After hearing about the monsoon flooding in Kerala, India, the Mission Support Team serving at GFA’s headquarters in Wills Point, Texas, sprang to action to help spread awareness of the timely need. Many shifted their schedules to work long hours through the weekend to bring awareness to the devastation many are currently facing.
After receiving a firsthand disaster-relief report from Dr. K.P Yohannan, founder of GFA, behind-the-scenes missionaries printed, folded, stuffed, stamped and sent out the passionate plea to believers across the United States.
“Along with a few co-workers,” Shawn, a behind-the-scenes missionary, said, “I coordinated the printing and mailing of this letter. This involved running our printers for many hours, communicating with the post office and other companies to send out the mail, training volunteers how to use machines, fixing broken machines and answering questions.”
Behind-the-scenes missionaries from every corner of the office contributed to the efforts, doing whatever was needed, which may have been tasks that they had never done before.
“When I had the opportunity to volunteer in our mail room to help with the disaster-gram mailing, it was such a joy to know that doing something as seemingly simple as working with thousands of pieces of paper would make a difference for the lives of those suffering in the floodwaters,” said Grace, who serves in GFA’s IT department.
While the print room was buzzing with activity from 6 a.m. to midnight on Saturday, Aug. 18, GFA social media specialists, writers and web developers were disseminating, throughout the digital world, reports and videos received from national workers serving in Kerala.
“I spent most of my time creating Facebook ads to create awareness about the Kerala floods and to encourage people to help,” said Anna Beth, a GFA campaign manager.
As GFA-supported workers in Kerala rescued stranded people in neck-deep floodwaters, distributed relief items and served around the clock in medical camps, behind-the scenes missionaries worked along with them. They felt it was their privilege to help in the relief efforts, even from the other side of the globe.
“I tried to put myself in their shoes,” said Rachael, a behind-the-scenes missionary. “I have an infant, and I can imagine how overwhelming it would be trying to keep him protected, warm and dry, fed and safe from sickness, like waterborne illnesses. This motivated me to pray, and it was a privilege to help for a couple hours too.”
As behind-the-scenes missionaries served, they enjoyed lighthearted fellowship with each other, even though they were working in the middle of disaster. They knew there were many busy in Kerala, working hard to bring aid, and the behind-the-scenes missionaries also stepped up to work together with prayerful hearts.
“Being in the moment, I enjoyed standing by others, laughing and working yet in a time of crisis,” said Christian, who works in GFA’s call center. “I blinked once or twice, staring at the letters in front of me and wondering who the person was who would receive the letter. I prayed for the people receiving the letters, and I prayed for the people who would be helped on the field.”
Driven by the same love and passion as those they serve in Asia, behind-the-scenes missionaries saw this as a special opportunity to give their personal time for the Lord and for the broken and needy. It was a chance for them to express their love for God and the people in need with their actions. The leaders of Gospel for Asia were often present to help out and encourage the missionaries as they served.
“Daniel [vice president of GFA] said our work was an act of worship,” Christian recalls. “I don’t remember praising God as I let the envelopes fall into the machine. But the presence of others around me and the joy I saw in others to complete menial tasks deep into the night—God’s presence was there, just as it is on the field, comforting the broken and hurting, especially those who have lost everything: friends, family, homes, livestock.”
It is the common goal, and love for the people they have chosen to serve in Christ, that continues to keep the missionaries on the field and the missionaries behind the scenes going. For some, this crisis and the ability to help raise awareness was a key connection between them and the brothers and sisters across the globe. Although their cultures, their languages and their roles in the catastrophe, are different, the love for God and the people of Kerala united people in a deeper way.
“I would say to the people of Kerala, ‘This is not the end—take courage,’ ” Shawn said. “And for us who are not affected by the flooding, we can pray and give. We can reach out our hand and, in a way, touch someone on the other side of the world. Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world,’ and He also said to His followers, ‘You are the light of the world.’ We are to represent Jesus, here in 2018. Serving the people of Kerala is one way we can do that.”
Please consider opening your hearts to give to those affected by the flood in Kerala, as ongoing relief efforts have only begun and many lives have a long way to recover any normalcy.
Help Disaster Relief teams serve survivors of flooding and other disasters.
Donations to support GFA’s disaster relief work in Kerala can be made at www.gfa.org/flood.