NAGAPATANAM, INDIA (Talon News) — Dr. Joseph Chavady, of the Canadian based One to One International Ministries said one of his teams is working in Nagapatanam, the heart of the tsunami devastated area of Tamil Nadu. During a recent telephone call, team leaders told Chavady that government and international aid agencies are not reaching the needy in this area.
In an e-mail received by the Assist News Service (ANS), Chavady said, “‘Nobody is around when you need them,’ comments one of our leaders. ‘All we see from the West is cameramen. They only take pictures and then they leave. And the people here don’t want to be photographed looking the way they do!'”
What the survivors need most of all is comfort and consolation, someone to share their pain with and to give them new hope in Christ, Chavady said in the e-mail.
“Though the believers we have sent are from the hilly inland area of Tamil Nadu, they have decided to live among the tsunami survivors on the coast, ministering to them in every possible way as long as it is needed, and only occasionally returning to their homes,” Chavady added.
Thankfully, the gruesome task of burying the dead, Chavady said in the e-mail to ANS, of photographing and identifying the mutilated bodies, is finally beginning to end. Workers are focusing on the survivors, he said, many of whom have nothing left but the clothes they are wearing.
The Nagapatanam team leaders told Chavady, “We are still distributing food and water. But what they really need is help in rebuilding their lives from scratch: their homes, their livelihood (nets and boats), stoves and pans, blankets and extra clothes, and the children need to go to school again.”
In addition, Chavady added, his teams have held meetings with Hindus who have expressed an interest in learning more about Christ, “and the ground seems prepared for two or more churches to be planted.”
As one team member put it, Chavady said, “‘We have to humbly admit that we are able to minister to these dear people in their critical situation, and their hearts are open toward us and to Christ.'”
While Chavady’s workers have been giving out so much, the emotional toll of working in such devastation has been tremendous. Chavady said his workers told him they will never again be the same after what they have experienced.
However, Chavady said, “One to One is committed to stay in this needy place and to see several churches established. We have faithful men who are willing to build churches that will continue to reach out to the physically and spiritually needy people around them. We request your partnership in this continued effort to establish God’s kingdom in the midst of horrendous devastation and despair.”
In a recent article in the Nepali Times, a Nepali doctor wrote, “There are rays of hope, heart-warming scenes of generosity and altruism. Thousands of volunteers from all over India have come to work in food distribution, doctors are running clinics in the camps and villages.”
“Along the beaches, some fishermen are already trying to rebuild their houses salvaging what they can from the debris,” the article continued.
Those wanting to learn more about the work being done by One to One International can go to www.121intl.org.