When Cyclone Amphan made landfall in South Asia in May of this year, nearly 2.5 million people had to be evacuated.
Thousands of homes were destroyed, and 300,000 people along the coast were put in immediate danger. Gaining speed and power as it careened towards the shoreline, Amphan quickly became the strongest storm ever recorded in the history of the Bay of Bengal, with local government officials declaring it “a bigger disaster than even the coronavirus.”
Worsening this national crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a nationwide lockdown, forcing most small businesses to close their doors. Many families suffered job losses, and many believers who are rural day laborers suddenly found themselves without any means to keep food on the table.
Because of your immediate outpouring of love, Send Relief was able to feed 1,300 people over the course of three months, with many of these families being local pastors and church leaders. The food rations that you provided included rice, oil, powdered milk, dal, eggs, potatoes, sugar, flour, onions, biscuits and more basic necessities for each and every family involved in the project.
Several recipients of the food distributions wanted to share their gratitude with you personally.
Saanvi* is a 59-year-old grandmother living in one of the hardest-hit regions. She shared, “I have heard of the Lord Jesus through some Christian brothers and sisters. I love the Lord but never go to church. We suffered a lot here due to the storm, and [because of] the coronavirus, our livelihood was cut off. Our family is in a very difficult situation, but our Christian brothers and sisters came to our village and gave us some gifts. They donated a lot of things that our family needed. Seeing their love, I realized how much Jesus loves us and decided that, from now on, I will go to church and appreciate this love and tell others. Thank you for all your help!”
Aaran* is a 27-year-old man with a disability who had never heard the gospel before. After a presentation, he told a Send Relief leader, “This is the first time I have heard of Jesus, and I am very happy to receive this gift and know about Him. I want to know more now.”
Prisha* is a 32-year-old woman who told us, “The Amphan storm that hit us caused our whole house to collapse and we are very discouraged in what to do because no one has helped us. I was very worried, but then these brothers and sisters who are believers came to our village and listened to us. They gave us gifts and plastic coverings for my house. I was very happy to see them and decided to go worship God every week at church, because not everyone can show this kind of love.”
Vihaan* spoke with one of our project managers through tears, saying, “Because of this [COVID] situation, my whole village is suffering with different things. These groceries helped us, and we are trusting God in these difficult situations and praying that He will take care of our needs. We are so thankful and happy that God provided a week of rations, because we have nothing in the house to feed our children.”
Aadya* lives in a village where the river embankment broke and flooded the whole community. She said, “I had never heard of Jesus. Cyclone Amphan submerged all our homes in water, and we were in a lot of trouble. Some brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ came to my village to help us. They saw our situation and gave us things we needed to use and the Good News. We are happy and benefitted from hearing about the Lord and seeing their love. I now believe in Jesus and have started praying, and I want to know more about the Lord.”
Finally, Fatima* shared with us that she is the only believer in her family of seven, so it is difficult for her to lead her family through these dark times. They are all day-laborers so, throughout the lockdown and following Amphan, they are struggling to find ways to feed their children. After a distribution, she said, “God answered our prayers in receiving groceries.”
Please pray for the families still in recovery from Cyclone Amphan and the COVID-19 lockdown, that they would be able to find sustainable sources of income and would stay healthy during this crucial time.
To give to more projects like this combatting the effects of the coronavirus and natural disasters around the world, give at sendrelief.org/donate.
*Names changed for security purposes.
Published October 22, 2020