News Release from Gospel for Asia (http://www.gfa.org) – For Immediate Release
WILLS POINT, TX (ANS – May 18 2016) –On April 25, 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck central Nepal, killing over 8,000 people in four nations and leaving nearly 18,000 injured. Two weeks later, on May 12, a 7.3 magnitude aftershock hit, making this the nation’s deadliest disaster ever.
Gospel for Asia-supported workers were on the ground when the earthquakes hit, and they were able to provide aid immediately. With a wide reach of 450 churches and 20 Bridge of Hope centers, we are in a unique position to provide aid where others cannot.
Now a Gospel for Asia worker has had the opportunity to chat on the phone a few weeks ago with Narayan Sharma, a GFA-supported leader of the work in Nepal, and said, “What he shares is an interesting and almost ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at what happened last year when the earthquakes hit Nepal.”
The GFA went on to say said that “as Narayan shared his heart, we typed without interruption. Because of this, the text below is not a word-for-word transcript, but does represent his first person experience and thoughts. We pray it’s insightful and a blessing to you.”
Narayan began by saying, “I never experienced such a devastating thing as I did when I began walking around the city. I couldn’t control my emotions. I cried.
“Our first move as believers and church members was to go to the hospitals to do as much good as we could. We were literally picking people up from the roadside and taking them to the hospital. The hospitals were very damaged as well. So once we got there, we were helping the hospital workers, caring for patients, clearing the damage.
“Many of our believers and pastors and other leaders took initiative. They assessed the situation themselves, organized themselves and began working. The first need was to provide water. So we distributed water, as much and as quickly as possible. Pastor Ashish handled everything, and I saw my leaders just get up and lead without any help from me.”
Narayan went on to say, “It was incredible for me to see our believers go out from the churches, into the city, and help people one on one. We put action to our faith in such a tangible and real way. There were times when we would be up all night working to help people. There were no cultural barriers. No language barriers. Just Nepalis helping Nepalis.
“In North Nepal, the earthquake-affected areas were very remote. [One foreign organization] was trying to get supplies to the people in these remote villages, but . . . they were not [able to].”
Narayan stated that a British helicopter company that usually works with [this organization] decided to “give us the same discount (70 percent) it usually gives them, so we rented these helicopters, loaded them up with goods and went to the remote villages to make deliveries. There was no problem for us to do this because we are recognized as a church by the government of Nepal. In one case, even the former Prime Minister of Nepal accompanied us for the relief work.”
He added: “In some areas of Nepal, as much as 80 percent of the homes had been destroyed. Nepal has 14 districts, and 40 percent of them were affected by the earthquake.
“After two weeks, . . . the only workers left were the government agencies and local Nepali churches.”
Narayan said that now, one year later, most Nepalis “have moved on, either to live with other family members or in temporary shelters”. But he said that they are still healing emotionally.
“Many lost family members and close friends. Those who now attend our churches are being ministered to by our pastors. And the government is also helping them in various ways.
“There is still fear among people here, of something like this happening again. The aftershocks lasted for two weeks after the initial quake, which put people on edge. Though many have moved on, part of that fear remains,” he concluded.
“I am grateful for all my leaders and pastors and church members for the initiative they took to go out and help people day and night. I couldn’t believe how hard they worked and how much they sacrificed.”
To read all the Nepal earthquake reports and updates, please go to: http://www.gfa.org/earthquake/nepal.
Note: Gospel for Asia (http://www.gfa.org) has, for more than 30 years, provided humanitarian assistance and spiritual hope to millions across South Asia, especially among those who have yet to hear the Good News. Last year, this included more than 75,000 sponsored children, free medical services for more than 180,000 people, 6,000 wells drilled, 11,000 water filters installed, Christmas presents for more than 400,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry.
To schedule an interview with a Gospel for Asia representative, contact: email@example.com.
Photo captions: 1) Narayan Sharma, a leader of GFA-supported work in Nepal, taking part in the relief effort. 2) A relief team distributed drinking water in Kathmandu on May 12, 2015. 3) A relief team brought supplies to people in the village of Tham.
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