Tuesday, November 16, 2010

PakistanFloods: Christian Relief: Anomalies of compassion in a world torn by religion and terrorism

I was struck to the heart when I happened upon Kristen deRoo VanderBerg's article below regarding international Christian diaconal work in Pakistan, a Moslem country where Christians are often persecuted.  VandenBerg is Communications officer for Christian Reformed World Relief Commission, a denominationally-mandated active arm of compassion in many Third World countries.  

In Pakistan,  CRWRC is a lead respondent to the terrible massive floods that have devastated parts of the country.  It's been all too sadly interesting to me that rich Pakistanis of the wealthy landlord variety (with tenant farmers totally dependent on their landholding masters) apparently do nothing to mobilize their resources to be of assistance to their poor and displaced.  

On the one hand, there are the Taliban-type terrorists and their sympathizers, on the other hand there are the wealthy who finance the mainstream political parties.  The broad generality of the  people are cawt between these rending forces.  That my favourite Christian relief org can function in such a milieu and get the aid to the people in the maelstrom is another miracle, altho I can't think of the NT text that m+t best function analogously to that of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes by our Lord Jesus.  Yes, He's done it again!

Pakistan: A Modern Miracle of Multiplication

CRWRC Newsroom | November 9, 2010

CRWRC's volunteer International Relief Manager Jacob Kramer was in Pakistan in October to assist with the response.
CRWRC has seen miracles at work as it took on the challenge of respond-ing to floods in Paki-stan.  Perhaps the greatest of these miracles has been the multiplication of funds.

CRWRC originally put forward $105,000 of its existing funds for its Pakistan flood response.  With this initial contribution, CRWRC worked through the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) - a partnership of Canadian churches and church-based agencies working to end hunger - and was able to deliver $2,515,000 in food assistance to the devastated Nowshera and Charsadda districts of the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and to the Rahim Yar Khan district of Southern Punjab.  This was carried out in collaboration with CRWRC’s Christian partner organization in Pakistan, the Interfaith League Against Poverty (ILAP). 
["Interfaith" in Pakistan means Muslims and Christians are cooperating. Now that's good news!]

-- Politicarp

Click on the t+mstamp below to Read more ...

“CRWRC was able to leverage resources like this because CFGB and its member srespect CRWRC’s expertise and were willing to work with CRWRC as the lead agency and contribute their resources to CRWRC’s response,” said Andrew Ryksamp, CRWRC’s US Director.  “In addition, the contributions of CFGB members are matched 4:1 by the Canadian government.”

 Besides the funding to provide emergency food to flood survivors, CRWRC also wanted to help people meet their non-food needs of shelter, warmth, and security.  To do this, it drew on some existing accounts.  Every year, people make donations to CRWRC’s Christmas gift catalog in lieu of buying gifts for their friends and loved ones.  Because of these donations, CRWRC had $114,000 on hand that it could use to purchase tents, blankets, kitchen sets, and hygiene kits.  CRWRC also used $160,000 from new Pakistan donations for this initiative.

But the great news doesn’t stop there.  To date, CRWRC has received pledges of more than $1.2 million from various European donors towards its Pakistan relief effort.  CRWRC has also received $341,000 in “Gifts in Kind” donations from other aid agencies. This means that other agencies have supported CRWRC’s efforts by providing medical equipment, tents, and other physical items.  As a result, CRWRC has been able to distribute 4,825 tents, 6,000 blankets, 8,065 hygiene kits, 8,065 mosquito nets, 8,065 kitchen sets including stoves and dishes, 7,915 gas cylinders (to fuel stoves), 100 tool kits, and 8,000 water cans to families devastated by the flooding in Pakistan.

“In total, our current response - with an initial CRWRC investment of only $379,000 - stands at $4.215 million – a multiplier effect of more than 11 times!” said Ryskamp.

While most of these funds have come from existing CRWRC accounts or through external funding agencies, CRWRC has also seen generous support from individuals across the United States and Canada.  More than $1 million has come in from Canadian churches and individuals and an additional $275,000 has come in from the US.  These funds will be used for the next stage of CRWRC’s response, which will help families rebuild their homes and livelihoods.

“The floods left a lot of damage,” explains Wayne deJong, CRWRC Director of Disaster Response & Rehabilitation.  “People will need to clear the soil of silt deposits, repair roads, and rebuild tertiary irrigation canals.  CRWRC has planned cash and food for work programs to address these needs.  CRWRC also plans to distribute seeds, tools, and livestock and to provide small business loans as a way to restart livelihoods.  On top of all this, we will build flood resistant homes, repair latrines, and restore water supplies.  We still have a long way to go, but we are determined to make a significant impact in the face of this huge disaster. We began with a relatively small amount of resources, but God has provided us with so much more, and His love will be evident even here. God is good.”
[The denomination that mandates this relief agency is the Christian Reformed Church of North America -- that's the USA and Canada -- as CRCNA is already an international Church body, reformed and reforming. ] 
Your financial support of this work is also needed. Donate online:  US | Canada
Checks, marked "Pakistan Flooding 2010" can also be mailed or phoned into:
2850 Kalamazoo Ave SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49560

-- Politicarp [bracketed comments are mine]
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