Sri Lanka Bombings: the Christians responding with love

Sri Lanka Bombings

the Christians responding with love

You’re helping Christians in Sri Lanka recover from the devastating Easter Sunday bombings, and we couldn’t be more grateful. Please keep showing love to those caught up in disasters by giving to BMS disaster recovery ministries today.

Six bombs exploded across Sri Lanka three weeks ago, as Christians gathered to celebrate Easter Sunday. The attack was targeted and lethal. More than 250 people were killed and over 500 injured. Churches and hotels were reduced to rubble. On what should have been a day of great celebration, thousands of people were left grieving.

candles in memory of the Sri Lanka Easter Sunday bombings

The horrific bombings in Sri Lanka left the Christian world reeling. But your generous giving has already empowered local people to help in practical ways. You’ve provided £10,000 to support communities now and for the coming years – and you didn’t even know it.

Your gifts have already enabled our partners in Sri Lanka to offer psychosocial care to hurting communities, shelter to refugees and medical supplies to wounded people in hospital. It’s the help they really needed, at the time they needed it.

When you and your church give to support BMS disaster recovery ministries, you’re enabling us to respond to future disasters, as well as helping people affected by what’s in our headlines now. You’re giving in faith and sowing hope – responding before it happens and enabling local Christians’ love to be practical and timely. And to meet real needs, even invisible ones.

The emotional damage caused by disasters can be catastrophic. Working with local churches, our trusted partners on the ground are caring for children and families directly affected by the attacks. Teams of volunteers have been trained to help children in hospitals, through play and art therapy, to begin to cope with the awful things they’ve seen. And they’ll be cared for when they return home too, by teams of people we call ‘Befrienders’. Befrienders are specially trained to work in schools and communities and provide psychological care and emotional support. By making these teams possible, you’ve helped vulnerable children feel safe again. Together, we’re bringing hope to survivors who felt they’d lost everything.

If you’ve ever given to support our relief work, thank you. You’ve helped people like Sri Lanka’s Christians, perhaps without even knowing it. When you support BMS disaster recovery ministries, you’re responding before a disaster happens. Today you could be helping survivors of a terror attack, tomorrow those affected by climate change and natural disasters.

Want to support BMS relief ministries? Click here
icon

The easiest thing to do after reading this would be to give thanks and click away. But the better thing to do would be to a take a moment and make a donation. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow, but we can help Christians around the world to be prepared, when they need it most.

You’re giving so much more than just presents this Christmas

You’re giving so much more than just presents this Christmas

Here are some of the ways you’ve helped people in desperate need this year.

A tarpaulin. A plastic groundsheet. Some thermal underwear. Did these items make your Christmas wish list?

You’ve given these – and other great gifts – to people in desperate need this year.

You’re providing a lifeline for Rohingya refugees fleeing violence in Burma (Myanmar), and keeping hundreds of people warm in the harshness of a Ukraine winter.

As you wrap your presents and prepare for Christmas, consider this our thank you note for what you’ve already given. And a reminder of the suffering you’re helping to alleviate, in Jesus’ name, every time you give to BMS World Mission.

Refugees look through a gap in their shelter in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh.
Vital aid is reaching refugees in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, thanks to your donations. Photo by Medair/Nath Fauveau.

Rohingya refugee crisis

The Rohingya people have witnessed their loved ones being raped, beaten and executed, and their villages reduced to ashes in a brutal military offensive. The scale of the terror inflicted by Burma’s soldiers is unimaginable, as is the exodus of those being targeted. More than 650,000 Rohingya refugees have crossed from Burma’s northern Rakhine State into Cox’s Bazar district in southern Bangladesh since August. Hundreds are still crossing every day, many of them children who have run for their lives.

How you are helping: By giving to BMS you’re helping more than 500 refugees. They arrive at camps exhausted, hungry and traumatised. They have next to nothing. The tarpaulin, ground sheet and stretch of nylon rope you’ve funded for these refugees are providing shelter. Thanks to you, Rohingya people have protection from the elements, and women can maintain their dignity thanks to hygiene kits containing sanitary products. People will also receive soap for washing and laundry, as well as a cup and a three-litre water jug.

Ukraine

The conflict that erupted in eastern Ukraine in 2014 between pro-Russian separatists and pro-Ukrainian groups has displaced 1.5 million people and killed at least 10,000. Government pensions and social benefits have been stopped for people living in areas under separatist control, while schools and hospitals have also had their funding halted.

Help us respond to disasters Give today
icon

How you are helping: The temperature in eastern Ukraine is expected to drop to -7 degrees Celsius early on Christmas Day, and it could drop as low as -28 later in the winter. You’re providing over 1,000 people with coal, firewood, ceramic heaters and wood burners so they can survive, and children are being given thermal underwear.

Rachel Conway-Doel, our Relief Facilitator, talks about the crisis in Ukraine and what you can be praying for.

Syria conflict

Lebanon continues to host the highest concentration of refugees per capita in the world, with an estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees and over 15,000 people from Iraq living there. Close to half of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon are children.

How you are helping: You’ve already helped dozens of children who have had their access to education shattered by conflict, and that support continues.

Thanks to your giving, at least 30 more refugee children are being taught English, Arabic and maths this school year, and doing what every child has a right to do – play.

Refugee children sit behind desks during a class in Lebanon.
Refugee children in Lebanon are being given an education thanks to you.
Your support this year has been amazing – look at what else you’ve done!

Mozambique — You gave food to 1,000 people affected by a fuel tanker explosion in Mozambique.

Haiti — You helped provide cholera prevention and treatment through water filtration after Hurricane Matthew.

Nepal — You provided food, blankets and medicine to more than 1,100 people following severe monsoon flooding.

Philippines — You helped to give medical check-ups and disaster training for community leaders following July’s earthquake.

Bangladesh — You helped to fund the rebuilding of 50 family homes destroyed by landslides in June.

South Sudan/Uganda — You gave food, tools and seeds to over 1,000 South Sudanese people in danger of starving.

No matter how much you gave this year, you made a difference. People you will never meet have been fed, sheltered and comforted thanks to your kindness. We thank you for all that you have done, and can’t wait to see what we can achieve together in 2018. Happy Christmas from all of us at BMS.

Winter is coming

Ukraine:

Winter is coming

It’s getting cold in Ukraine. Because of the ongoing conflict, thousands of people have fled from their homes. With winter on its way, BMS World Mission is working to provide heating for families displaced by the fighting.

The temperature’s starting to drop. Soon, frost will cover the ground. The heating will be switched on. But for people in eastern Ukraine, ways of keeping warm have been taken away.

Along the boundary lines of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in Ukraine, tension between pro-Russian separatists and pro-Ukrainian groups has caused violent unrest for the past three years, and there are no signs of it stopping. Parts of these regions are now controlled by the separatists, with the Ukrainian government suspending support to the area. As a result, people are without hot water. The central heating no longer works. Coal, gas and electricity are becoming increasingly more expensive, with many people unable to pay their energy bills. And with extreme winter conditions on the way, being able to stay warm is vital for families in Ukraine to survive the next few months.

Rachel Conway-Doel, our Relief Facilitator, talks about the crisis in Ukraine and what you can be praying for.

Last year, Sergey, an elderly man living amidst the fighting, had the wall of his home heavily damaged. Not only did this let in the freezing cold, but it caused his heating system to break. BMS helped to fix the wall, and a ceramic heating panel was installed in his house, replacing the broken system. Because of your support, Sergey was able to live through the winter.

Along with local partners, last year BMS also helped another family with three young children, who had their central heating stop because energy to the building had been cut off. They weren’t able to leave the area because they were looking after their elderly parents. A ceramic heater was installed at their house, meaning they could keep looking after their parents and stay warm during the winter too. This year, thanks to your giving, we are able to help again.

Sergey, with his ceramic heater
Sergey, with his ceramic heater
A family sat by their ceramic heater given to them last year
A family keep warm thanks to a ceramic heater given to them last year.

Two million people are estimated to be living close to the boundary line of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, with a further two million people estimated to be living in the non-government controlled area. In a crisis of this scale, we’re committed to helping Ukrainians keep warm this winter.

Support those in need. Click Here
icon

Working with local partners, BMS is helping one thousand people affected by this terrible conflict. We’re providing water heaters, which will give families and internally displaced people access to hot water. Ceramic heaters, coal and firewood are being given as ways for families to heat their homes. And we’re helping children receive thermal underwear, meaning they can stay warm while they sleep.

Because of your giving, Ukrainian families will stay warm and survive the winter this year, amidst the ongoing fighting. If you want to help continue BMS’ disaster recovery work, enabling us to support those trapped in wars, conflicts and natural disasters, consider giving today.

Meet the people you’re helping after the 2015 Nepal earthquakes

Meet the people you’re helping after the 2015 Nepal earthquakes

You gave so generously following the devastating earthquakes that hit Nepal and killed over 8,000 people in 2015. We want to introduce you to just a few of the amazing people your gifts are helping.

Sarita. Manisha. Ayushma. Krishna. Kamala. These names might not mean anything to you now, but after you hear their stories they will. They are the names of people who have shown great resilience and courage in the face of disaster, and you have played a part in their recovery.

Gorkha District in Nepal.

Our home was wiped out by the earthquakes. It was really hard. We had to live in these temporary shelters afterwards and it was especially hard for my mother because she’s getting older.

To meet these people, you have to go to Gorkha District. It’s a beautiful place – green rice paddies stack on top of each other as you go up the mountains, a stairway to heaven. From the top, you look down on sparkling rivers hugging rocky terrain and spots of technicolour as women stop their work to rest for a minute in the fields. But this breathtaking beauty has known huge suffering, becoming one of the areas hit hardest by the 2015 earthquakes. Five hundred people lost their lives and more than a thousand people were injured here. On top of that, 70 per cent of homes and 90 per cent of schools and health centres were destroyed.

Meet 5 of the people you’re helping in Gorkha:

Following the earthquakes, your gifts enabled BMS World Mission to give £100,000 to help with recovery in Gorkha District. Thanks to you, we are helping around 12,000 people rebuild their lives. Mostly vulnerable people with disabilities. Rebuilding homes, providing healthcare services, and empowering people through self-help groups and advocacy are just a few of the ways survivors are now getting their lives back. Your giving is going far beyond immediate relief, enabling people to break free from depression, access much-needed healthcare and go back to school.

Sarita, the gentle woman with incredible strength

Sarita stands in front of the new home that is being built.
Sarita stands in front of the new home that is being built for her and the children in her care, thanks to BMS.

“I enjoy being able to love and care for them,” says Sarita, as four young girls sit patiently on a bench and watch her every move.

Sarita smiles at ‘her girls’. She comes across as gentle and loving, but this is clearly underpinned with great strength. Her life and work have not been easy. She explains the heartbreak she felt when her husband left her and her son. It’s been hard for her to support herself and her family on her own. But she’s carried on. Today, she’s taking care of herself, her son and many other children. Sarita is a dorm mother at Bhawani Secondary School, caring for ten children with disabilities, 24 hours a day.

Sarita, her son and some of the children she looks after.
Sarita, her son and some of the children she looks after.

It’s a school that’s suffered the consequences of disaster – after the 2015 earthquakes, the 16-room building was destroyed. Today there are simple temporary buildings scattered across the school grounds so that children can continue their education. Sarita, her son and the children in her care live together in a tiny crowded room near the school buildings.

Living like this, combined with the children’s physical difficulties, makes life a daily challenge. “Everything has to be done in the room – cooking, living, storing things, reading and playing,” says Sarita. “It’s hard because it’s so cramped.”

BMS is doing something to help. We’re supporting work to build an earthquake-safe structure for Sarita and the children in her care. The new building will have multiple rooms, giving them protection from disasters and more space to live better. “This help is making our lives easier,” says Sarita. “Thank you.”

Manisha and Ayushma, little girls with a love for learning

Manisha and Ayushma have been helped through BMS supported self help groups.
Manisha and Ayushma have been helped through BMS-supported self-help groups.

“She loves school,” says Manisha’s mum. “Even though only she just had her ear operation, she’s already asking when she can go back.” Manisha smiles at the ground, hugs her legs tight to her chest and sways back and forth on the straw mat.

The operations for ten-year-old Manisha and her neighbour, six-year-old Ayushma, wouldn’t have happened without the BMS-supported self-help group that their mothers attend. These groups were created in communities following the earthquakes as a way to empower people with disabilities, who were left particularly vulnerable.

Self-help groups are important because often people with disabilities are written off by their society and family members don’t know how to help. The mothers of Manisha and Ayushma struggled as they watched their daughters’ hearing deteriorate. “It was hard,” says Manisha’s mum. “It got to the point where we were having to yell at them constantly for them to understand anything.”

Manisha, Ayushma and their mothers.
Ayushma and Manisha, with their mothers.

When the mums brought this issue to their self-help group your giving has made possible, they found a solution. A BMS partner helped get the girls to a hospital. “We wouldn’t have known about this kind of service if it wasn’t for the group,” says Mainsha’s mum. “We feel very happy because financially we couldn’t have done this on our own.”

You’ve helped these two shy sweethearts. Thanks to their operations they will be able to learn, and to thrive.

Krishna, the loving son

Krishna and his mother.
Krishna has been blind since he was a child, he and his mother are being helped through your gifts to BMS.

“Our home was wiped out by the earthquakes,” says Krishna. “It was really hard. We had to live in these temporary shelters afterwards and it was especially hard for my mother because she’s getting older.”

Krishna’s mother Pahilee sits behind her son, watching over him as he speaks. You can see the love and concern they share for each other. They are also hard-working, and life has not been easy. They farm to make a living, yet they rarely have enough food to last them an entire year.

Krishna and neighbours at his home in Nepal.
Krishna and neighbours at his home in the mountains of Lamjung District.

On top of that, Krishna faces challenges everyday because he has been blind since the age of four. Krishna and his mother get a disability allowance from the Government, but they often have to rely on neighbours and borrow money to survive. Another earthquake could take everything they have.

Through your giving, BMS has helped to build a new earthquake-safe home for Krishna and his mother. “We are very thankful,” says Krishna. “And we are much safer now.”

Kamala, dreaming of the future

Kamala has been helped through BMS-supported self help groups.
Kamala suffered from severe depression. She has been helped through BMS-supported self help groups.

“I had depression,” says Kamala, her brown eyes glossy, near tears. “Because of this problem I couldn’t work to support my family and I had to quit my teacher training.” 28-year-old Kamala’s resilience is deeply inspiring.

Kamala has suffered with bone problems in her legs since she was a young girl. At 12 years old she had a surgery to fix the problem. Initially it worked, but six years later her condition came back, worse than it was before. The problems led to an infection in her thigh and made it extremely painful even to move.

“I would just lie in my bed all day,” says Kamala. “I didn’t even get up to use the bathroom, it was awful.” Her physical pain had a massive impact on her mental health, too. She stopped speaking to her friends and family and was starting to lose hope.

Two children in Gorkha District in Nepal.

Things got even more difficult for Kamala when she lost her home following the earthquakes. Despite all this, she wasn’t ready to give up. Seeking healing, she decided to join a BMS-supported self-help group. Members encouraged her to see a doctor and they prayed for her. This support led to two amazing things happening. A BMS partner supported Kamala financially and helped her get to a hospital, where she finally got the right medications to treat her depression and legs. And she became a Christian.

“I feel much better now,” says Kamala, with the biggest grin, the light coming back into her brown eyes. “My dream is still to be a teacher someday.”

The people here may have been marked by natural disaster, but their dreams are about so much more. Their stories are full of strength, resilience and love – and thanks to your support, we have had the privilege of coming alongside them to help. Rebuilding homes, providing access to healthcare and empowering people to chase fullness of life in Nepal – that’s the kind of work that you are very much a part of. It’s God’s work, it’s transforming and restoring lives in beautiful Gorkha, and it’s made a huge difference to the names you now know. Sarita. Manisha. Ayushma. Krishna. Kamala. Thank you.

if you're praying for this Click Here
icon

Building resilience: earthquake recovery continues in Nepal

Building resilience:

earthquake recovery continues in Nepal

Two enormous earthquakes rocked Nepal in 2015 and caused mass devastation; two years on, the healing isn’t over. Long after the cameras have stepped away, BMS World Mission hasn’t. Over the last two years we have given over £700,000 to Nepal to support recovery efforts and our latest project is focusing on helping people who were permanently injured by the earthquakes to rebuild their lives.

Destroyed buildings in Kathmandu following the 2015 earthquakes.

“You who stay close to the crushed
Cradle us
With wounded hands
And love, unshakeable.”

These are just a few of the powerful lines of a poem written by BMS mission worker Jenny Saunders that so perfectly captured the heart cry of Christians in Nepal and around the world after two earthquakes hit in April and May 2015. Jenny is a counsellor who was living and working in Nepal at the time and she wrote the poem in response to the earthquakes that caused mass destruction – killing over 8,000 people and injuring over 100,000.

Lives were devastated, but today we can see hopeful signs of restoration in a broken country. God stayed close to the Nepali people following the disaster, and BMS did too. We know that the scars left behind by a natural disaster might never fully heal, but our support is making a real difference.

click here if you're praying for Nepal
icon

In total, BMS has provided over £700,000 to support Nepal’s post-earthquake recovery. The money has helped Nepalis in a wide variety of ways. Straight after the earthquakes BMS support went towards providing emergency medical care, giving essentials like temporary shelters, food, water and hygiene packs and, co-ordinating relief efforts with partner organisations on the ground.

But healing takes time and in addition to an emergency response a long-term commitment to supporting Nepal was vital. “We knew that supporting Nepal after the earthquakes had to be so much more than providing blankets and tents,” says BMS Deputy Director for Mission, Steve Sanderson. “We wanted it to be about building the future resilience of the Nepali people.”

Be moved and inspired to pray by listening to Jenny’s beautiful poem in the video below. 

Recently, BMS authorised two additional relief grants amounting to over £40,000 to continue to support relief efforts in the country. We gave a grant of £8,633 to the Multipurpose Community Development Service (MCDS) in Nepal to support their important work in areas such as disaster risk reduction and relief. We also gave a grant of £33,000 to our partner the International Nepal Fellowship (INF) to support a project called GRACE that is providing services and advocating for people with disabilities.

Chris Drew, a BMS mission worker who is serving as the Country Director for INF International in Nepal says that the GRACE project is going to make a big difference. “It’s all about helping people re-establish their lives. Even though the earthquakes happened almost two years ago, there are still so many people in need of help. People with disabilities are particularly vulnerable after disasters.”

The goal is to help over 11,000 people through the project, specifically focusing on people with disabilities. Many of these people were injured during the earthquakes, but the project is also helping those who had disabilities before the disaster. We’re working to rebuild homes and schools that were damaged during the earthquakes, ensuring these buildings have proper facilities for people with disabilities. So far, five schools have been resconstructed and 105 homes are being rebuilt.

A woman and child in Nepal.

Beyond rebuilding homes and schools, we are also helping people with disabilities find jobs. “When the earthquakes happened many people lost their homes, but many also lost their way to make a living,” says Chris. “We’re doing what we can to help them rebuild that part of their lives too.”

“We haven’t forgotten the communities across Nepal,” says Steve. “We know that people are still recovering physically, emotionally and spiritually and we are committed to walking alongside them in solidarity.”

Much like that line in the poem, our support for Nepal remains unshakeable. Thank you for your support, we couldn’t do it without you.

Give today

Your prayers and gifts are making a big difference in providing hope and healing to people who need it most. Because of regular giving, we’re able to step in as soon as disasters strike to provide immediate and long-lasting support. You can help by giving to BMS disaster recovery today!