China's Christians Reach Out to Devastated

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 EDITOR'S NOTE: We're taking a look back at some of the top stories of 2008. This is one of them. For updates on these stories, search the Christian World News archives on the web. 

XIANGYANG VILLAGE, China - It's been several months since a deadly earthquake rocked Chinas SichuanProvince/st1 :place>./span>

The government estimates that some 200,000 people participated in relief and rescue operations.

 

Among those helping are the Christians of China.

Operation Blessing's President Bill Horan, who just returned from China, joined the 700 Club today to share more on how OB is working to help the victims of this tragedy. Click play to watch the interview.

Trying to describe the extent of the devastation here in China is so difficult to put in words.

While the Chinese government has done a really good job in mobilizing its forces to help those in need, Chinese Christians have also gotten involved in a small way.

Recently, a group of them gathered together from around the country and headed to some of the devastated regions.

Dr Guo Ai Ping is some 900 miles away from her home in Beijing. For the next several weeks, this small village tucked in a corner of China's devastated earthquake zone, will be here home away from home.

"There is not a single Chinese person who has not been touched by the magnitude of this disaster," Dr. Ping said. "We are here to help our countrymen in their time of need. We also want them to know that Jesus cares for them."

With the permission of local authorities, Ping and a group of Christian doctors from around China started this makeshift medical center to help meet the needs of this hurting community.

"The people here are poor they don't have money to travel to the big hospitals in the cities," Dr. Wang Shao Hong said. "So we provide them free medical attention."

But healing their physical scars is not their only objective.

"Yesterday we had a mother who sustained a very serious injury and they brought her here. She was so frightened--- any tiny sound made her jump," Dr. Hong said. "Many kids are also experiencing similar problems. There is a lot of psychological trauma here. We sing to them, we encourage them, we pray with them."

In China, where the government's relationship with religion remains strained, these Christian volunteers say they just want to be here to help their nation in this time of need.

Their medical center is called Christian Love Help Station.

"Our goal is to create an atmosphere that when people leave here they will feel cared and loved for," Hong said. "We want them to feel the joy of Christ. We have chosen to live here among the people. We just don't drop off our medical supplies and leave them."

A few miles up the road, on a separate mission of mercy, another group of Christian volunteers has just reached the quake-zone after completing a tough two-day, cross-country journey.

"What we have gone through to get here is nothing in comparison to what these survivors have experienced," Christian volunteer Li Lee said. "Look around you, look at their lives, their homes, it looks hopeless. But we are here to tell them that there is hope."

The team joined a relief group as they distributed water, tents, cooking oil, rice and other supplies to the villagers. They also took time to just talk to the victims and pray with them.

"We want them to know that Jesus loves them," Lee said. "We are here to be an extension of the Lord's physical and spiritual healing hands."

Across this country, Christians -- those officially registered with the Chinese government, as well as members of the unregistered house church -- are mobilizing to help survivors begin the hard task of rebuilding their lives.

They gather daily to pray for the victims of the earthquake.

"Our hope is that our faith will be a testimony to these hurting people that there is indeed a God," said John Chao, pastor with Mianyang Three Self Church. "Today the believers from this church are out on the streets staying with these refugees, encouraging them, giving them food, clothes and sharing the love of Jesus with them."

The earthquake was a devastating tragedy for China.

But the tragedy has become a rallying point as Chinese people from all walks of life, religious and non-religious, band together in all out effort to show sympathy, care and love for the millions of earthquake victims.

*Original broadcast June 3, 2008.

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