More than 1.6 million homes were destroyed and 1.3 million acres of fertile crop land were damaged as the cyclone swept across an area known as “the rice bowl of Myanmar.”
Then GFA missionaries and volunteers showed up with emergency food and supplies. The missionary leader himself was on the crew of volunteers who helped serve food to survivors who took refuge at the GFA Bible College in Yangon (Rangoon). He, and every other missionary who served with him, were letting their lives preach the sermons during those days.
To an extent, this is what I was struggling with on a previous post (Hacking the Apostle’s Creed). I think there are times to celebrate missions over conversions.
I remember a story of the first supply plane that landed after a terrible storm in Africa, and the people who were without food or water gathered around the plane. The suppliers opened boxes and started handing out….bibles. Whoops.
So, kudos to the missionaries for appropriate action. However, there is still a comparative aspect to the action that bothers me:
The people in this majority Buddhist country were stunned at the love these Christians showed to them. Two families who went without food for seven days after the storm articulated their thoughts about Jesus to the missionaries who brought them food.
“Buddha did nothing while we were suffering. But your Jesus loves us,” the missionary reported. “Now every Sunday they are coming to church and worshipping the Lord.”
I’m unsure how I feel about criticizing the humane ethic of other religions and turning charity into a competition. While I know the missionary is recounting the words of another, emphasizing the “superior” help of Christianity over Buddhism is not very nice, nor accurate. While the numbers may say that Christians help more people than Buddhists, that doesn’t mean that Christians are “better” than Buddhists.
In short, charity shouldn’t be a competition between faiths, or even between churches or groups within the same faith. We all do what we can, and be thankful for the opportunity to help.