Redwood Volunteers Helping Pakistani Victims

Post a Comment » Written on December 21st, 2005     
Filed under: News
SANTA ROSA, CA (December 21, 2005)  – As winter begins to arrive in Pakistan,  nine members of Redwood Covenant Church are in the beleaguered nation to  help build shelters for those left homeless by the October 8 earthquake  that killed more than 79,000 people.

Another member has traveled with a team to minister to women.
An estimated 2.5 million people were left homeless, many of whom have  been difficult to reach because they lived in remote mountain areas.  News reports quote observers as stating the ground heaved up an  estimated eight to ten feet before dropping back down, reflecting the  intensity of the earthquake.
The nine men from Redwood Covenant were scheduled to remain until  December 20. They have joined with about 130 other volunteers from  around the world to build approximately 40 shelters. The volunteers, who  are being flown by helicopter into remote regions, are being  enthusiastically welcomed by the residents, says Redwood Covenant team  member Brian Lowney, with meals being provided by the residents. The  local military commander has assigned a guard to protect them at night.
The men range in age from 20 to 60. In addition to Lowney, other members  of the team are Michael Chamberlain, Andrew Almile, Francisco  Henningsen, Mark Rechin, Kyle O’Connor, Les Negley, Scott Selberg, and  Dale LePera.
The group raised $35,000 from sources outside the church to fund the  trip, says pastor John Strong. Marmot, a company that manufactures  high-end outdoor equipment, supplied the team with clothing, tents and  sleeping bags that will be left in Pakistan when the team returns home.  Team members also brought additional sums of money to further help their  work.
The men are not the only people from the church to minister in Pakistan.  Julie Caldwell traveled with a different ministry team (not from  Redwood) to China over the summer, and members traveled to Pakistan  following the earthquake. “Nearly every home and business was reduced to  rubble,” she wrote in a letter. “Pictures and video footage truly don’t  give an accurate picture of the physical destruction.”
The emotional toll has been even greater than the physical. The team’s  Pakistani van driver lost 29 members of his family. A three-story school  for girls collapsed – reduced to five feet of rubble – killing  approximately 200 girls, one-fourth of the student population. Their  bodies still had not been recovered some five weeks after the quake,  Caldwell says.
The team also provided the survivors with books and book bags so their  education can continue. “Our team spent three days counseling and  playing with these girls,” Caldwell says. “From schoolmaster to student,  what began (with some resistance to Americans) turned into incredible  gratitude.”
Caldwell and her team also spent a day in a tent camp that 3,000  individuals now call home. The tragedy led to the breakdown of  longstanding social barriers. “At this tent camp, we counseled and  prayed with 250 women in one setting, Caldwell says. “This is unheard of  in this culture, as women are to be in public only with their husbands.”
Nearly every woman came forward when they were invited to be prayed for,  Caldwell says. “Women wept as they shared their stories while we held  them in our arms. They held our hands tightly, not wanting to let us leave.”
Copyright © 2011 The Evangelical Covenant Church.
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