I was sitting with two Nepali Baptist leaders as they shared their stories with me of their experiences during the earthquakes that totally changed their lives.
One shared: I was sitting in church with the other 30 people that Saturday morning in April. No one ran out when we felt the earth move. The service was just about to end, so we continued in the closing prayer. After the weak walls started collapsing, we got out of the falling down building.
The other’s story was a bit different: I had just finished preaching and was praying the closing prayer. We all heard this BIG noise, thinking at first it was just a plane flying overhead. Then the ceiling and walls started cracking. Knowing it was no longer safe inside, we filed out and sat on the surrounding fields. Since my two young adult children weren’t with us, my wife and I were very scared. Phones were not working. More than an hour later, we received a 'we’re safe’ text from them.
After finishing their stories, they went on to tell my about their meeting together that very evening – they wanted to do something for others – thus the relief committee was established. The first relief money received by them was from the One Great Hour of Sharing. Now their ideas could be realized; volunteers gathered to help; supplies were purchased and organized for distribution; rural village communities received emergency relief aids. The discussion ended with our making priorities together for a plan for the next phase of reconstruction.
Just a few days before, the 8-year-long-awaited constitution of Nepal came into effect. Nepal became a federal democratic republic. Celebrations began: firecrackers banged, brightly colored strings of lights were hung from porches and tree branches, groups of people lit candles together, and a two-day government holiday was declared.
But sadly, within three days the celebrations ended quickly. An unofficial “blockade” along the southern border with India started. Almost all needed supplies for this landlocked country come from India into Nepal. For a number of unclear political reasons, the Indian government has prevented trucks carrying much needed supplies to cross into Nepal for nearly two months now. The absence of these supplies has caused havoc in all aspects of life: cooking gas, fuel for vehicles, food, medical supplies, just to name a few. Schools have been closed, people now have to buy wood for cooking, vehicle drivers have no work, scant amounts of food cause stores to be frequently closed, and tourists are absent from the streets.
The affect on IM’s partners in their being able to move forward in earthquake reconstruction is very limited. But, inch by inch small relief efforts continue, while larger building reconstruction is on hold.
Please pray for an end to this unofficial “blockade.”
My prayer for Nepal, IM’s partners, and my personal friends is from Isaiah 43:1-3:
But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine…. when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.’
Certainly IM’s partners are living proof of this promise.
Yes, they are “affected people helping affected people.” But the amazing thing about them – everyone looked beyond their own experience. They worked together to provide immediate relief to people they didn’t know.
And they are looking forward to doing even more!
Thank you for being a part of Nepal and IM’s partners as they look forward to do more,