ANDERSON — Representatives of the Church of God in Myanmar met with Dr. Paul Maxfield, executive director of Children of Promise, in Manila to receive the funds raised through the collaborative efforts of Church of God Ministries, Children of Promise, and Women of the Church of God. The donations of individuals and churches allowed for $70,000 to be given to help the church in Myanmar begin to recover from the devastating effects of Cyclone Nargis.

Of that, $50,000 is earmarked to make repairs to the church buildings and provide food, water and shelter for church families and others in their communities. The remaining $20,000 is specifically for families of the Children of Promise program, to assist them in rebuilding their homes and obtaining any aid that they need.

The church in Myanmar is eager to begin distributing assistance and rebuilding as soon as possible, utilizing the help provided by the Church of God in North America.

Church leaders expressed heartfelt thanks to those in North America who lent support, care and assistance.

“There are no words to describe the depth of thanks we have,” one leader said. “Thank you so much for caring for us. We are so comforted by your love and actions.”

The money provided to the church leaders is timely and needed. Speaking about other relief efforts in Myanmar, one church leader said, “Some local aid is being distributed in outlying areas, but not a lot of foreign aid is getting to the people.” The church leader went on to report that people could not afford to purchase gasoline because of the high prices. And because gasoline is so expensive, the church is unable to bus people in for church, so the workers are going out to the people and conducting services in homes.

Food staples have doubled in price; this includes rice, which is eaten three times a day. Cooking oil is now $20 per two-liter bottle. One of the pastors said, “More than 100,000 people lost their lives in the cyclone. Myanmar has never experienced a cyclone like this in the last 40 years.”

Despite regular interference, the church is growing in Myanmar. The cyclone has, some say, served as an impetus to strengthen their resolve to preach the gospel and make disciples. Church members are referring to Cyclone Nargis as “The Blessed Storm,” because unexpected blessings emerged from the aftermath of the storm. Pastors, congregation members and Bible school students helped clear streets of debris and assisted families with their needs; as a result Christians were able to befriend their Buddhist neighbors. From that point on, non-Christian people have been willing to go to the church for assistance.

The church leaders asked for prayer for God to open the hearts of people to the Christ of Christianity, to rebuild the church, and that people will be released to live in freedom. The Burmese were also bracing for another round of torrential rains predicted for Thursday or Friday of this week.

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