YWAM Sends First Team To Sri Lanka - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/11/05-Garden Valley

YWAM Sends First Team To Sri Lanka

Youth With A Mission, near Lindale, has sent its first relief team to Sri Lanka. At the YWAM campus today, four relief workers loaded up supplies and said goodbye to their loved ones.

They're not packing light. Two men and two women are leaving home for up to a month to help Sri Lankans devastated by the tsunami. They're taking with them medical supplies, water filtration devices, and dried foods.

It's a journey that will take the missionaries into risky territory, where other relief workers have already been stricken by food poisoning.

"I'm not worried," Sharon Ambler, with YWAM's Strategic Frontiers Department, said. "We take as many precautions as we can and we trust God and pray that He'll give us protection."

The relief team includes Ambler, a respiratory therapist and 20-year missionary, whose husband will stay behind to take care of their four children, and Chris Lascelles, whose wife, Debbie, is at the helm of the program that's sending the volunteers overseas, MercyWorks.

"We're going to go help the children that have no water coming to their house," Chris told his two young children. "Some of them have lost their mommies and daddies, and we're going to go help them."

The 4-member team will pave the way for two dozen more relief workers to follow in the next two weeks. They'll be setting up medical clinics and offering grief counseling.

"Lord, we thank you so much for this opportunity to help the people that have been affected by the tsunami," Dr. Willis Lawton prayed, as he and a dozen other missionaries held hands in a circle.

Before leaving, the missionaries prayed for wisdom and guidance.

"I pray for safe travel, God," Dr. Elizabeth Primus said. "And I pray that you would surround them with your host of angels at all times by day and by night."

"Jesus said, 'A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you,'" Chris quoted from the Bible.

And that is what the four men and women will do.

While they left for Sri Lanka, others who stayed behind at the YWAM campus prepared to send out the next team. Dr. Elizabeth Primus sorted medicine the medical relief team will give out in Sri Lanka, starting next week. Several thousand dollars worth of medicines were donated by five local pharmacies -- the largest donation coming from Fleming's Pharmacy in Lindale.

Also heading to Sri Lanka are 11 East Texans from the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Team. They left from Harrison County today to meet up with members in Dallas. On Thursday they will fly to Sri Lanka together.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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