On April 25, 2015 a devastating earthquake hit Nepal. The numbers are staggering: 8000+ killed, 15,000+ injured, millions of homes destroyed and millions more damaged. UNICEF estimates that 10,000,000 people were impacted by this earthquake. They experienced daily aftershocks and things were starting to get back to normal when a second quake hit on May 12. People are homeless and traumatized.
Though the event happened halfway around the world, Graceway felt the impact like it was just down the block. Two of our staff members were in the area just days before the quake, meeting with our partners on the ground, getting updates, making friends and enjoying the hospitality of the people. Our staff worked quickly to provide a way to put funds into the hands of our partners – and you responded. What follows is a summarized update from one of our partners on the ground. Names have been changed and some locations removed to ensure the safety and security of these men and women.
Worshippers in Nepal meet on Saturdays (the nation’s public holiday) from 10am – noon. Pastor D was just about to speak on that fateful morning when a woman in the crowd said, “Brother, earthquake! Earthquake!” The people gathered under a concrete pillar in their 5th floor room, unable to leave the building during the event. They felt the west to east swing of the ground and prayed to God for mercy and protection. It’s a moment they’ll remember forever.
Pastor D’s hometown is in the district of Gorkha, the district most affected by the quake (he notes that there were more human casualties in Sindhupalchowk). The houses in Pastor D’s hometown are made of stone and mud – all houses were cracked by the quake. People are living outside under tents. Three people were killed and 1300 homes impacted.
This is the first major earthquake in Nepal in 82 years. Our partners see that God has put them in this position as an opportunity to serve their people with the love of Christ. Their hearts are broken as they watch their people go through unexpected suffering and loss – and they boldly state that it’s not fair to stay quiet. They have been distributing tarps for those that need temporary shelter; many people do not have food. Pastor D’s church plans to give each house at least one mosquito net and blanket. After that they plan to give zinc plate (temporary roofing) to each destroyed home. They desire to help their neighbors rebuild their homes after the rainy season and have asked that we partner with them to help. Their compassionate hearts simply want to meet their neighbors in a time of great need.
In mid-May a team from Pastor D’s church headed to Charghare V.D.C-2, Nuwakot for relief work. Their contact asked them to help his tribal people who were badly affected by the quake. This marginalized people live on a river bank 70 miles from Kathmandu; no one had helped this small community. All twenty-four homes were destroyed, but no lives were lost. Our partners were able to give tarps to each home, reaching out to them with God’s love in action. They are thankful God gave them the privilege to stand with those in need.
Pastor D admits that they are not a relief organization, nor do they have experience with relief work. They are simply doing their best to live in these extreme circumstances. He writes that they are past the first stage of relief work (rescue, health, sanitation, food, tarps) and moving into the second phase. The second phase is providing temporary shelter, specifically the zinc plate used for roofing that will sustain them through the rainy season. Tarps simply are not strong enough to endure the rainy season, which is just over a month away. About 300 households in his home village were totally destroyed, and his people would like to give each of them one bundle of zinc plate. Each bundle is about $80. He notes that an expert has said each household needs two bundles, and that the government is also working to get zinc plate to the victims.
Pastor D’s people have distributed 24 bundles of zinc plate, some to his home village and others to the people of Charghare V.D.C-2. These people are thankful that the church has stood with them in their time of great disaster. Pastor D writes of a retired Nepal Army officer that said, “We will never forget the kind work you have done in the name of your God’s love. If you need any help in the future, please let us know. We will try to do as well.” Pastor D is filled with praise to God for the opportunity to do this “small” work in God’s love. He and his people are actively helping and making plans for work to be done at the end of the rainy season. They want to be involved in the resettlement and reconstruction process for the ultra-poor and marginalized peoples.
Your financial contributions to Graceway’s Nepal Relief fund go directly to our partners on the field, helping them share the love of God in a tangible and life-saving way. Give whatever amount God lays on your heart; consider donating $80 (one bundle of tin) or $160 (an entire roof). God has blessed Graceway with partners on the ground that simply desire to share God by living out their faith. What a privilege it is to help them!