Thank you for making 2017 another remarkable year of service for Compassion Services International. Our world was marked by an unprecedented number of natural disasters in 2017. Because of your prayers and support, CSI was not only able to respond to Hurricane victims from Texas, Florida and The Caribbean but we were able to help with additional requests from 9 different countries.
Our first request came in the very first month of the new year. From January 21st through the 22nd 41 tornadoes ripped through the state of Georgia killing more than a dozen people and leaving a path of destruction. Many people lost everything and were forced into shelters or into the homes of friends and family until it was safe to return to their homes to assess the damage. With the hope of offering a sense of normalcy in this tragic and stressful time, CSI provided gift cards that victims could use to purchase personal items, food, and clothing as they began the process of rebuilding. We are thankful for New Life in Albany, Georgia and their help with the distribution of these gift cards.
Just after the New Year in Chile, more than 100 fires burned hundreds of thousands of acres. By February 10th many of the fires had been extinguished but there were several still burning. The fires destroyed homes, land, livestock and killed at least 11 people. In February, CSI was able to help rebuild the home of a church member whose home was severely damaged in the fires. In the same month, we were also able to provide building supplies to a church in Louisiana that was still recovering from the massive flooding the previous summer.
March brought heavy rains to Peru dumping more than 10 times the amount of normal rainfall. Homes and other structures suffered great damage because they were not built to withstand this amount of heavy rainfall. The heavy rains caused mudslides, overflowing riverbanks, displaced thousands, isolated hundreds more because of the washed out roadways and was responsible for more than 70 deaths. CSI partnered with missionaries on the ground to help repair church buildings like the one above, purchase food, clean water, and other relief items.
As Spring began to blossom in many areas villages in South Sudan were under attack by violent groups. Families fled for their lives and more than 5000 people found their way to Mayom Totin where there is a young church plant. This town was thankfully peaceful and had security and so the families were able to live in safety. However, there was not enough food and medical assistance and many people arrived with injuries sustained during the attacks. The members of the church were doing all they could to share what they had with those who had arrived but they did not have enough to meet the needs. Thanks to your generosity funding for food and medical supplies were sent so that the church could provide support to several families.
The month of May brought the worst flooding Sri Lanka had experienced in 14 years. More than 250 people were killed one of which was a young boy whose family attended one of the local churches that CSI was able to support during this tragic time. Along with this church, CSI was able to assist 3 additional churches. The 34 families that CSI helped from these churches received things like food, water, and personal items to help them as they sifted through the rubble in the aftermath. While these may seem like small things in the face of such disaster it’s often a tremendous blessing to those suffering because they do not have to burdened with worrying about the basics in the face of all they do have to do and think about.
The photo above shows some of the damage to the ceiling at the medical clinic in Liberia that CSI supports. The damage was a result of heavy rains that caused major leaks in the roof of the clinic. Patients would have to be shifted from room to room because in some rooms the damage was so bad. Without the proper repairs, the clinic had been in danger of being temporarily shut down. Since hundreds of people rely on the services that the clinic provides each week and many of the patients travel great distances to get there shutting the doors even temporarily was not something the staff wanted to do. So many of you responded to this need and the clinic was able to remain opened and the roof was repaired.
In July CSI was able to continue the rebuilding efforts in Haiti by providing the funding to rebuild a church in Miragoane that was badly damaged during Hurricane Matthew. While the immediate emergency situation is over CSI remains committed to helping our partners in Haiti. The only way we can do this is because of the faithful ongoing support of people like you. The work on the church in Kenscoff that was also badly damaged during the storm was completed over the summer.
As the summer months rolled on several days of heavy rain in Sierra Leone caused a massive mudslide that devastated an entire area of Freetown and killed more than 1000 people. Residents had limited access to clean drinking water and toilet facilities. Not only did thousands of people lose their homes but because few residents have bank accounts they saw their life savings washed away. CSI was able to provide more than 40 families with food, clean water, and other emergency supplies as the people affected began the arduous task of clean-up and rebuilding.
This summer saw multiple hurricanes do tremendous damage from Texas and Florida to the Caribbean. CSI was able to quickly respond with supplies, medical support, and financial assistance. You can read more about our efforts HERE in issues 27-10 and 27-12 of the IBC Perspectives.
In September CSI was able to rebuild the home of a Muslim convert in West Africa that was destroyed by a severe storm. This man was the only believer in his town and he used his humble shelter as a place to share the gospel with his community. Many structures in the town were destroyed or badly damaged during this storm and this man’s home was the first to be rebuilt which was a great testimony of how the one true God provides for His people. Thank you for giving. So many times meeting the physical needs of people opens doors and hearts for people to receive the gospel message.
The UPCI General Conference was also in Septemeber and we were able to travel to Kansas City, MO and have three exhibits in the exhibit hall. You may have seen Big Red at one of our displays. Big Red traveled thousands of miles delivering hurricane relief supplies.
During the last quarter of the year, CSI continued to work in the Caribbean offering assistance to hurricane victims, schools and was able to send a medical team of volunteers to Puerto Rico.
Thank you for all of your prayers and support in 2017. We look ahead to 2018 with great faith and hope. Be sure to like us on Facebook and to follow us on Instagram for the latest information. We also want to remind you that February 25, 2018, is Compassion Sunday. Please join us as we prepare for the upcoming year. When you give on Compassion Sunday you are investing in furthering the mission of CSI. We depend on your faithful giving to ensure that we can meet as many needs as possible each year. We have free resources that you can use on our website. If you just can’t wait until the 25th you can make a donation today. Donate Now to the Compassion Sunday Fund or any of our other projects.