In recent weeks we have all been stunned by the most devastating natural disaster in recent history. The very maps of the world have been permanently altered by the impacts.
On December 26, 2004 a massive 9.0 earthquake shook the Indian Ocean and caused a series of tsunamis in southern Asia. The tsunamis devastated the shores of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, and other countries with waves of up to 15 meters (50 feet) high, even reaching as far as Somalia on the east coast of Africa, 4,500 km (2,800 miles) west of the epicenter. Several hundred thousand people are dead or missing and millions have been left homeless.
While the outpouring of aid to those hurting families has been encouraging, many of us have been groping for an appropriate means of personal response. However, there also have been many cautions by the media warning us of scams by those who would exploit heartfelt compassion for their own selfish ends. Our own stewardship demands that we do some homework before making any serious commitments.
The Other Tsunami
But most of us may be unaware of another "tsunami": a spiritual wave that has also been going on in Asia and which also has been touching more lives than most of us can possibly imagine!
A friend of ours, Dr. "K.P." Yohannan, has spent the past 25 years committed to the plight of the people of Asia and the Spirit of God has been moving there in way that echoes the Book of Acts in extremes! His ministry is Gospel For Asia, which has now trained over 14,000 missionaries who are now planting 16 new churches per day!
They also conduct 84 radio broadcasts in 92 languages, reaching an audience of over one billion people, who respond with over 50,000 letters each month. (And we thought we had mail handling challenges!)
The website for Gospel For Asia is http://www.gfa.org/gfa/ and features news updates, archived radio broadcasts and offers a free book that tells the entire story of this dramatic adventure in ministry.
Obviously, there are many avenues to participate in what God is doing there in addition to general relief. One can sponsor a missionary (or "adopt" a specific child) for $30/month. When evaluating alternative targets for any tithes or donations, it is always strategic to look beyond simply "need" - there are more "needs" in the world than we can possibly respond to; look for evidence that God is really in the work. I personally know of no other as conspicuous or as dramatic as this one.
(K.P. has invited me to spend a week teaching at their seminary in India this August; we will, of course, keep you posted.)
In the meantime, checkout their website, add them to your prayer list, and send him some encouragement for me. Can you imagine the challenges that he faces daily?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.