I just got off the phone with Nathan – 9am Sunday morning Kathmandu Time. Two aftershocks occurred during our conversation. Each time, the crows go crazy, the dogs begin to howl, and people on the streets begin to call out to each other – warning and reassuring each other.
Despite this, the city is largely functioning, although most people are staying on the streets away from unstable walls. Rough estimates are that every block has a building down. In the more vulnerable poorer areas damage is harder hitting and more widespread.
There are two primary concerns right now. We still have not heard from 5 remote villages where there are Vineyard churches or developing communities. Communication is normally difficult, so it is not surprising that we haven’t heard anything – yet it is still concerning. The houses in these regions are made of stone without mortar and are very susceptible to damage. Please pray for the villages of Nessing, Gadlang and Tipling (we can’t recall the other two village’s names). Not much news from Gorhka either, which was near the epicenter. One text from there read, “no house standing”.
The team will be renting a 4×4 and attempting to get to Gorkha on Monday. On Sunday they will attempt to reach Champi and Kotgaong (two villages close to Kathmandu). Uddav and Puja, the pastors of Champi, have lost their house. Maddon, pastor at Kotgaong lost his house. Paul, the pastor at Gorkha as well as Raju’s parents (they are elders at Gorhka and Raju is a pastor at Kathmandu) lost their houses. Apparently the church building, which was just built, is still standing in Gorhka. Thankfully there are no fatalities among our Vineyard churches. However, others have not escaped tragedy – one church building in Kathmandu collapsed crushing 100 people. We mourn with them and all the others who have experienced loss in this disaster.
Another concern is the coming monsoon season, which is scheduled to begin next week. Bad timing. These heavy seasonal rains will make things very difficult and will complicate relief efforts, transportation, etc. Landslides will become a great concern when the ground becomes saturated. Temporary structures will need to be erected quickly. Tarps can be used to provide shelter and fill in collapsed walls to keep out wind and rain.
It was providential that the Kathmandu Vineyard had stocked up on food and supplies for the upcoming Mobile Bible School. We’ve been using these resources to feed the church people and other neighbours who have taken refuge in the courtyard away from the brick walls.
N8 said it is beautiful the way people are coming together to encourage each other. Nepali elegance was on display this morning when, after having attempted to sleep through a night with a number of aftershocks and tremors, people greeted each other with smiles and “Jaimasi!” (a Christian greeting).
Our Nepali brothers and sisters are grateful they are not alone. The primary message has become, “You are not alone!” “God is with you – and we, your Vineyard family, are with you!” This is a message that the people of the Himalayan Region need to hear from the rest of the Vineyard family.
Please pray. (you can do that now)
Please give. (you can do that here)