Thanks again to everyone who has sponsored me – I have raised over £500 so far, less than £300 to go!
I'll be on holiday for the next couple of weeks, so don't expect to get a reply from me if you email me!
This summer I am being deployed to the region in Pakistan where, on October 8, 2005, a severe earthquake killed 70,000 (more than the population of Leamington or Maidstone) and made around 3 million homeless (roughly the population of the West Midlands or Kent + Sussex). You probably heard about it on the news at the time, and there were many appeals for help and funding and so on. You've probably heard me telling you I'm going there as well – I'm quite excited about it!
In response to the disaster, the Salvation Army in Pakistan requested assistance from International Headquarters to set up a team to help in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, and in the long term reconstruction of facilities in the area. Over the whole earthquake area (shown on map 2, overleaf), thousands of schools, health centres and community facilities need rebuilding, along with the homes of ordinary people. The Salvation Army is currently involved in rebuilding a school and a community centre, as well as a community assistance project across 40 affected villages. I will be joining a team of 2 British Salvation Army Officers, and 2 Pakistani SA Soldiers that make up the team who live in a house in Mansehra, travelling to various areas around Mansehra and Balakot (see map 2 overleaf).
This trip will be an opportunity for me to serve God in a new and challenging way, along with the ordinary people of Pakistan. I hope the work I do will be useful, and also expect to gain some unique experiences – I'll tell you all about it when I get back!
Along those lines, I want this to be something that doesn't just benefit me or the people I am going to, but it can be useful for you too! Through my experiences, and the stories and information I bring back, I will try to give all of you a better understanding and appreciation of the work of the Salvation Army that is being done to help people in need on the other side of the world.
I also need your help. Going to Pakistan will present opportunities, challenges and difficulties I have not faced before – it is definitely not within my 'comfort zone', I will have to step out of the boat and any other suitable catch phrase you can think of. I need your prayers – that is the most powerful and effective way of reaching me in Pakistan! Saying that, I will have internet connection, so feel free to email me – I'll try to send out personal updates and write in my blog (http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/danielpaxton/ – no I haven't written much in it yet!) to let you know how we're doing. Please pray for the team's safety, for the success of the work we are carrying out, for wisdom for when we are planning our work or have to make difficult decisions, and for the demonstration God's love in everything we do, even if Pakistan's Muslim status makes it difficult at times for Christians.
Unfortunately getting to Pakistan requires more than just prayer (short of a pretty amazing miracle!) – I may say I'll get there 'On a wing and a prayer' – well I need the wing too. This is the other thing I need your help with – flying to Pakistan (well I would go by train, but it would a very long time to go the long way there!) will cost up to roughly £600, vaccinations (I have to have loads!) and other health costs will be more than £200 (I have already spent £164!). These are the main costs I will face, as board and lodging will are provided in the Salvation Army's house in Mansehra, and the team have a vehicle for getting around, so I'm looking to raise at least £800 in sponsorship money – that works out at about 20p a mile, or 13p a kilometre – not bad really (Pakistan is about 4000 miles or 6000 km away).
I would be very grateful if you could help me – pray or pay – I'm doing both! Any money offered which I do not require for my own costs I will put towards the Salvation Army's own funds for the reconstruction work.
Many thanks and God bless,
Mang School, which the Salvation Army is rebuilding:
A view of part of the school site, and the road leading up to it:
Robert Tariq (one of the SA team in Mansehra) and Mike McKee from IHQ:
The outside of the SA team's house in Mansehra – a 4 bedroom bungalow:
A bedroom in the SA team's house:
Other rooms in the house – reception/office:
Transportation in style! Rugged transport for getting to remote villages: