Just three days ago, the world recoiled in horror as images of devastation and disaster unfolded on the news—Nepal had been hit by a 7.9 magnitude earthquake, the worst to hit the nation in more than 80 years. Having been to Kathmandu numerous times and forged some good relationships with the locals there, I was greatly shaken by the news.
Upon reading about the rising death toll (it has since exceeded 4,000 people), I quickly contacted my Nepali friends on Facebook. The first to reply was a friend whom I have known since 2008; she works in an orphanage in the plains south of Kathmandu. I was so relieved to hear that she, along with the kids at the orphanage, were fine.
Unfortunately, the situation was not good in her village in Gorkha (which is near to the epicentre of the quake). Her grandmother didn’t survive the catastrophe and many of the locals lost their homes.
(Her late grandmother is pictured on the extreme left.)
The bad news continued as updates from my other friends in Kathmandu streamed in. Like those in Gorkha, many of them were now homeless. Other friends living on the Eastern Mountains closer to Mount Everest also shared that their homes were wrecked and that they and their families were spending the night outdoors. Given the cold weather, the impending monsoon season, and the loss of all their belongings, nothing was looking up for them right now. On top of that, they are still experiencing aftershocks.
I have yet to hear from a few more friends. It worries me as one of them lives in Pokhara, a city also devastated by the quake.
Yet amid all the gloom and doom, I’m encouraged to hear the good that is happening. The first friend that I mentioned told me that her husband plans to go back to their village in Gorkha to see how he can help the villagers there. It warms my heart to see Nepalese people reaching out to their fellow countrymen in this trying time.
I’m also amazed by how believers in Nepal are still giving thanks in the midst of their painful and difficult circumstance. As I think about it, indeed we can still thank God in our adversity. The earthquake happened on a Saturday when the children were not in schools. It could have occurred on a weekday, in the freezing cold winters, or at night, which would drive up the death toll because most people would be indoors—but it didn’t.
No doubt the rebuilding and recovery process is going to be a long one. Let’s pray for the people in Nepal. Oswald Chambers exhorts, “I do believe that by intercessory prayer, as Jesus Himself has told us, the great power of God works in ways that we cannot conceive.”
Here are some prayer pointers:
- For the believers: To be strong and not lose heart, and to be a testimony of God’s truth and love.
- For the relief workers: To have wisdom to know how to distribute the resources and to reach those in need.
- For the people in Nepal: To discover hope and eternal security which are found in Christ alone.
(Image of Patan Durbar Square before the earthquake. It has since been completely devastated.)
(Image of Durbar Square after the earthquake.)