With large sections of Cambodia and Thailand now covered in water, Free Methodists are among the Southeast Asian residents affected by widespread flooding that has also affected Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Two Free Methodist churches in Bangkok, Thailand, were at risk of flooding, using sandbag barriers and pumps to try to stay dry. David Yardy, Asia area director for Free Methodist World Missions, said Nov. 1 that the churches are no longer at risk of flooding, but surrounding areas “will continue to remain flooded for weeks and, in some areas, months —
so the greatest crisis is safe drinking water.”
The flooding has also impacted Free Methodists such as Sunshine Pinmora, who lost his vegetable farm and now resides on the second floor of his building. Readers of Free Methodist World Mission People magazine may remember the January 2010 profile of Pinmora, a former Buddhist monk who became a Christian at one of the FM churches in Bangkok. Since the recent flooding, the Light for Life Foundation has appointed Pinmora to demonstrate and distribute Sawyer water filters donated by International Child Care Ministries (ICCM), and his support for the next few months will come from the Bishops’ Crisis Response Fund.
The Community Church Planting training event will be held as planned Nov. 13-19 in Bangkok, according to Free Methodist World Missions, which requests prayer for God’s protection over the 25 participants traveling from 11 Asian nations.
More than 420 people have died in Thailand because of the flooding, FM missionary Don Williams said Nov. 3, and 13 percent of the nation’s crops have been destroyed. The flooding comes at the same time Free Methodists in Thailand are mourning two deaths unrelated to the flooding.
“Please continue to hold up in prayer the nation of Thailand and the community of Grace International School. We see these times as opportunities to trust God, grow in our faith and demonstrate the lavish love the Lord has poured out on us to those around us,” Don and Kathy Williams wrote in their newsletter.
In Cambodia, all three of ICCM’s houses for children’s after-school programs (Love, Joy and Peace) were inundated with floodwater, as were the surrounding neighborhoods where the children reside. The water has receded, but cleanup continues along with delivery of food and water to the affected families.
The flooding followed heavy monsoon rain, tropical storms and typhoons in September and October.
Free Methodists can help their Southeast Asian brothers and sisters in Christ by contributing to the Bishops’ Crisis Response Fund that is supporting Free Methodist World Missions’ response to the crisis.
“Much of the need we attempt to meet is predictable — missionary and country support. Disaster is not. The Bishops’ Crisis Response Fund exists to meet the need that we cannot see, but is perhaps the deepest of all needs,” Bishop Matt Thomas said. “You can see the desperation of those ravaged by floods and famine. But, trust me, though you cannot see the joy of those who receive your help in their desperation, it would bring a different kind of tear to your eye.
“When you help the ‘least of these’ in their depth of despair, the gift is more than hope; it is life for them and sometimes unrecognized blessing for you.”
Relief funds for International Child Care Ministries can be made online at childcareministries.org/give/special_funds.php or sent to ICCM with the designation “Special Gift Cambodia.”