19 December 2005
The Telegraph (UK) assesses the sea changes in Nam Khem, the Thai town hit hardest by last December’s tsunami, almost a full year after the fact. In that time, the number of churches in the immediate area has risen from zero to approximately 20, due largely to the work of U.S. evangelical groups, such as the Life in Action ministry, which reports that many hundreds of villagers have converted since the tsunami, some admittedly because they’d received financial help from the Western-financed evangelical organizations that the local Buddhist temples couldn’t offer — a circumstance described by an abbot at a village temple that is still housing 20 families displaced by the disaster. “‘The way to help the people is totally different,’” he said. “‘If you are Buddhist, when the people jump in the water and ask for help a Buddhist teaches you how to swim. A Christian just gives them a hand and pulls them up.’”