On August 3, a 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck a remote region of Yunnan Province, in China's southwest, killing more than 600 people. The Chinese government quickly launched rescue operations and continues to provide relief for those affected. But what about the churches in the area? A reporter from the mainland site Christian Times talked with a local pastor in the area about how the churches in the area are responding. The article is translated below.
Local Churches Work Together to Help Those Affected by the Earthquake: A Pastor Comments on How to View Natural Disasters
On August 3, Ludian County, Zhaotang City,* Yunnan Province experienced a 6.5 magnitude earthquake. The death toll has risen to 390 people.* According to reports, this is the biggest earthquake the region has experienced in 16 years. The next day, the earthquake was the lead story on all major news media outlets. With regard to how to respond to natural disasters, Pastor Huang Yatong, from a church in Zhaotong City, encouraged Christians to pray for the victims in the area and to actively lend a helping hand in order to manifest the love of Christ.
On August 4 when Christian Times staff telephoned Pastor Huang Yatong to learn more about the situation, the earthquake death toll had risen to 390 people. Pastor Huang said the disaster is quite serious, since it already had resulted in more than 180 missing people, more than 1,300 injured, more than 12,000 collapsed houses, and damaged more than 30,000 rooms.
After the earthquake, they were also faced with persistent rains. When the churches in the area learned of the disaster, one after another they have given their respects and commissioned Pastor Huang and the church to aid the victims. Currently, church workers are buying relief supplies. Pastor Huang said there is an urgent need in the quake zone for instant noodles, water, colored strips of cloth, blankets, tents and other such supplies. They hope to deliver these to the hardest hit area as soon as possible.
Pastor Huang said Ludian is about 20km (40 li) away from Zhaotong city. There are no churches in the area, so not many Christian brothers and sisters are affected by the disaster. As for the question of how Christians should respond to natural disasters, Pastor Huang shared that the most important response was to pray for victims of the disaster, that God will have mercy on them. In addition, when caring for the survivors, it is important for them to feel the love of God.
For the victims who perished, Pastor Huang said that from the perspective of faith, we can only pray for them and ask God to have mercy on their souls, because natural disasters can happen at any time. As citizens, we ought to play our part to the greatest extent to help see them through the difficulties. If one person has difficulty, eight people can provide support. For many years, the Zhaotong church has been involved in some aspect of disaster relief work.
"Right now the entire community is carrying out relief operations; whether it is corporate or individual leaders, everyone is actively doing relief work. The disaster rallied everyone together even more. Their disaster is our disaster. We have a responsibility to help them, but Christians also have an obligation to pass on the love of Christ so that more people feel the love of God," Pastor Huang candidly shared.
Indeed, when news came out about the Ludian disaster, secular society and the church began working hard to bring relief to the affected areas. Early morning on the 4th, a Beijing church minister sent out an urgent intercessory prayer request and invited local churches to pray together for the earthquake victims.
In addition, Pastor Huang also said that following an earthquake the year before in Yiliang County, local churches had offered continuous help and had established a link with his church. In the same way, after the Ludian earthquake, churches in Beijing, Shanghai, Wenzhou and other places have been quick to respond to the earthquake, sending supplies to the area.
*in Chinese administration, a city is a higher level administrative unit than a county; in other words, a county is a district within a city, usually some distance from the urban center.
**the death toll has now exceeded 600.
Original article: 各地教会联手支援鲁甸地震灾区当地牧者谈如何看待天灾 (translated and posted by permission)
Image Source: Otta News
Are you enjoying a cup of good coffee or fragrant tea while reading the latest ChinaSource post? Consider donating the cost of that “cuppa” to support our content so we can continue to serve you with the latest on Christianity in China.