Mid-March, Southern Bangladesh: An over-crowded ferry sank in the Sandhya River, killing at least 17 persons.¹
April 12, Southern Philippines: A cargo boat overloaded with passengers capsized off Jolo Island; of the more than 200 persons aboard, at least 143 perished.¹
April 19/20, Near Mtito Andei, Kenya: An overcrowded bus collided head-on with a truck, killing 69 persons and injuring 30.¹
May 8, Dandipur, India: A bus crowded with passengers, some sitting on the roof, swerved off the road to avoid hitting an oncoming truck and plummeted into a canal; 20 persons died, and 50 were injured.¹
June 22, Sichuan province, China: A ferry carrying some 221 passengers, more than twice its capacity, overturned on the Chang Jiang (Yangtze River) after striking rocks in heavy fog; more than 100 persons died.¹
August 24, Eastern Kenya: A bus that was reportedly overloaded with passengers and traveling at a high speed fell from a bridge into a river near the town of Meru; at least 37 persons died, and 19 were injured.¹
December 25, Luoyang, China: A fire swept through a crowded dance hall on the fourth floor of a commercial building, killing 309 persons; the disaster occurred one week after the building had failed a safety inspection.¹
Did you catch a common thread in the above news stories?
Yes, they were all accounts of disasters where lives were lost, and people were injured.
And yes, they all occurred in countries where [name of organization] is working.
But another common thread exists-the crowding factor.
Crowding is a common problem in the modern era, especially in urban areas, and it's an even more acute problem in the Third World countries around the globe. When news stories like this seem to be depressingly common, we wonder what can we do to help.
Well, crowding was also a common problem in Biblical times-the Bible has many mentions of crowds and crowding. Even Jesus dealt with crowds during His years of ministry. What did He do with the crowds He encountered?
He welcomed them (Luke 9:10-12)
He fed them (Mark 8:5-7)
He healed them (Matt. 14:13-15)
He taught them (Mark 2:12-14)
He amazed and astonished them (Mark 11: 17-19/Matt. 22:32-34, respectively)
He delighted them (Mark 12: 36-38)
And, perhaps most importantly, He had compassion on them (Matt. 9:35-37).
Let's look to Him for guidance in what we should do-He is always the One to lead by example.
[Name of organization] works around the globe to welcome, feed, heal, and teach the crowds, and to lead them to our amazing, astonishing, and delightful Savior. And remember: your contribution helps carry out that work, whether it be through sponsorship, through a one-time monetary donation, or by supporting the ministry in prayer.
So, thank you for following Jesus' compassionate example in this over-crowded world.
May God bless you richly.
June 25, 2001
¹Charles P. Trumbull, Ed., "Disasters," Encyclopaedia Britannica 2001 Book of the Year, 2001.