The terrifying cyclone ‘Hadhud’ has rocked the coastline of Andhra Pradesh and Odhisha (in South India) on the 12th October 2014. The mighty winds moving at a speed of 200 kmph rattled many houses, damaged the communication systems and thwarted the power supply in the whole region. To put it in the words of my uncle who lives in Visakhapatnam it is “devastating”. He said “what’s the point of having all the money when you cannot save yourself from something like that?.”
A CHRISTIAN RESPONSE
First of all, we understand that God is in control and this cyclone is no accident. We also understand God, in His Grace, sometimes shakes the very foundations of human pride and causes them to repent of their sin and turn to Jesus Christ, His Son. Now, the question is, what are we as Christians suppose to do when something like this happens?
1) What would Jesus do?
Based on what is written in the Scriptures, we can safely assume that He would preach the Gospel of Repentance (Luke 13:1, 1 Tim 2:4). And then, He would heal the sick and give them something to eat and drink (Matt 14:14-16, Mark 5:43, Matt 25:31-46). People’s hardheartedness would not deter Him from reaching out to them with compassion (Mark 8:2).
2) What should we do then?
Responding with compassion and kindness towards the grief-stricken is of paramount importance. Like Tabitha we should be relentless in helping others (Acts 9:36). In fact, selfless sacrificial love is a proof-positive that we have a true God dwelling within us (1 John 3:17). To put it in the words of Moses by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit “..but you shall open your hand wide to him (the poor brother) and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs (Duet. 15:8).”
3) What we did on the November 14, 2014:
Looking at the damage caused by the cyclone, the Lord has placed a strong desire within me and others in the church to help the people in some way. Of course, we are aware of our own limitations. And our’s is no mighty organization nor is it our first priority to do such relief work. Therefore, it became necessary for us to find a church near the effected area where we could be of help to them. Thankfully, we found a church in a village called ___ in the Visakha District. The roof of the church building was blown away by the cyclone and the believers are now worshiping in the church building where there is no roof. Many other people from the community came to the church in anticipation of receiving aid.
Brother Ramesh (a member of our church) and I reached Visakhapatnam on the night of the 13th. We had to travel 550 kms in order to reach Visakhapatnam, and the village was some distance away from there. We brought Bibles, blankets and food to distribute. We were able to give the Bibles, blankets and packets of food to 84 families. We truly praise God for helping us so that we are able to help these poor people. We are also thankful to HeartCry for they were able to help us with traveling expenses and also to purchase the Bibles. We made it a point to all those who took the Bibles to read it and just not take it with a view to consider it as a magic charm!
We got to the village a little late and they were all waiting for us already. I preached the Gospel, emphasizing the need to trust in the Savior who is the Lord Jesus Christ, who alone has the power to control our lives. I preached from the text, "for what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul." (Mark 8:36). Some of the people were convicted of the love of God and we talked with them concerning their souls. We praised God for all that we were able to do there. It is such a needy place.
In His Service,