Earlier this year, Gospel for Asia provided 40 tsunami-affected families with brand new fishing boats

“It’s like when children in America wake up to find all their brightly wrapped presents,” wrote our GFA correspondent. “Only for these brothers and sisters in Tamil Nadu, these bright, shiny presents are going to make a difference in their lives for years and years to come.”

After the December 2004 tsunami, thousands of fishermen lost their means to make a living. They either tried to make money another way or depended on aid from relief camps like those Gospel for Asia set up. So when GFA leaders presented 40 such families with new fishing boats in a special ceremony in July, they were giving the families a way to support themselves again. Our GFA correspondent was there to cover the ceremony and shares what he saw:

“Fifteen boats were given out today. Five were 31-foot boats that each serve four families, and ten were 26-foot that each serve two families. So that’s 40 families who weren’t able to earn a living for the last seven months, but will now be able to do so.”

“They’re not like a bass pro boat or anything like what we’re used to seeing in America. They’re just simple boats with a center compartment to store equipment and hardware. And at the back mounts a fairly small outboard motor - I think 9.6 horsepower. They use these boats in the open ocean and stack the fish on the deck.”

Ebenezer Samuel, GFA Director of Missions, presided over the ceremony. He presented each family with their ownership certificate. Then he went from boat to boat, gathering the new owners and praying with them to commission their boats.

“Brother Ebenezer said the people were so grateful for this gesture of Jesus’ love,” our correspondent reported. “Many of these families had already come to Christ through previous relief efforts.”

“I just can’t imagine being in the situation that these families have been in for the last seven months, not having any way to earn a living. So it’s very exciting to know that through the loving gifts of people in the West, there are 40 families in India now who will be able to put food on the table and send their children to school.”

“Just seeing the joy on their faces as they received their new, brightly painted boats…it’s like Christmas. These people are so grateful for this new chance in life.”