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Kashmir flooding

The worst flooding Kashmir has seen in decades left hundreds dead and hundreds of thousands stranded. So far, almost 200,000 people have been rescued from the flooding but as many as 100,000 more are still marooned.

Since the rains hit around a week ago, authorities are now beginning to prepare for a flood of water-borne diseases.

"It is going to take another three to four days to see the real damage. But right now, our biggest worry is about an epidemic breakout," explained the director general of the National Disaster Response Force in India. "Many parts are still submerged in four to five feet of water and we are concentrating on supplying anti-diarrhoea, anti-infection medicines and using chlorine to avert diseases."

Diarrhoea and vomiting are some of the biggest causes of death in children worldwide.


Story time

This week in Mongolia, Minister of Culture Ts. Oyungerel underlined the importance of traditional storytelling at the launch ceremony of ‘King Epic Palace’ – a government-backed facility promoting storytelling and the arts.

For us, stories are a great way to unwind and briefly escape from the confines of reality. Mostly, stories are for children – unless you change the word to something like ‘novel’ or ‘book’ and then stories are for adults.

Outside the West, stories are so much more than a pleasant distraction; they are often the definitive go-to method for presenting truth, teaching, passing tradition, explaining, and reasoning. Stories are for everyone and are a cornerstone of culture. The vast majority of unreached people groups come from cultures where a carefully explained presentation of the gospel will get you nowhere, but a well-crafted story cuts like a knife.

Storytelling is a difficult art to master, so please be praying for our partners all around Asia trying to reach the unreached. Pray that the packaging they use to present the gospel is never a stumbling block for the listeners.


Cracks in the system

North Korea continues, slowly, to open its doors. Newspapers in South Korea report continued growth of capitalism in the country.

Since the collapse of the North's state-run food ration system, the authorities have been forced to phase it out in favour of independent small businesses. This is most commonly seen in the likes of open-air markets. While still technically illegal, farmers, workers and craftsmen are generally allowed to exchange their goods at these gatherings. Since these have proved successful over the last couple years, others are becoming more bold and entrepreneurial.

Papers report stories such as one market trader who managed to start his own textile factory after pooling money from his family and friends.

Legally, the company still belongs to the state, but the trader is in charge of hiring workers and oversees the entire business, from raw materials purchases to production, sales and even the distribution of profits. Each of the dozen or so workers at the factory earns around $50 (over a hundred times the ordinary salary in the North), with 30% of the factory's monthly revenues handed over to authorities in corporate tax.

Stories like these are encouraging news for us. We can praise God for the better standards of living for workers in such businesses, for the increasing opportunities foreigners (mostly Chinese) have to trade with and meet North Koreans, and more evidence of God working in this dark land.


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