Disaster Response Committee
Newsletter June 11th. 2008
Our relief team, made up of Pastor Calab Paw. Ministerial Association Secretary, Brother Nelson Hla Pe. Retired worker, Brother Jolly. Union Driver and Gavin Johns. Relief and Resettlement Committee Secretary left Yangon for Bogalay on June 4 and arrived Aung Gone, the nearest village on June 7 at about 3am in the morning. We had about two hours of sleep and then woke-up to go to church. Every Sabbath morning, the members gather at about six A.M to attend morning worship at the church. Later they invited us to attend a thanksgiving and house dedication service in the village. We are told there was another thanksgiving after the church and were invited to attend that service also.
Though we were requested to give an encouragement talk during these services, actually, we were blessed to attend those gatherings. Just to think that these people, even though they had gone through such difficulties and bad experiences could praise and thank GOD for HIS blessings and celebrate with friends.
Due to the donation from a local NGO, Myitha Foundation, we were able to distribute some rice, cooking oil, chilies to all the villagers. The Myanmar Bible Society helped us to freely distribute Bibles in the Karen language to the church members, of which they were very grateful to receive. We received one hundred Dignity kits and twenty Child Delivery Kits from the UNFPA which was distributed among the women as needed. The church was able to provide the farmers from Aung Gone with a hand tractor and two barrels of Diesel to plant the new crops and this is a great help for them to survival for the next season. Altogether, we were able to assist 1023 households.
Our next plan is to get seeds for the farmers and provide them with sufficient safe drinking water and uniforms for the students attending school. The students are still in need of books and stationeries and we are negotiating for these items.
Our team returned on June 11 and it was a blessed trip for us to witness the faith and graduate of these people as they praised and thanked the LORD for HIS goodness and mercy. Altogether, we were invited to three thanksgiving services. Due to the monsoons, our travel between the villages and to Bogalay was a little scary but GOD was good and gave us HIS traveling mercies.
According to the latest update we have received, the causality among our church members has risen to 53 persons. People are still suffering from the aftereffects of the storm and the loss they have experienced. People have lost their plantations. Many of the villagers have coconuts trees plantations but today most of the trees are all flat on the ground or just bare and leafless. Due to the strong breeze, the coconuts treetops are scorched and will not be fruiting for some years even if they will someday. Most of the villagers have lost their source of income.
One of our greatest needs today is funds to rebuild our churches. We have lost about thirty village churches and two city churches in the Yangon area. The city churches have been built from previous times and now they are in need of reconstruction due to the affects of Nargis. One city church is in Alone township and was built in the 1950s by Pastor Wyman. This church has produced many talented workers for the mission and has a prominent place in the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church history.
Another city church is the Twanta church and it was built in the 1970s. There are a lot of members worshiping there and this church was very recently remolded. But now, because of Nargis the church has been destroyed and is in need of reconstruction. We are in need of special donations for the reconstruction of these churches and look forward to your generosity as GOD speaks to your heart.
Auk Sike Kwin Church
The Auk Sike Kwin church is located at the Auk Sike Kwin village and is one of the miracles of GOD’S saving power during the Nargis Cyclone. This church was built in the 1970s and is a wooden one-story building. In 1990 this church was dismantled and shifted to another area and within the next two months it was reestablished at the Auk Sike Kwin village again. From that time onwards this church was located in its old place and as the years went by, though it was getting old. It was still serving it purpose well.
During the Nargis cyclone, as the wind the rain came in, the surrounding structures nearby gave into the strong wind and lost their roofing and sidewalls. On our way passing through to the church, we could still see the roofing sheets hanging from the surrounding trees.
As we got close to the church, we came across a wooden church about four feet above the ground, moved about four feet away from its original position. The church was still standing upright and the people are still using it for their worship too. It was marvelous to see the church standing on it’s feet, upright on the ground, strong and firm, about four feet away from it’s original position, still impact and useable for worship. GOD is good, all the time! Praise HIS Name.
If In need of further information
Muller Kyaw (Union President)
Gavin Johns (Director, Philanthropic)