boxes of water purification tablets to be distributed among the church members. These items were donated by a local NGO called Myitha Foundation. Though it was raining heavy, the relief response group left home with the items for distribution. On arrival at the site, the relief response group traveled to Aung Gone, Auksukwin, Kyaing Chaung and Aseagyi villages and meet with the church members there. As the group saw the disaster and needs of the villagers they could not help but distribute the relief items to every villager either member of not. In addition to the above mentioned items 12,500 KG of rice was purchased at the cost of 3977USD and distributed among the villagers. The total beneficiaries on this trip are 1,500 persons and this includes 983 non-Adventist. Most of the beneficiaries were not Seventh-day Adventist but they were so glad to receive assistance from the Adventist church. Most of the church groups were only concerned about their members but when the Adventist church showed their concern for all the affected ones this broke down all barriers and healed the gap that existed previous to this Nargis cyclone hitting Myanmar.
The church at Aung Gone was very old and collapsed during the storm but the school-building donated by Mr. G. McNeilus came to be know as “Noah’s Ark” after this accident. All the houses and churches were destroyed during this storm and tidal waves rising up to about 15 feet in some places, but this school-building was able to withstand the winds and waves. The whole village was able to find shelter from the storm. Everybody had to admit that GOD was great.
Auksukwin village experienced another miracle. As the wind was blowing at it’s strongest the Adventist church was carried away, and landed upright, in it’s original position about eight feet away . The members are still using this church for their worship service. GOD has proved HIMSELF so that even nonbelievers have been convinced of the power of GOD.
On the 26th of May, the church Health Department Director, Dr. Htwe Lay accompanied a medical team composed of three professors and eight post graduate students from the School of Public Health, under the national Ministry of Health, and left for Myaung Mya and Laputa to provide relief and disease prevention among the cyclone victims. They plan to stay there for a week and return to Yangon.
The Miracle Bible
Saw Robert and his family lived at the Phena Gone village and attend church there. On the 2nd of May they had their morning devotion and after their devotion, Saw Robert kept the bible he had used for the devotion on top of the book shelf. Actually this was his son’s bible that they had used this morning.
Later that day as the wind became stronger and the tidal waves came in Saw Robert and the family became concerned for their safety. Very soon their kitchen collapsed and they were forced to take shelter in the house church near by. As the storm subsided and they were able to return to their house, they found their house flat on the ground. The wind and the tidal waves had flatten their house. Now they were only able to seek and save the little that was left after the heavy rain and the flood of eight feet in height. But actually, there was not much to save. All of a sudden, Saw Robert came across the bible that they used that morning for their devotion and noticed as he held it in his hand that it was dry and clean as he had left it on the book shelf that day. It was a worn out and well used bible with no zipper or anything to protect it. But GOD had protected it for HIS glory. The bible had not only withstood the heavy rain and wind but a flood of water eight feet high.
If GOD could preserve HIS bible do we have anything to be afraid of in life? GOD had proven HIMSELF to mankind.
If In need of further information – Please contact:
Muller Kyaw (Union President)
Gavin Johns (Director, Philanthropic)
To send a email to either of the above two men, please put the “@” sign where you see the long space.