IMAGINE THIS HAPPENING IN YOUR HOMETOWN...
Observer Staff Writer
Many children now orphaned by last month's devastating tsunami are seeking refuge at an orphanage in Vishakhapatnam.
It is one of five operated by Dr. Theodore Wesley and Good News Fellowship, a sister church to New Song Community Church, 3008 Cove Ave.
Thursday morning Pastor Duane Smiley spoke with Dr. Wesley on the phone.
"More and more kids are showing up every day," says Smiley. "They have no place else to go and a bunch of them are already really sick."
As many as 40 children are suffering from severe diarrhea, Wesley told his friend. Fears of possible malaria and cholera outbreaks cloud the church's efforts as they quarantine and treat the sick.
"Dr. Wesley sounded tired, but he's okay. So far, we know we lost a church and one of the pastors. As soon as the tsunami hit, (Wesley) was out doing what he could. He's not sleeping much," Smiley adds.
Smiley recently visited the Good News Fellowship church in India to preach. As he views graphic photographs taken the morning of Dec. 27, Smiley points to a coastline shot showing bare, brown sand.
"There were buildings and people along here," he says. "It's hard to
The La Grande church and the congregation in Portland are sending aid to Wesley as fast as they can raise the funds and they are asking for your help.
Good News Fellowship with its five orphanages, 250 churches, Bible school and training center has been a mission for New Song for many years.
Earlier this fall, when Wesley was in Oregon, an account was established to allow a faster transfer of funds between the two countries within a day's time. That fortuitous decision has turned out to be a great blessing in India.
Smiley says 100 percent of the funds donated to the tsunami relief in India in care of New Song will go straight to India for the purchase of food, water and medicine. None of the money will be diverted for church programs or administrative costs.
"If people want a local tie a way to donate they can be sure will help the most people this is it. We know these people. We know what they can do with our money. And he's not just looking for Christians," he adds, "he's helping anyone he finds."
Wesley has organized 20 teams from his church to travel to 100 villages. They distribute what food, water and medicine they have and do whatever else they can to help. The caste system in India is keeping many of the poorest from receiving aid.
Wesley is doing his best to reach the least of these with supplies he is able to buy from the New Song donations.
As the death toll reaches triple digits, Smiley fears the worst.
"Whole villages, whole families are gone. There's no way to tell how many were lost or who they are. Most probably won't ever be found."