Foursquare Disaster Relief (FDR) is appealing for $5,000 in emergency aid to help 20 Foursquare families in the Southeast Asian country of Myanmar. These new believers accepted Jesus last year during a medical missions outreach; their homes were destroyed by fire this past week.
Chad Isenhart, FDR’s international operations chief, says the agency will use donations for temporary shelter, food and cooking supplies, and clothing. They also plan to partner with local Foursquare leaders, including Foursquare Missions International Missionary Jason (last name withheld for security reasons), to distribute these supplies.
“Initially, we would like to help provide these items for our Christian brothers and sisters, who can then share with unbelievers,” Jason says. This is particularly important because Foursquare’s work has been expanding in Myanmar despite ongoing persecution in this predominantly Buddhist nation.
The District 5 supervisor for Foursquare Myanmar, his wife, and two other men traveled to Nga Hu village on Thursday, Apr. 10, to deliver emergency aid. The food and other supplies were donated by local church members in Kyaing Tong.
When the fire broke out, most adults were working in the fields. Elderly residents and children left in the village were unable to control the blaze, which burned 70 homes, other buildings, granaries and a rice mill.
Helping villagers in the recovery process will play a key role in supporting Foursquare’s work in Myanmar, which includes 247 churches.
“They are in dire straits,” Jason says of those whose possessions and homes were destroyed by fire. “This is in the middle of summer, with heat in the 90s each day and no rain. This is why the grass and wooden huts burned so rapidly. We need to do something to support them.”
The village residents who follow Christ accepted Him as Savior during a medical outreach led by Foursquare Myanmar's District 5 supervisor. He learned medical evangelism from a U.S. medical outreach team, led by Dan and Rosanne Thompson from Northwest Church (Federal Way Foursquare Church) in Federal Way, Wash. The Northwest District team had visited Myanmar to show nationals how to provide for physical needs while opening the door to share the gospel.
Formerly known as Burma, official religious persecution has eased in the nation of 53 million since the end of long-term military rule in 2011. Yet grassroots opposition to Christianity among people remains strong in many areas.
Foursquare leaders interested in financially supporting Myanmar relief efforts may donate online on Foursquare Disaster Relief's website, and prayers for families affected are welcome.
By: Ken Walker, an award-winning freelance writer in Huntington, W.Va.