Quake Victims Cling to the Word of God

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MIANYANG, SICHUAN PROVINCE, China - Sunday morning, In the city of Mianyang, close to the epicenter of the quake, a chorus of praise rises to the heavens.

Members of one the city's largest churches sings "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name!"

Nearly 12,000 people died in Mianyang.

Thousands more are still buried in the rubble of collapsed buildings.

It is the name of Jesus that many here are clinging to this morning.

"Our church is also suffering. Many of our members have lost their homes and loved ones in the earthquake," John Chao, pastor of Mianyang Three Self Church said. "So many churches in this region were also destroyed."

While the search and rescue continues across this province, Mianyang has turned into a massive refugee camp for survivors.

And today, tens of thousands have literally found home in this open-air stadium, one of four in this particular region. As we've spent time talking to these individuals they say they have no idea what comes next."

"When the earthquake happened, I didn't even have time to put on my shoes. I grabbed my daughter and ran out of the house. She is all I have left. I have nothing else--- no home, no money. I don't know how to start my life again."

With the help of Operation Blessing, Pastor Chao is able to reach out to this hurting community.

Following the Sunday service, Chao and a team from Operation Blessing China delivered much-needed tents to a group of survivors from last week's powerful earthquake.

Dong Shao Ju's family got two of those tents. They are from Beichuan, a county close to the epicenter.

"I was so scared in my heart, I could see people running everywhere, and homes were crumbling right in front of my eyes," earthquake survivor Dong Shao Ju explained.

She and 25 other extended family members managed to escape. But others weren't so fortunate. Several of her cousins, uncles and aunts were killed. Her home was destroyed.

"We cannot even think about the future," she said. "We are just trying to think about today, how we can survive."

For now, Ju is grateful for this small, but much appreciated act of kindness, from people half-way around the world.

I cannot find the words to express my gratitude to those people who I will probably never meet who are helping us feel a little better today," he said.

"Our partnership with Operation Blessing is a great example of how the Body of Christ should work together to meet the needs of the people here," Chao said. "It is a testimony to our faith and to the power of love. Even before the earthquake, OB and my church did several outreaches to the community and so people know about our vital relationship."

Pastor Chao and Operation Blessing are looking to take that partnership to new levels in the coming weeks and months as the country faces the enormous task of housing and caring for the hundreds of thousands of people left homeless by the earthquake.

*Original broadcast May 20, 2008.

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