Sri Lanka partnership bearing fruit years after tsunami

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Aid brought to Sri Lanka by Texas Baptist Men after the tsunami is still having an effect years later. (Gospel for Asia Photos)

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka–Over the past several days, Gospel for Asia’s Compassion Services teams have been providing clean water to Sri Lanka’s flood victims by decontaminating wells with the equipment and knowledge they received from Texas Baptist Men during the post-Tsunami relief efforts in 2005.

In all, the GFA relief teams have brought aid to more than 1,000 families on the flood-swept island nation. Many villages are stranded without food and clean water. Flooding and landslides swept away crops and contaminated the water with sand and debris. It took more than nine days for the standing water to go down in some villages.

A GFA team cleans a well using equipment provided by Texas Baptist Men.

Because the water is contaminated, waterborne illnesses have developed. A severe strain of malaria is spreading in some villages, claiming additional lives. Without the training they received from the Texas Baptist Men, the teams would not be able to provide such specialized and necessary relief efforts.

“I would like to thank the Texas Baptist Men who trained our people during the post Tsunami relief work,” shared Lal Vanderwall, Gospel for Asia’s leader in Sri Lanka. “They gave us equipment and tractors for the work, and their partnership with us continues to make a difference in our country nearly four years later.”

The Sri Lankan government has sent several letters of appreciation to the GFAS teams. And because of their training and effectiveness, it has requested more help from GFA to clean wells in specific cities.

Traveling in vans filled with supplies, GFA missionaries and volunteers continue to distribute staple foods such as rice, dahl, sugar, dried and canned fish, salt and tea—along with clean, dry clothing—to families affected by the floods.

A crowd gathers to receive distribution of aid from Gospel for Asia teams. Training and equipment they received from Texas Baptist Men is still being put to use.

In the wake of the devastating floods, the teams come across hundreds of people who were stranded—such as a group of 25 families who were left with no hope until the GFA vans drove by. Their homes had been washed away by the floods.

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Complete recovery from the floods is expected to take another year, and GFA’s Compassion Services teams will continue meeting victim’s physical and spiritual needs for as long as it takes.

Gospel for Asia, an evangelical mission organization based in Carrollton, Texas, is a Kingdom Partner with Tarrant Baptist Association and has an ongoing partnership with the Texas Baptist Men.


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