I am primarily an evangelist and teacher who travels around the world in apostolic ministry as God leads and enables me. In addition to preaching and teaching the Bible, I mentor our key partners to be more strategic and impactful for the Gospel in their countries and cultures, just as they continue to mentor me. I am relationally focused rather than program or project focused in ministry relationships and partnerships.
“Our great God and Savior Jesus Christ …
gave Himself for us to redeem us …
a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works.”
(Titus 2:14; ESV)
Our Nepal Earthquake Relief Team and "boots on the ground" distribute
much needed relief supplies to a poor member of the Chepang Tribe.
Dear Ministry Partner,
Through our partnership with Pastor Hanok Tamang, we have just finished our 7th major Relief Deployment to people living in remote villages. In addition, you have helped us sponsor deployments through Yacob Tshering – primarily to the Tibetan Diaspora living in Nepal - and through Sister Laxmi Tamang, head of the Himali Children’s Home that we support. We look forward to featuring Sister Laxmi in our next report.
The latest major deployment was to the Chepang Tribe that we pioneered an outreach to over 2 decades ago through our “Unreached People Project,” spear-headed by Pastor Hanok. They are some of the poorest and most marginalized people in Nepal. But, through this outreach of “Chepangs by Chepangs,” thousands accepted Christ and dozens of churches were planted. I personally trekked into some of their remote mountainous villages a number of times with Pastor Hanok and Pastor Nauraman Chepang.
The bottom line is this: we have a long history of involvement with these dear people. Across the years, we supported Chepang evangelists and church planters, funded church buildings, homes and many self-help projects among them. So, in their hour of need after the two major earthquakes, we had to do what we could to help them as beloved brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank you for helping make this ministry to them possible!
This brief email from Pastor Hanok tells more of the story of the latest deployment, and the challenges faced in carrying it out (emphasis mine). One of the MPs, or Members of Parliament, who is also a Chepang, went with the team on this deployment.
Please take a moment to read excerpts from Hanok’s email, a fresh report from the earthquake zones of rural Nepal …
Thank you for your emails and all that you have been doing to support us in Relief Supply Process to those people who are in real need.
Relief Distribution program went really well yesterday among the Chepangs. It was done in the midst of tough security arrangements.There have been several attacks by people who are not getting relief supplies from the government. They are angry and become so aggressive as to snatch rice bags or tents that they see on the way. Several vehicles carrying relief supplies have been plundered and snatched on the highways. A vehicle which was fully loaded with clothes and blankets was stoned the other day and everything taken off from the vehicle by the local people.
It is very sad to hear and see the real situation how the Government has failed in reaching the people with relief food supply. MP Govinda himself being an elected MP professed that in one of the villages they have over 400 households who only received 18 bags of rice and 18 tents. The Government Secretary could not distribute neither rice nor tents, as it will create anger among the people. This is the dilemma.
But because of our longstanding and close relationship with MP Govinda and Nauraman, we were fortunately able to distribute Relief Supply in a peaceful way yesterday. At the request of MP Govinda and other leaders, who indeed represent the Chepang Community and whom we have had the privilege to help them in the past years, we will try to do another massive Relief Supply distribution in Lothar.
MP Govinda is a Chepang whom I was privileged to baptized him years ago when we used to spend night and day at the Mutating Church. That church obviously became epicenter of many of the transformational spiritual waves for many thousands of Chepangs. It was the 7th massive relief distribution, this exclusively for the Chepang community.
Thank you for allowing me and the team to fulfill a small part in this compassionate process to support the needy and the loved ones with such a timely help. We will be more than happy to continue to be the “donkeys for Jesus" for kingdom ministry as God provides us the resources.
Finally, we will be needing $15,000 to pay off for the total 2,000 tents by this Friday. Because of the early time we ordered the tents, we have gotten in a very special rate and on a very tough quality tent designed for rain durability. As the demand went up in the market, the price hiked up more than what we paid before. It was good that we ordered this early!
Thank you and your partners so much for your ongoing prayers, love and concern for the people in need.
Thank you, dear friends in America, for making it possible for us to minister to these dear friends in Nepal. We could not be putting this relief in their hands without you putting the resources in our hands! This is part of those foreordained “good works” for which the Lord redeemed and resourced us. And it is a demonstration of the “power of partnership” for God’s glory and the good of others in need.
In His passion and compassion,
JL & Patt
“Jesus said to His disciples:
‘I have compassion on these people…’”
Dear Ministry Partner,
After I had finished writing and composing this latest report on Nepal, I received two urgent brief emails from Kathmandu alerting me to this latest series of strong earthquakes. One email was from Pastor Hanok Tamang, and the other was from Linda Tshering.
Linda and her husband, Yacob, are the focus of this “4th report” on our earthquake relief efforts in Nepal. At the end of her brief 2-sentence email about the quake Linda said: “We will be all sleeping outside again in the rain.” Now, let’s refocus on their story – a ministry “by Tibetans to Tibetans.” It begins with the importance of compassion…
Compassion is a key virtue in Buddhism. In the Buddhist world, acts of compassion are the best way to get their attention and gain their respect. Preaching or witnessing to them has not proven very effective across the centuries. Because of their mindset, Buddhists in general, and Tibetan Buddhists in particular, would rather “see a sermon on compassion” than “hear a sermon on compassion.” (Note my “Postscript” at the end of this report that contrasts “Christian compassion” and “Buddhist compassion.”)
Our Tibetan partner, Yacob Tshering, pictured at left with Patt, is actively demonstrating Christ’s compassion to Tibetan Buddhists, Nepali Buddhists and traditional Hindus. This horrific earthquake has given him new open doors to practically share the love and compassion of Christ with the needy – just as his friend, Pastor Hanok Tamang, has been doing. While my previous reports have focused on the on-going relief efforts Pastor Hanok has been spearheading, this one focuses on the ones Yacob has been doing in other areas of Kathmandu and Nepal.
Assisting Yacob in these recent relief efforts are his lovely wife, Linda, and the young people of Champa Choeling (“Place of Love”) that we have partnered with for several decades. As we have supported these Tibetan young people since they were small children, it is a joy to see them, as teenagers, actively involved in these strategic relief efforts.
Pastor Tshering and the Tibetan children when they were younger,
and a current picture of the CC teenagers from one of my recent visits.
One of the two houses in Kathmandu for Champa Choeling that we
were able to purchase for their ministry.
First, let me share with you portions of an email that Yacob’s wife, Linda, sent us soon after the earthquake and aftershocks stopped. Below is her letter, and pictures she sent of their situation:
Dear Brother Williams & Sister Patt,
Greetings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Thank you for your sincere prayers for us during this devastating earthquake that hit Nepal on the 25th April, Saturday.
There is no water since all the pipes have been broken so we have to buy drinking water and for cooking and for washing clothes, bathing, for use in the toilets, etc. The new truck is in great use for getting water. But because the road is so bad, the truck can’t get in all the way to the water place. So we have to carry water in the buckets to the pickup.
We had to buy 3 new large water tanks because ours fell down from the roof and broke during the earthquake.
Sleeping in the tents was a hard experience as it rained heavily and our tents started leaking. So we all had to shift into a corner, sitting up all night. The next day Yacob had to put up a double plastic cover to stop the rain from falling on us. It was very difficult to get the needful things as all the shops were closed for some days. Also, there was no electricity so I couldn’t charge my phone to contact you.
We thank God for giving the strength to Pala who is 99 yrs old to stay with us in the tent for 5 days. Amala also, who is 87, with all her leg and knee pain.
As the Champa Choeling building shook and rocked, it seemed like the building would fall on top of us, as we were all inside. There was no time to run out because we were all on the top floor. Pala & Amala fell down out of the bed. Their T.V. in their room came crashing down on the floor. So did their thermoses for water.
Br. Williams and Sis Patt, I have never experienced anything like this in my life! Honestly speaking, I thought it would be my last day alive! During the earthquake we all started praying. Yacob was praying the loudest saying “JESUS! JESUS! JESUS!” Thanks God we are all alive by the mercy of God.
We told all the children to run outside! After all the children ran outside, we also ran outside. Since Pala & Amala cannot run we had to slowly walk them down the staircase to the ground outside.
We just thank God for saving our lives at this tragic moment!
We have already visited and helped the Tibetan Camp in Jawakakhel. After we get the funds, we will visit other Tibetan Camps in Kathmandu and Pokhra.We will be visiting Pokhara Tibetan Camps by this week. What to do? It is raining also and the roads are really very bad.
Today Yacob will go and check if we have received the money you sent for the help needed in this very sad moment. Please do continue to pray for us.
This is a picture of me helping a neighbor clear the rubble. What to do? The need is so great.
May God bless you always, with much love and prayers,
Yours loving Linda
PS: While I was writing this email, it started to rain again. I better go and put some drums outside to collect the rainwater. At least that will help us to use for the toilets.
After receiving the initial funds we sent them through our compassionate partners like you, Yacob, Linda and the Champa Choeling children did several more strategic deployments to remote villages.
Once again the truck we were able to purchase for them last year, through a generous donation from one of our businessmen friends and his wife, became even more strategic in deploying these relief items. What a joy to see these Tibetan young people, who have been supported by our ministry since they were small children, help in the relief efforts.
The Tibetan "donkey for Jesus" loaded with supplies to be
distributed in the love and compassion of the Lord Jesus.
Getting to the remote villages was difficult and dangerous.
As Yacob gives out items to needy families, Linda Tshering ministers to a little
girl and her family.
Yacob and the young people visited homes that were destroyed and families that were devastated by the quake.
We are so thankful for these strategic deployments by Yacob, Linda and the Tibetan young people of Champa Choeling. We are now praying for more resources to send them, so they can make the long drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara where they will make another distribution. On their next deployment, they will bring assistance to the Tibetan Camp that I visited with Yacob recently to distribute the “Solar Digital Players” of the Bible, read by Pala in the Tibetan language.
MORE TIBETAN SUPPORT NEEDED
We hope that many of you will be able to send in a gift of any amount to support this strategic follow-up visit and deployment to Tibetans in the various Refugee Camps in Nepal.
As you stand with us in this special ministry and outreach “by Tibetans for Tibetans,” it is important to remember that the Tibetans are perhaps the least reached and most resistant people group on the globe!
Several decades ago God graced us with a relationship and partnership with Pastor Nima “Pala” Tshering. As a converted Buddhist monk, he is the recognized patriarch of the Tibetan Christianity. And the majority of Christian Tibetans in Nepal, India, Canada and America trace their spiritual roots back to Pala.
At the age of 99, he still provides the spiritual headship and leadership of this ministry, assisted by his son, Yacob. For those of you who have not read his story that Patt rewrote for English speaking readers, please order one. For any gift you give, we will send you a copy of his book. It will open your mind and heart about both the challenges and opportunities of ministering to Tibetans.
The Tshering family.
As we continue our relief partnership efforts through the Tsherings, I hope you will keep them in your prayers. They are a unique family to global Christianity.
CHRISTIAN COMPASSION VS. BUDDHIST COMPASSION
For those hearty readers who have stayed with me so far in this report, please take a few more moments to read my following op ed on the difference between “Christian compassion” and “Buddhist compassion.” While not seeking to be critical, it is important to make the stark contrast.
These two popular quotes from the Buddha and the Dalai Lama highlight the importance of compassion to followers of these two related – but distinct – World Religions. While they are very different in many ways, they share their emphasis on compassion.
But the true God of the Bible is the ultimate Source of authentic compassion. He is called the “Father of compassion and God of all comfort …” (II Cor. 1:5; Ja. 5:11). Jesus didn’t just teach about compassion, He was the very Incarnation of compassion. He was God’s compassion in flesh and blood. That’s why anywhere He saw needy people, “He was moved with compassion …” (Mk. 6:34). And His compassion resulted in transformational action on behalf of needy people. As tangible proof of His practical compassion, Jesus fed the multitudes … healed the sick … touched and cleansed the leper … cast out the demons (Matt. 9:35-36; 14:14; 20:34; Mk. 1:40, etc). Buddha said he gave up eating meat as a sign of his compassion! That way, no more animals would die – which is why most serious Buddhists are vegetarians.
But while Jesus was certainly compassionate toward animals, His acts of compassion were focused on people. Peter summarized Christ’s compassionate life this way: “He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil because God was with Him” (Acts 10:38).
We are thankful for the virtue of compassion that Buddha taught that causes them to respect life – as opposed to the deadly teaching and actions of the Islamic jihadist that behead people! I would far rather deal with a passive Buddhist than an active Islamist!
But for Buddha, compassion was passive. That’s why the most consistent statues of the Buddha show him in deep meditation in the “lotus position” with his eyes closed, legs crossed, hands folded. He is turned in on himself. He is seeking “enlightenment” through meditation into the mystical state of Nirvana where he feels neither pain nor pleasure – which Buddha taught were the opposite the sources of all suffering in the world. In this classical static position of meditation, Buddha is completely insensitive, immobile and inactive. His compassion benefits no one.
By contrast, Jesus’ compassion was proactive and people-focused. For Buddha, compassion was philosophical. For Jesus, compassion was practical. While Jesus did regularly practice “spiritual meditation” through intimate prayer and communion with His Father, it always compelled Him into compassionate acts of love in behalf of others in need. He did not seek to escape from the pain of the world around Him – He personalized it. All of the spiritual pain … emotional pain … mental pain … physical pain of the human family was carried “… in His body on the tree” with the result: “… by His wounds you have been healed” (I Pet. 3:24). That’s a love and compassion Buddha could not give.
The Buddha taught his “4 Noble Truths” and gave his “Noble Eight Fold Path” (to enlightenment). But, Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn. 14:6).
Please continue to pray for Pala and Yacob as they are uniquely chosen “Tibetan vessels” of the Lord to share His practical compassion to the Buddhist people in Nepal – especially the Tibetan Buddhists.
In His love & compassion for them,
JL & Patt
PS: Patt and I would like to send you a FREE copy of the book on Pala’s life and ministry. It will help you to have a better understanding of Tibetan Buddhism, as you pray for these largely unreached and unresponsive people Christ died for. It is also filled with wonderful pictures of the Tshering family and the children of Champa Choeling, God’s unique “Place of Love,” reaching out to Tibetans in Nepal.
“The believers in Antioch (America) decided to send relief
to the brothers and sisters in Judea (Nepal),
everyone giving as much as they could.
This they did, entrusting their gifts to Barnabas and Saul
(Pastor Hanok Tamang and Pastor Yacob Tshering)
to take to the elders of the church
in Jerusalem (Kathmandu and beyond).”
(Acts 11:29-30; Living Bible)
Pastor Hanok Tamang visiting and taking relief to a village where many
Christians lost everything.
Dear Ministry Partners,
It has been over a week now since the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal a little before noon on Saturday, April 25th. Since then we have been in daily contact with our longtime partners there: Pastors Hanok Tamang, Yacob Tshering, Gyan Sunuwar and Sangge Sherpa. Fortunately, they are all alive and safe – but each of them experienced damage to their homes and churches.
These strategic national leaders are our primary “boots on the ground.” When the dust finally settled, they each became almost immediately involved in relief after the initial quake and aftershocks were over. All they needed were some resources to work with – and you, our American partners, have helped with your initial generous gifts that we immediately put into their hands – 100%.
DONKEYS FOR JESUS
Over 20 years ago, a businessman friend and partner bought the Red Truck pictured below for Pastor Hanok to use in his ministry throughout Nepal. After years of use, parts were increasingly impossible to find to keep it repaired. But we were recently able to repair it one more time – just in time to do earthquake relief. This past year, another of our businessmen partners gave the funds to buy a newer Hillux Truck for Hanok’s ministry. Little did he, Hanok, or I anticipate that it would be just the strong vehicle we needed for “… such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). Hanok and I have named them “Donkeys For Jesus!” And these two donkeys are being used daily to take relief items throughout the Kathmandu Valley and to the remote villages devastated by the earthquake.
LESSONS FROM THE HAITI EARTHQUAKE
I just read an interesting article from the Miami Herald comparing the killer 7.0-magnitude earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010, to this stronger one in Nepal. The article shared that what people in the UN and other international agencies had supposedly learned from the Haiti earthquake, they were seeking to now apply in Nepal. One thing in the article especially resonated with me:
“It’s very important to have people from the area involved; they know the challenges, the traditions, the customs. They know what is acceptable" (emphasis mine).
One thing former President Bill Clinton did get right when he was raising funds for Haiti was his statement about the importance of working through individuals and groups who already had a history of involvement in Haiti. I am only sorry that he and Hillary did not generally follow their own advice!
THE WISDOM OF NATIONAL PARTNERSHIP
As you know, it has always been our commitment as a ministry to work first and foremost through national leadership. We have always seen our role spiritually and physically to “encourage, equip and empower” the indigenous national leader. Why? Because that is the Biblical model.
God always works through the local “sons of the soil” as His primary agents in a particular country and culture. He doesn’t send angels from heaven as His missionaries! He raises up local people as His “change agents” in the world. God set that pattern by calling Abraham – after which He “… blessed him to be a blessing” (Gen. 12:1-3). Jesus further incarnated that principle by calling 12 local Galileans to follow Him so that He could make them “… fishers of men” (Matt. 4:20). (If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to order my book on this subject, “A Strategic Paradigm in Missions” Please see ordering information below).
While there has always been a place for the “foreign missionary” and “expatriate workers” overseas – especially after natural disasters like this – ultimately the nationals must be in control if there is to be continuity and lasting impact. They are the most natural “first responders” in situations like this because they already have their “boots on the ground.” They know the language, culture and condition of their people in a way that a foreigner never can. When opportunities open or disasters strike, all they need are the finances and material resources to “hit the ground running” in bringing material, medical and spiritual aid in the Name of Christ. And they can do so with much greater time and cost efficiency than outsiders.
Pastor Hanok Tamang and his team from the Aradhana Church distributing
relief supplies to needy people, in the Name of Christ.
After the Asian Tsunami and Haiti earthquake, I watched as small well-intentioned and well-equipped armies of people flew into the disaster zones from all over the world. But most did not have any pre-existing “boots on the ground.” They had little or no local relationships or contacts. Most did not know the local languages, culture and customs of the people. They were helpless without trustworthy local guides and competent interpreters.
Also, the foreign missionaries who were already living there were often willfully overlooked simply because they were “Christian.” Most of the major groups coming in were largely “secular” and “humanitarian” to the degree that they would not work through foreign missionaries or local Christian leaders, and generally had an anti-Christian bias. While the local Christian is eager to use the crisis as a door to lovingly share the Good News of the Gospel through the compassion of Christ, the NGOs have a strict policy of “no evangelism or proselytizing.”
It is interesting to note here how shrewd the Muslims are in sending in their “Red Crescent” – which is their substitute for the “Red Cross.” Their aid workers have a clear goal of always helping any Muslims in need – which is understandable and laudable. And if there are few or no Muslims in that country – as was the case in Haiti – their primary goal is to convert some local people to Islam and leave a mosque behind after they leave – which they did! And it is all paid for by our US tax dollars through the UN! I have personally seen this in Haiti as well as other countries where the UN has deployed troops – many of whom are from staunch Muslim countries.
While this overt “Muslim proselytizing” is ignored or overlooked by the international community, it is an anathema for Christians to dare to share Christ along with their relief efforts!
Because of the general “secular perspective” or “anti-Christian bias” of most Western agencies, they will only work through the existing government official and local religious or business groups that are often biased, corrupt and inept. As a result, tons and tons of needed life-saving supplies and equipment flown in from around the world sit on the tarmac unused for weeks – just like is now happening in Kathmandu. Or, to quote again the article in the Miami Herald:
“Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport descended into chaos as international rescue teams and aid workers got stuck for hours on the tarmac. On the streets, frustrations mounted as victims expressed anger over perceived governmental apathy.”
That’s an all-too familiar summary of government-to-government relief efforts! Sadly, then, in the most desperate hours immediately after a crisis, there is a lot of lost time and misplaced effort by most of these foreign groups because they do not have their “footing” or a “game plan.” For most groups, it takes weeks, and sometimes months, to really understand the problem, build relationships, find interpreters, put their infrastructure in place and gain positive traction in significantly meeting needs! But, once all of this takes place, usually at great expense, these foreign groups are able to have a positive impact. And “medical teams” are generally the most urgently needed because medicine and surgery speak a universal language to the person in need.
STRENGTHENING THE LOCAL CHURCH
Sadly, when most foreign groups leave, so does their influence. Fledgling relationships they may have developed with the nationals are severed, and generally will never be nurtured or used again. So when the disaster is over … the relief and development is completed … or supplanted by another crisis somewhere else in the world, the foreigners board their planes and leave. However, the national leaders stay on to continue their ministries as before – either empowered or weakened by the presence, activities and departure of expatriates from abroad.
However, if the relief and development was done through and by the national leaders, their presence and profile are only enlarged and strengthened with their own people. This opens even greater doors for continued spiritual, emotional and physical nurture for years to come. As a result, God’s Kingdom is built, strengthened and expanded by this partnership with the national leader.
Through trial and error, many foreign aid groups are learning the importance of working through the credible local indigenous leaders – especially the Christians, who are already motivated by the love and compassion of Christ. Is this method perfect? No. But, is it Biblical? Absolutely. All over the world there are highly committed and competent local indigenous national leaders who have been following Christ’s clear example of “… going around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil …” (Acts 10:38).
The early church also practiced this loving, compassionate and selfless approach to meeting needs through the local church and by the “… hands of the Apostles” (Acts 4:32-35). In the verse above, I opened this report with the response of the Church at Antioch after they heard about a severe famine that had especially impacted Judea and Jerusalem and the saints living in those regions. All of the Christians “… gave according to their ability” and then sent the relief money “… to the elders (in Jerusalem) through the hands of Barnabas and Saul (soon to become the “Apostle Paul”).
The Aradhana Church is a storehouse for relief items
before they are distributed.
There are generally tens of millions of dollars raised and given by people after natural disasters – with Americans leading the way in giving. But sadly, a lot of it is just a knee-jerk emotional response with little prayerful forethought or follow-through. And more tragically, much is given through Western Agencies and Foundations that siphon off a majority for themselves and their cronies through bloated salaries, excessive life-styles and multimillion-dollar contracts! Look at how Bill and Hillary Clinton and their Clinton Foundation benefited from the Haiti earthquake! While they certainly did some good there, as well as in other countries, they and their cronies gained millions of dollars of advantages while the grass roots Haitian benefited little! Indeed, there is money to be made in times of crisis and poverty – and plenty of it!
GUIDE YOUR GIVING
Before you give to agencies and foundations – even Christian organizations – find out the salaries of their CEOs and look at their life-styles. Find out what percentage of your gift is actually getting to the point of need rather than being consumed by excessive ad-min and overhead expenses. Investigate to see if there is real integrity, transparency and accountability. And especially for Christian organizations, make sure that the Gospel is being advanced and the local church is being strengthened through the funds donated.
So we make no apology that we always seek to use natural or man-made disasters to share and advance the Gospel through the hearts and hands of our national partners. Thanks for being a vital part of all that the pictures in this report represent. These pictures are only representative of many more we are receiving daily as our partners are able to send them. And while this report focuses on the relief efforts of Pastor Hanok Tamang and his Aradhana Church team, our next one will focus on similar efforts by Pastor Yacob Tshering to the needy Tibetans – the least reached and least responsive people group on earth. Be watching for that special report in a few days.
THE NEED FOR TENTS
Right now the greatest need is for tents. Thousands of people have lost their homes. To make things worse, the monsoon rains are beginning to fall. Hanok has been able to order tents from the only local manufacturer in Kathmandu. They are 15’ X 18’ “plastic tarpaulin tents” and cost $25. Each one will provide temporary shelter for a typical Nepali extended family of 6 – 8 people.
An example of the plastic tarpaulin tents.
Pastor Hanok's truck loaded for the first deployment of tents.
In addition to our current relief work, we have made a faith commitment to help Hanok buy 2,000 plastic tarpaulin tents, even as we know more will be needed, as additional damaged villages are located. To date, he has identified 2,103 Christian families who lost their homes. Most of these dear people will have to live outside or in tents for the next 3 – 6 months until houses can be built. So, Patt and I are asking everyone on our email list to buy at least one tent for $25 … two for $50 … 4 for $100 … or 20 tents for $1,000. If giving by check, please make your check out to JLPF, and mail to PO Box 4066, Glen Raven, NC 27215, or click here to donate via PayPal to speed the deployment.
In His Loving Compassion through them,
JL & Patt
PS: Thank you again to all who have given to meet the needs of our Nepali brothers and sisters. Please forward this email to as many of your friends, associates, and church members as possible. By doing so, you can help us “spread the word” and “speed the word” to others about how they too can become proactively involved in our Nepal Earthquake Relief Efforts – first to the suffering saints in the Body of Christ! One friend and partner went to his Pastor and Mission Committee and found they had been sitting on $5,000 undesignated and unused! Just by asking, he got it released for Nepal relief. Perhaps you could do the same through your local church.
To further enhance your study on missions, I recommend my book, A Strategic Paradigm in Missions. Please click on the picture of the book at right for complete ordering information.
“As we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people,
especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
Dear Ministry Partners,
Thank you for your prayers for the people of Nepal who have been devastated by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake – with over 165 aftershocks that have continued to rock the country. The Kathmandu Valley has become “Death Valley” for thousands of people. To date the government says that around 5,000 people were killed and over 9,200 injured. However, because of the remote villages that were also impacted, the full details of the death and destruction will take more time to confirm. But initial reports say that some 8 million Nepalis were affected, with 1 million children in need.
Because of the constant aftershocks that continued for a couple of days after the initial earthquake, most Nepalis slept outside in makeshift conditions for fear of further collapses of the houses still standing.
Below is a picture of Hanok’s neighbors sleeping outside. Hanok slept in the cab of the truck that we were able to purchase for him last year.
While Nepal was the hardest hit, there were related shocks in neighboring India, Bangladesh and Tibet. Additionally, this powerful earthquake set off killer snow avalanches on Mt. Everest that resulted in the death of a number of climbers at Base Camp – including 4 Americans. Since I have been to Base Camp in the past, I know something of the challenges of the helicopter evacuations that had to take place.
This area is also the region where our partner, Pastor Sangge Sherpa, ministers through our “Everest Base Camp Outreach” (EBCO) that we have been supporting for over a dozen years. I received this picture below of Sangge baptizing a new believer in the high Himalayas the week before the earthquake. We have had a confirmation that he is safe.
As a 7.8-magnitude earthquake on the Richter scale, this earthquake ranks among the strongest ever recorded. It was the same magnitude as the 1906 killer earthquake that devastated San Francisco, and was over 20 times larger than the 2010 earthquake that killed several hundred thousand in Haiti. But like in Haiti, the densely populated 2.5 million people living in the Kathmandu Valley were very vulnerable because of the poor construction of the buildings and houses.
FROM CHURCH TO HEAVEN
Because the initial earthquake took place a little before noon this past Saturday, April 25th, most Christians were in church. In Nepal, the Christians all worship on Saturday. It is the Government’s day off rather than Sunday, so the churches were filled with worshiping Christians. As I shared in my previous email, Pastor Hanok Tamang said:
“I was about to start my third point on preaching at the church this morning when the building started to shake and bricks started to fall down and all the members who were listening to the message ran outside and I did the same.”
Fortunately no one was killed in the church where he was preaching. But many were killed in other churches that collapsed. The total death count among Christians has not yet been verified, but Hanok confirmed that 50 were killed in one church alone when the ceiling fell in on the congregation.
Since many Christians throughout Nepal worship in “house churches,” the damage and destruction has been great. There were many in Nepal this past week that went from the local church to the universal church in heaven.
Scores of Christian churches were badly damaged or destroyed by this earthquake – many of them built by our ministry. In addition, Pastor Hanok says that untold hundreds of homes of Christian families were totally destroyed. As per the Apostle’s admonition above, they will be our TOP PRIORITY of ministry in the days ahead.
Homes where Christians lost their lives.
Pastor Hanok and his team from the Aradhana Church have already been in action since the earthquake first hit last week. They are the Lord’s heart, eyes, ears, hands and feet in Nepal. They are also our “boots on the ground.” They are ministering to both the living and dead as you can see from the pictures below.
The red truck we bought for Pastor Hanok over 20 years ago has served as a hearse to carry dead bodies scores of times. Once again, it is being used to do the same after the earthquake.
CONCLUSIONS FOR NOW
Thanks for your continued prayers for Pastor Hanok and his team who are reaching out to the Christian community 24/7. The task will be big and long. There are no quick fixes for problems of this magnitude. So, we count on your continued faithful prayers and giving as the Lord enables you. The verse that precedes the one I shared at the top of this email says: “Let us not become weary in doing good …” (Gal. 6:9).
With all of the man-made and natural disasters in the world, we are each confronted with many needs every day – far more than we can fully take care of. If we are not careful, it is easy to develop a terminal case of “compassion fatigue” where we spiritually and emotionally shut down. It then becomes easier to just turn away and ignore the latest crisis. Shut our eyes. Stop our ears. Close our checkbooks.
But the Holy Spirit does not give us that option. Just as Jesus “… went around doing good …” (Acts 10:38), we must do the same. As Paul reminded Titus, Jesus Christ “… gave Himself for us to redeem us … for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:14).
Thanks to those of you who quickly and eagerly responded to my first appeal about Nepal. I hope others of you will be moved in your heart to do the same and give as you can. As always, we will deploy 100% of what you give to meet the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of the “suffering saints” in Nepal!
In His compassionate love for them,
JL & Patt
P.S. Thank you for your continued prayers for Dr. Josh Riggsbee and his wife Sarah, and their children, Chloe and Eli. As we mentioned in our previous email, Josh and Sarah are currently serving as missionaries in Nepal, and Sarah is the daughter of former NDI members Dick and Sheila Orcutt. We have received word that Sarah and the children have safely returned to their village, while Josh will remain in Kathmandu to coordinate medical relief efforts with Samaritan's Purse.
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom,
and in various places there will be famines and EARTHQUAKES.
But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.”
Dear Ministry Partners,
This morning all of us awakened to the tragic news of yet more “signs of the times” that Jesus told us would increasingly mark these “last days” of human history. Most recently we have focused on the political signs of “... nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom” through the ISIS crisis in the Middle East. This international crisis created by Islamic terrorism will continue for years to come. So we will not stop our efforts there.
However, in the midst of our responses in Jordan to our persecuted and displaced Christian brethren from Iraq and Syria, we have to turn our attention to our displaced and hurting brothers and sisters in Nepal. Like each of you, I awoke this morning to the tragic news of the killer 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Nepal. To date there are reports that more than 1,500 have been killed and 40% of the country has been directly impacted. Just as was the case in the Haiti earthquake in 2010, the poorly built houses became crumbling death traps to people in times of earthquake! And the over-crowded conditions and poor infrastructure make quick response almost impossible.
Images of the horrific destruction of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake.
Just this morning, I received this timely email from our long-time partner, Pastor Hanok Tamang in Kathmandu. Ironically, he was preaching when the earthquake hit! Please read it carefully and then ask God what He would have you to do in response (emphasis mine)…
JL, by now you must have heard a horrible and horrendous news, caused by a most disastrous earthquake today.
It was nearly 8 rectors earthquake, which started to shake the buildings at 12 pm.
It was the time when I was about to start my third point on preaching at the Dahachowk church this morning. At the starting point of three, building started to shake and bricks started to fall down and all the members who were listening to the message ran outside and I did the same.
As I came out from the building, I saw the front exit was blocked by the wall that fell off. There was another exit from the toilet and that wall fell off too, but this provided us the exit to come out. As the Dahachowk is situated in higher altitude, we saw dust flying in the air, and Kathmandu remained dark caused by dust. As the dust cleared up and we saw many buildings destroyed, many lives crying under the rubble of the houses with severe pain.
JL, we are fine so far, but even after the major hit, we are still feeling the after-shocks of the earthquake and thousands of people have come out from their homes. I am writing this email by sitting in the open place of my house. All our neighbors are sitting with us.
At Aradhana Church, the new part of the building built by NDI years ago is good so far. But the older part of the building has been cracked much. The ceiling of my office fell down and the Mac laptop you gave me was smashed. I left it on my desk when I left to preach at the Dahachowk church earlier this morning. Even though I could not enter my office, I can see the dust and rubble all over my office on the table and chairs. My bookshelf fell off and books were scattered. But no one was injured. We cannot use the old part of the building anymore now.
Historic Bhimsen tower fell off and scattered into three pieces, many people died under the rubble of it. Over a million people will have to spend the night outside their home.
The Historic Bhimsen tower, before and after the earthquake.
I called my mom a few minutes ago, that being the area of epicenter of the earthquake, over four hundreds homes and several people died in my village. It is very sad and very unfortunates to see many casualties with major damage.
JL, so far we are doing fine, and God knows what transpires next, but God is in control of everything. Pray for us. Please share this with others as well.
I was able to immediately contact Hanok after receiving this email from him. He has made contact with Sister Laxmi at the Himali Children’s Home as well as with Pala Tshering at the Champa Choeling Home for Tibetan children. Both are ok, but huddled outside right now due to the on-going aftershocks that are still taking place. And, since it has started to rain in Kathmandu, this will make things more miserable for the survivors.
Because of our over 3 decades of close partnership with Pastor Hanok, we have been involved together in a number of relief efforts there after severe monsoon rains, floods and mud slides. So he is a veteran in this area of reaching out and giving aid in the Name of Christ. He will be our primary “boots on the ground” in bringing relief efforts to the needy. Therefore, we urge you to give what you can to our special “Nepal Earthquake Fund” (NEF) so we can immediately put some resources in his hands to use. And as always, 100% of what you give will go directly to the relief efforts.
Thanks for standing with us and with Pastor Hanok in this time of national crisis. As always, we do not fully understand the sovereign hand of the Lord in these horrific political events and natural disasters leading to so much loss of life! But we do know that He wants us to be His “salt” and “light” in those places to reflect His love and compassion. As Paul said about some adverse events in his life “My circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the Gospel” (Phil. 1:12). We pray that these horrific events will accomplish the same in Nepal through Hanok and the Body of Christ in Nepal.
I will continue to keep you updated, as Hanok is able to send me further reports. By faith, we have advanced Hanok several thousand dollars to begin relief efforts. We count on you to help replenish and increase these funds in the hours and days ahead.
In His Love & Compassion for Nepal,
PS: After writing the above quick report, I received an additional email from Hanok in response to my inquiry about his current ability to use the truck we recently bought him for relief effort …
Thank you JL, great to hear from you. Our two trucks are ready to hit the road. I am sitting in front of Barnabas villa where we have open space, all our neighbors are here. No light, dark night. In Nepal's history this will be darkest of the dark night. I am listening the news update constantly. Death toll has been increased, and due to darkness rescue endeavor has become difficult. There are several districts, which have been severely damaged, but our focus would be to help the household of God…Hanok.
Additionally, Sarah Orcutt Riggsbee, the daughter of Board member Dick Orcutt and his wife Sheila (also a member of the original New Directions singing group) and family are in Nepal. Dick and Sheila have received word that Sarah and her family are safe in another city, but do not know what damage was done to the town where they are ministering. Please pray for the continued safety of the Riggsbees: Sarah, Josh, and their children, Chloe and Eli (pictured at left).