GFA Responds as Bible College, Slums Swamped by Record Floods
first published: July 27, 2005 – Gospel for Asia
The Gospel for Asia Bible college at Mumbai (Bombay) has been swamped by the record flooding that has hit the Mumbai area over the past several days, and 12 churches led by GFA-supported psators in the city’s slum areas have been completely washed away.
GFA President K.P. Yohannan reported from India that 28 hours of non-stop rain has broken all the previous records in the Bombay area. The city’s slums, where 5 million of the city’s 16 million people live, were particularly hard hit.
“Keep in mind some 5 million people live in makeshift huts with dirt floors in the lower parts of Bombay,” Brother K.P. said. “It is said that 500 people have already died, and the death toll continues to rise. But one political leader I talked to said that no one really knows how many hundreds and hundreds may have died from among the poorest of the poor in the slums.”
GFA has 28 pastors working in and around the slum areas, and they are all reported safe.
“But we have 12 churches in the slums and it looks like all of them were completely washed away,” Brother K.P. added. “Lots of the believers are in terrible suffering.”
“Keep in mind that these people keep their rice and other food items and possessions on the dirt floors of their tiny huts. And they have nowhere to go—there is no building they can climb up and find hope. So everything was destroyed.”
Bible College Damaged
At the GFA Bible college on the outskirts of Bombay the ground floor was under four feet of water, and upper floors were damaged by the heavy rains. The school’s Bible study materials were damaged by the rain and flood, even though most of them were moved to the building’s upper floors.
“Moving the literature didn’t help very much, because the building is old and leaking,” said a GFA leader in India.
Because of the floods, classes were suspended for two days. Some staff members were not able to walk from their homes to the Bible college because the roads were under water. GFA’s Mumbai leader, Pastor Sam, was stranded in Pune, about one hour by air from Bombay, as the Bombay runway was under water.
The school’s 80 students were forced to the upper floors, and still have not been able to return to the ground. Hopefully, with the waters beginning to recede, they will be able to leave the building soon.
“When they do, they will begin to go out and give food and water to the poor and suffering people,” Brother K.P. explained.
“There is going to be a tremendous amount of suffering without drinking water and food for these people—pain and the suffering in some ways we cannot even describe. So we are praying that the Lord will give us wisdom as our brothers go about trying to meet the needs of these poor people.”
“Like the tsunami situation, this is another opportunity for us to minister to people who are in need in the name of Jesus and share with them that ‘we do this because of Jesus’.”
Please pray for the millions of people whose lives have been placed in turmoil by the floods, especially for those in the slums. And pray especially for our GFA students, pastors, and church members as they go out and serve others, even in the midst of their own suffering.