OB Relief Brings Hope to Chinese Victims

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BEIJING - Rescue workers are still digging in mounds of rubble to find survivors from China's massive earthquake.

The death toll now stands above 21,000, but the Chinese government says the final tally could reach 50,000.

But in the midst of tragedy, there is hope.

Survivors have been straggling down from the mountains in small groups, showing up in the nearby town of Jiangyou with no possessions, no food, and little hope.

They are met by Operation Blessing relief workers, who have been handing out food and water to the victims, with the help of local churches.

For the shell-shocked survivors, the caring words and sympathetic hearts of the Christian volunteers are as vital as the nutrition they provide.

"They really need friends and brothers and sisters to care about them from different places not only materialistically, but more importantly psychologically," one man said. 

Miles away, in the town of Beichuan, the hospital is so full, that people with less severe injuries are lined up on cots in the courtyard.

Here, too, volunteers from local churches are working together with Operation Blessing, administering to the needs of the suffering.

"We really hope that people can see God through these brothers and sisters and that they can bring God's love to people who are in need," a woman said.

A spirit of compassion and sacrifice has spread over the communities that are receiving the victims. There is no chaos. Distribution lines move smoothly. And even those who have lost everything can have kind hearts.

"i remember when I sent ham sausages to a family. Actually I didn't know they are a family, so I gave sausages to each of them," the woman said. "Then as I gave them the third package. they said, 'No, we don't need more of this because we are all from the same family and what we have is enough. Save these for others.' So I feel that, although they suffer themselves, yet they think of other victims."

The earthquake was so powerful, that it was felt throughout most of China. Here in Beijing, skyscrapers were rattled by the quake, but its been the emotional aftershocks that have had the greatest impact, bringing an outpouring of compassion and a desire by many people to do anything they could to help the victims.

"I donated 100 RMB Yuan via internet this morning," one woman said. "I even wanted to donate my blood, but my health situation does not allow me to do that. And, what I can do now, I think, is to pray for them."

"I kept thinking about the whole thing. I am praying for them, hope they could be rescued as soon as possible," she said.

Back in the mountains of Sichaun province, the relief workers from Operation Blessing are preparing to move on to another town-one that hasn't been reached yet by relief teams.

They're eager to provide food, fresh water, prayers and comfort.

*Original broadcast May 16, 2008.

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