Feature Article: Rising Above the Storm
“But you, dress yourself for work; arise, and say to them everything that I command you. Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them. And I, behold, I make you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its oﬀicials, its priests, and the people of the land. They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the Lord, to deliver you.”—Jeremiah 1:17-19
Often, it is in the midst of the storms in our life when we really recognise our desperate need for a Saviour. We long for someone to pull us from the turbulent water sucking us into its murky depths. Our hearts call out for someone to save us.
Many a time, Jesus comes to our rescue like He did for the disciples who were caught in a boat rocking in the waves of a lake during a violent storm. The significance of Jesus calming the storm as recounted in the Gospels is pertinent to what’s happening in our world today and is evidence of God’s love for us. Global crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, Asian floods and wars have a significant impact on our lives.In troubling times, the intense surges of emotion within us are due to our humanity, while the chaotic circumstances around us are beyond our control.
But do we have more faith in the storms of life than in the mercy and grace of God? Let us arise in faith, for Scripture says that those who put their trust in God are immovable like Mount Zion (Psalm 125:1).
Arising to Help Those Affected by War
The unprecedented crisis caused by the ongoing violent war in Ukraine has had grave impact on the entire nation of 43 million people. Fear and uncertainty has gripped the nation since Russia’s large-scale military invasion on 24 February 2022.
Rostyslav Stasyuk, from the Ukrainian Bible Society, updates on the situation on 1 March: “Today, Kharkiv, Kyiv and many other cities and towns have suﬀered from especially heavy and violent shelling with dozens of Ukrainians killed and injured. There is massive damage to people’s homes and infrastructure.”
As of May 2022, a relentless bombardment of the country’s cities and towns has led to more than 3,380 civilian deaths, destroyed civilian infrastructure, and forced more than 5.8 million people to flee the Ukraine border to neighbouring countries such as Poland,Romania and Hungary, forming Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II. Host countries and aid agencies are trying to meet the astounding needs of these refugees, most of whom are women and children. Over 7.7 million people are also internally displaced within Ukraine, forced to take refuge insafer regions or in subway shelters. Many elderly or disabled people and other vulnerable populations that don’t have the ability to flee are left behind.
All of this is exacerbating the humanitarian catastrophe on the ground in Ukraine, as shelling cuts oﬀ power stations and other supply lines, eﬀectively trapping people within war zones in sub-zero temperatures without electricity or water, and with dwindling food, fuel, and medical supplies.“Colleagues from the Southern branch in Kherson, which is currently surrounded by the enemy forces and experiencing food and fuel shortages, visited local bomb shelters with Scriptures and humanitarian aid to bring encouragement to people staying there. Our team also continues serving in Kyiv,” says Rostyslav Stasyuk.
Having been granted the Commissioner of Charities permit for fundraising, the Bible Society is targeting to raise $200,000 to help at least 2,000 families and has gathered more than $150,000 in funds so far to support these victims by providing humanitarian relief to meet their basic needs and to alleviate the suﬀering and pains of this war by giving them hope in the midst of war, so that they may rise from the ashes.
The funds raised in this campaign have been used to help over a thousand families and have been utilised for food, household essentials, first aid and medicine, clothes and blankets, accommodation and transport. We will also provide financial resources for the Ukrainian Bible Society to reach its goal of providing 56,000 Bibles to Ukrainians, as it received a staggering number of requests for Bibles.
It is the Bible Society’s prayer that God’s Word will bring comfort, peace and reconciliation to the Ukrainians. We hope to be a channel of help to the people of Ukraine, as we have worked closely with the Ukraine Bible Society and World Evangelical Alliance and continue to do so to provide hope and assistance in rebuilding their nation. To donate to this worthy cause, visitbible.org.sg/donate.
Helping Flood-stricken Countries Rebuild Their Lives
During the monsoon season each year, most Asian countries such as Cambodia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka experience torrential rains that cause heavy flooding. In 2020 alone, storms and typhoons caused flash floods and landslides, destroying many infrastructures, including residences, agricultural land, hospitals, and schools. As a result, many were killed, injured or went missing. Over 8.5million people had been aﬀected in all, with two million forced to evacuate their homes. As these countries attempt to emerge from the catastrophic damage caused by floods and landslides that were triggered by multiple tropical storms striking in quick succession in the last quarter of 2020,The Bible Society of Singapore has worked closely with our sister Bible Societies of aﬀected regions to provide holistic assistance to the communities in need. The Commissioner of Charities permit we have obtained has enabled us to gather more than $130,000 in funds. The funds have been used to provide humanitarian relief and hope to those suﬀering, to enable them to rise from the devastation and rebuild their lives.
A Channel of Blessing to the Destitute
But the situation remains dire and there is continual need for aid to the people in these countries and for them to receive the hope of the Gospel. Just as how your immense support has raised more than $300,000 for humanitarian relief in Myanmar, where we provided Bibles and basic commodities such as food, drinking water and cooking essentials to the people in Myanmar, we invite you to continue partnering with us as we reach out to one another with God’s love, arising in unity as one Body of Christ.
As the Bible Society continues to work closely with our sister Bible Society and evangelical communities in these aﬀected regions, our prayer is that the Word of God will bring divine peace and perseverance that will remain in the hearts of those suﬀering, even through troubled times.