Narayan Sharma, leader of GFA-supported work in Nepal, shares a firsthand account of what happened during and after Nepal’s worst earthquake in 80 years.
Nepal, April 29, 2015
On April 25 at 11:45 a.m., I was at the podium [in church], sharing about the Bible, when the church began shaking. I requested our 100-plus believers not to panic because within a short time this would end.
No, it continued.
[It was] almost like the whole building was dancing endlessly. I, too, sat on the floor. Many believers started to pray loudly. As soon as the shaking was over, we all rushed to the open space. There was panic. The neighbors also joined here with us. A few believers were singing hymns to encourage one other. Walls were fallen. Aftershocks came every few minutes.
After an hour, we all came inside the church and prayed and departed. We were still unaware that this was one of the biggest earthquakes in the history of this nation.
Until this evening there was no electricity for four days, and I have not had a chance to take a bath for the last four days! But this evening things are changing for the better.
Many villages in Sindhupalchok District have lost 70 percent of their houses. For the past three days, the people of Kathmandu Valley spent their nights outside in the field or camp because of the fear of strong aftershocks. In fact, more than 106 aftershocks have been felt after the quake. In between, the rain made life more painful.
This evening, 96 hours after the quake, people are returning to their homes—if their houses are not damaged. Still, thousands of people are forced to live and spend these cold nights outside because they have lost their homes. They are living under plastic [tarp] shelters.
This earthquake has become a symbol for human suffering. “Is there any suffering beyond this point?” was a statement of a man who lost eight members of his family in this quake.
Sadly, two churches in Kathmandu collapsed, and the death toll is 45. In Sindhupalchok, one church collapsed with its 70 believers inside.
We are still unable to collect all the information about the damage to our churches and believers. However, according to latest information, seven Believers Churches are damaged, and we have received unconfirmed reports of two deaths of our believers. Many of our churches are in remote places where it takes two to three days to reach. In one district, 20 believers of ours have lost their homes; this has been reported today from the district pastor. We have yet to receive the complete information from our field.
We had no water, no electricity, no power and no working lines of communication. From the very next day, Believers Church started relief work with the leadership and cooperation of our local pastors and youth. Our relief team in Kathmandu provided drinking water in big tankers at the shelter camp. Our Sisters of Compassion were engaged the whole day in this service without any break. Our team also provided food here at the camp.
At one of our churches, around 400 people from the surrounding neighborhood came to find shelter. So food was provided to them for three days from the church at this shelter. The church also provided clean drinking water and medicines for primary health.
Yesterday, in the village of Chapali, relief materials were provided for 16 families who lost their homes or whose homes were not in a condition to stay in due to the quake.
Today, 350 earthquake-affected people were fed at Narayanthan by the church.
Tomorrow, 66 families will receive relief materials in Gokarna Village.
Soon, our relief team wants to move to the most affected area for rescue and relief work in Sindhupalchok. Our Pokhara team has sent relief teams to Gorkha and Dhading. At the moment they are on the way to the affected area of these districts.
Learn more and help Christians in Nepal here: http://www.gfa.org/earthquake/nepal/
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon