Saturday, May 2, 2015, 7 PM
Dear Family and Friends,
Yesterday was a very satisfying day, and it was all made possible because of the outpouring of love and generous contributions you have made to the Nepali people.
As I wrote in my last email three men from our national team planned to take motorcycles to Sindhupalchowk, the hardest hit district in Nepal, to connect with two pastors overseeing several dozen churches there. Twenty-three hundred people have been confirmed dead from this district and three thousand are still missing.
I didn’t mention this in the last email, but I was licking my wounds and feeling sorry for myself, because I assumed that I couldn’t drive a motorcycle in Nepal since I did not have an international driver’s license. But in the morning I showed Lazarus my PA license, proving I am licensed as a motorcycle driver and I shared with him my deep remorse for not being able to go. He said, “You don’t have to have an international license and I would be glad to let you use my motorcycle.” I said, “Are you kidding?” He said, “No.” And in ten minutes I was on the road with my brothers.
When we arrived in Sindhupalchowk four hours later, what we saw was so unbelievable that if had not seen it with my own eyes I would not have believed it. Whole villages were leveled and ninety-five percent of the houses on the mountainside were left in a heap of stone and mud. At mid-day we realized that to see both pastors we would have to split up, so Santosh and his friend went one direction, and Buddha and I went the other.
It took us another hour and a half from the main road, over dirt roads with large cracks in them and heaps of debris from houses which had collapsed into the village street, to arrive at the spot we were to climb in order to get to the village the pastor was visiting. Then we climbed forty-five minutes up the mountain (I can truthfully say, it was “a piece of cake” for me since I have climbed these mountains for the last two months. It was another story for Buddha, a city boy). The pastor was meeting with a group of ninety people huddled under two tarps. All of them had lost their homes.
While talking with the group, a medium-sized aftershock hit. A lady in front of me let out a loud groan, I said in a knee-jerk reaction, “It’s OK,” and when the tremor stopped in a few seconds, everyone laughed and said, “It’s OK” (one of the few phrases known by many Nepalese). We then headed down the mountain to the pastor’s home. He showed us the room in the house he and his family rent and the building next door where the church meets. Their rental is too damaged to live in any longer and they have moved into the house they rent for the church.
While we were sitting in the meeting room for the church, the pastor’s wife came in and was surprised to see me. I greeted her and told her, “Oh…my wife Donna has been so concerned about you” (Donna taught her with a group of ladies in February). Immediately, she began to weep uncontrollably. And then I began to cry. And Buddha said to her, “Oh, we don’t want you to cry.” And finally, after she was able to stop she looked at me and said, “I never thought I would see YOU.” I said, “I am here because a lot of brothers and sisters in the United States care about you and we want to stand with you.”
An hour later, I presented 1.5 million rupees ($1,500) to the pastor. These funds will be distributed for immediate, emergency aide to four churches and their villages. When I gave him the money, the dozen church members who had also gathered with us began to clap and repeated say, “Donubat, Donubat!” (“Thank you, thank you!”)
What I had found out is that no aide had come to their village yet and no one had more than a day or two of rice left. These dear folks will have to walk six hours to the nearest village that has rice, but the money will enable them to get life-saving food. That, my friends, is what your generous giving is accomplishing! Hallelujah!
I will have to write later what it was like to meet with the church, today. It has been one week already since we had experienced the earthquake, so it was an emotional day. So much has happened in one week. There was some enthusiastic worship happening today! But while we were worshipping, I was also thinking of another church and a pastor’s wife in Kathmandu. She is now a widow, not only losing her husband, but also her youngest son, along with fourteen members in their church. Many are worshipping here, but many are also weeping. Please keep these Christians in your prayers.
Tomorrow, we will send a truck of rice to northern Sindhupalchowk, about two hours up the road from where we went yesterday. Villages there have seen no aide and are desperate for food, so we have coordinated with the Nepali police to escort our truck into the villages where we have two more church planters to help distribute the rice. While the truck goes to Sindhupalchowk, Santosh and I will head east to Dolakha. We have two pastors overseeing many churches in this district and they have both told us of their dire situation. Apparently, the further you get away from Kathmandu, the more you will have to wait for help.
Please be fervent in your prayer for the people in Nepal and for us. We are traveling many miles, working as hard as we can, doing as much good as possible in the name of Christ, and trusting the Lord each step of the way. One great blessing-Some American Christian businessman is loaning us his car and driver to take us the next two days to Dolakha. So I won’t be biking (I am hearing too many “Amens”).
I will catch up with you when we return because these districts have no electricity and no internet.
Thank you! Thank you! for your partnership. We would not be able to accomplish what we are without you locking arms with us. Christ is being exalted in the villages, even as the Hindu influences here are speaking badly of Christians and what we are doing.