OB Aids Quake Victims in Face of Uncertainty

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SICHUAN PROVINCE, China - China says the death toll from last week's deadly earthquake has surpassed 51,000, with 29,000 still missing.

The disaster destroyed more than 80 percent of the buildings in some remote towns and villages near the center of the quake.

And it also left millions in need of tents, food and medicine. Now Operation Blessing is on the scene helping the survivors.

Volunteer: I Came to Support the Living

Christian relief volunteer Lee Li did something this week she had never dreamed of doing before in her life.

"I've never been out of my village. But two days ago, I decided to take a 26-hour train ride leaving behind my husband and 14-month-old baby to come here and support the living," Li said.

And she had company. A caravan of 30 Christian volunteers from around the country arrived in China's earthquake-ravaged Sichuan Province to lend a helping hand.

Li said, "These are my people. I want them to know that we care about them. I also want them to know that Jesus cares about them."

The team joined Operation Blessing on an aid mission to the village of Xiangyang. They handed out food, water, tents and medical supplies.

"I just don't know how to thank you," earthquake survivor Yang Siying said. "We were running low on food but you came just in time."

The young and old walked from neighboring villages carrying empty baskets, but returned home with supplies that should last them a while.

"We don't even have shoes to walk these dirt roads, we lost all our possessions, but at least we have food today," said Dong Shao Ju, another quake survivor.

As these volunteers make their way from village to village, absolute destruction surrounds them - a common scene they've come across, everywhere.

Facing Down an Uncertain Tomorrow

And beside a home completely destroyed by the earthquake sits another house - untouched. And yet the people who live there have chosen to move into a tent for fear of another earthquake.

"You can see it in their faces, they are not confident about tomorrow," Li said.

In between handing out supplies, the team took time to encourage and pray with the villagers. Some of the volunteers focused on ministering to the children.

Volunteer Li Menghui said, "There's a young boy who saw 3 of his friends and a teacher die in the earthquake. These kids have gone through a lot so why just try to encourage them."

Local government officials were so pleased with the Operation Blessing outreach that they've asked the team to do more relief missions in the area.

In the meantime, as China faces the next hurdle of caring for the injured and homeless.

Chinese citizens like Li say they hope this disaster will teach their nation to rely on each other in ways they have never before.

"Sure, I miss my family but the sacrifice is worth it," Li said. "We need each other more during times of challenges. I'm glad that I came to be an encouragement to those hurting."

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George Thomas

George Thomas

CBN News Senior Reporter

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