Tsunami victims say ‘thank you’ to Southern Baptists

For audio interviews with tsunami survivors helped by Southern Baptists, plus videos and stories, click here.

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)--It has been nearly two years since an earthquake and a deadly tsunami hit parts of eight Asian nations, including Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka. Many survivors have tried to move on with their lives, while others are still working to regain normalcy and stability.

There are constant reminders of the day family, friends, homes and businesses were lost. But many survivors have found hope through the Southern Baptist Convention. In a new website launched through the International Mission Board, tsunami victims thank Southern Baptists for helping them rebuild their lives.

The new website features personal “thank yous” from tsunami survivors, video footage of the devastation and rebuilding efforts plus witnesses’ personal accounts of that tragic day.

Many Southern Baptists traveled to South and Southeast Asia volunteering their time. Others offered $16.8 million in financial support to help hundreds of thousands who lost their homes and everything they owned.

“My entire business, my restaurant, everything was gone,” said Weeset, a Thai fisherman. “It took me about a year ... before I finally found help.”

Weeset’s friend told him about the Southern Baptist Convention. It had helped his friend rebuild his house. And through the SBC, Weeset was able to rebuild his beachfront restaurant.

Because of the generosity of Southern Baptists, many victims have been able to start over. New homes have been built, food and clean water have been dispersed and means of making a living restored. As a result, many survivors who were helped have also come to know the Lord.

“There are many organizations that have worked in this area,” said Lamai Redson, who lives in a house built by the Southern Baptist Convention with her family of seven. Redson also said he was impressed that, while some other relief organizations have packed up and left, the SBC is still helping people. “If someone makes mention of the Southern Baptist [Convention], everyone knows of them because they are still here working.”

Southern Baptists helped build more than 200 homes in Redson’s village.

“They have gained a reputation for not building simple houses, but trying to restore our houses just like they were before the tsunami,” she said.

Suthep Saithaiduu is another tsunami victim who was helped by Southern Baptists. Saithaiduu makes his living as a fisherman; however, he lost all his equipment when the tsunami hit.

“After that day, I went to stay at a temporary community built by the Southern Baptist [Convention],” Saithaiduu said. “During that time they provided our community with 40 boats,” he explained, grateful that he had received one of them for fishing.

You can view these and other messages of gratitude on the IMB tsunami website.


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