“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, Zoe and Eli (pictured at left).