Promise Keepers Head To India To Rebuild Tsunami-Ravaged Areas

Responding to "God's leading," and with the mission of transforming men worldwide, the president of Promise Keepers (PK) took a team to visit India to discern if "impact teams" may be needed to help rebuild the "tsunami ravaged areas of South Asia."

According to PK's president Tom Fortson, a remote fishing village near Killai, India received the Promise Keepers team and other relief workers "like heroes." Celebrating the launch of three "large ocean-ready fishing boats," and six smaller fishing boats perfect for the back water inlets that were breeding spot for fish. The men performed a battle-dance with sticks flying.

PK's vision of "Men Transformed Worldwide," has taken them from "life-changing conferences in the U.S." to the world arena, including the rebuilding effort.

"Men love to build," said Steve Chavis, Director of Communications of Promise Keepers, a men's ministry known for national conferences of over 10,000.

President Fortson states, "...Promise Keepers is not getting into the relief business... But our hearts continue to go out to the people so devastated by this natural disaster."

The trip was arranged with the help of New Directions International, a Christian relief organization, exemplifying the ideal of ministries working together

"Campus Crusade for Christ president Steve Douglas recently reminded a group of Christian leaders that we are now in an era of collaboration," states Fortson. "It is essential to...maximize our respective strengths."

Chavis said not only will PK look to arrange for "a couple of building teams to work alongside local contractors and tradesmen," but PK "want[s] to help raise some money to buy boats for fisherman" as there are a lot of boats washed inland that can be salvaged.

There were plenty of rebuilding opportunities spied by PK. Fishing boats are one opportunity. One widow who lost nearly her entire immediate family was presented with a new boat, "a second chance for her and her remaining son to re-build a life," stated Fortson in his fourth journal entry which can be accessed on the PK website.

"The fishing boats, at around $3000 each make the difference for these families. They were outfitted with trolling motors, Greaves 10 horsepower models."

Schools are another issue. New Directions had plans to re-build the school building as a 600 square foot structure with furniture and fixtures, and PK saw it "nearly complete, with only part of the roofing to be finished, and the school desks yet to arrive."

"At $9,000, it is remarkable how much committed local ministers can accomplish with few resources," Fortson wrote.

Though fully restoring the area to its pre-tsunami status is "unrealistic," as even with the best coordination and materials, only a measure of restoration can be achieved, still, these restoration projects can have the potential to "build up the body of Christ and provide a credible, lasting Christian witness in the tsunami-torn area," states Fortson.

The seventh and the last "promise" that all Promise Keepers have pledged to keep is to have a lasting and positive influence in the community and around the world, and Tom Fortson endeavors to bring men to keep that promise as 'God-led' opportunities are revealed.