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Nepal Trip and Holistic Approach to the Needs


AN-Satya

Friends, I just got back from Nepal. I travelled half way around the globe and spent one whole month in Khokana, my birthplace which is also one of the most affected areas by the recent earthquake.  The 7.8 magnitude scale earthquake shook the very foundations in western and central region of Nepal on 25th April 2015.  Waves of aftershock followed by another fresh 7.4 Rector scale quake destroyed other remaining infrastructures in Khokana. The aftershocks of 4-5 magnitude scale are persistently felt almost every day. I was there for a relief work, solely focusing on the community health project. Needs are sky high; generous gifts from people and national/international humanitarian agencies have been helping people with basic needs.

My one month stay was fruitful, in a sense, that I was able to build six permanent toilets for a displaced community of more than 100 people which consists of 27 households living in their temporary shelters in a public property called Bäkhä (pronounced as Baa Khaa). Prior to my arrival there, they had only two makeshift toilets made of only some bamboos and corrugated galvanized zinc roofing sheets. No proper sewage management or privacy. One of them was already knocked down thus unusable.

Basic needs for survival are demanding, as they will be living in the temporary shelters for, at least, next two years. Some of those living in the shelters will never be able to come out and move back to the old resettlement due to poverty. They might end up living in the slum. Yet, these people did not look broken. I saw their will to come out of this situation. I saw their resilience to get up and move on. Meantime, the spirit of dependence on outsiders also was prevalent among other survivors. Those in need had less or nothing, but others who already had were amassing more. Greed, selfishness, dissensions, discord, and jealousy are pervading the once generous hearts.

Sometimes, we easily lose sight  of eternity when something bad happens to people, and we tend to care only about their physical needs. As much as they need help in the midst of this magnitude of calamity, they also need a redeemer who can see them through and through and change their hearts. God has called us to be ambassadors to show his love through our actions. Please pray for the survivors that Christ’s love will be manifested in their lives. And also pray for God’s people who are working to bring the hope of Christ to the displaced people.

Find out more about what’s happening in Khokana.

God Who Mourns


Not long ago, a majority of urbanites in Nepal had supposedly a normal life. People were trying to catch up with the hustle and bustle of the big cities. Their effort to find good fortune in the city kept people in a constant pace with others. People had no time to pause and reflect on life. Life was hard; however, it was moving on its course until a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit the capital city, Kathmandu on 25th April 2015. It shook the ground beneath violently that cracked and crumbled the city. Historical monuments turned to rubble. More than 8,300 lives were snubbed and 19,500 were injured. That number could go  even higher. Around 200,000 people were displaced and confined to live in the open field under the makeshift shelters.

Survivors had yet to come to terms with the loss of the loved ones to this magnitude of the calamity, another 7.4-magnitude quake hit the country again on 12th May 2015. Houses that resisted the first quake also fell to the ground killing more people. In between those two bigger quakes, there were more than one hundred and fifty aftershocks which ranged from 4.5 to 5.5 Richter scales.

What I know for sure is that the God of the Bible is a loving God who feels our pain in a personal level. He has lost his One and Only Son, Jesus Christ to the violent death as the atonement of our sins. He knows our loss, grief, and our daily needs. He mourns with us in our pain and suffering. He knows better what it is like to lose a loved one.

With the dust settling down slowly, people are trying to come to normalcy with a constant fear that another aftershock will bring a fresh shock. The very existential needs also compelled people to dive deep in their soul in search of answers to this painful tragedy. Some look at this course of the event as a mere natural disaster that had nothing to do with the pantheons of gods and goddess. Another group of people look at the tragedy as a causal effect of Karmic law as prescribed in the Vedic scriptures. Ones who struggle more are the one with Judeo-Christian worldview that posits God is Sovereign over all creation, and he is an all-good, all-powerful, and all-knowing God.

Where do we find God in this event? What was he doing when his worshippers were proclaiming his holy name while the building collapsed on them? Has he turned a deaf ear to the howl of his people who were trapped inside the crumbling building? Where shall we go to find solace for our shredded souls with agonizing pain due to the loss of our dearest and nearest ones?

I am not going to claim that I have all the answers to these questions. I do not know the mysteries behind these sorts of tragedies. I might never have satisfactory answers while I am in the mortal flesh. What I know for sure is that the God of the Bible is a loving God who feels our pain in a personal level. He has lost his One and Only Son, Jesus Christ to the violent death as the atonement of our sins. He knows our loss, grief, and our daily needs. He mourns with us in our pain and suffering. He knows better what it is like to lose a loved one. He cares for us, as we have no place to lay down our head.

God is right with his people in the midst of this tragic loss and suffering. He is not descending from the heaven in the clouds. Neither is he waving his magic wand to ease people’s pain nor he comes with a magic chant to spell the evil out of this corrupted world. But he is so close to the afflicted ones. He is in the midst of those who are working as an extension of his unending grace to carry the burden of the survivors. He is sobbing while looking at the rescuers digging the debris to bring out the victims and survivors. He is wailing with the  mother and the father who lost their children. He is with the homeless, sick, hungry, beaten down, injured, and relief workers. He is right there with his church which are his hands and feet.

The earth herself is not immune to pain and agony after sin entered into this world. The Bible says:

For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. (Romans 8:22-23 NLT)

We do not know what future holds for us. Possibly, there will be more pain, suffering, agony, and scarcity etc. etc. We do have a glorious hope though. God who is mourning with us now is going to deliver us from the present time. We have seen his faithfulness in our own lives. We hold to this foretaste of the future glory that this pain and suffering is subdued through the resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ.

From a Skilled Sculptor’s Hands


I have a friend who is a very skilled sculptor. He has mastered the skill by putting a lot of painful hours into work. With all the patience and courage he can muster, he grabs his hammer and chisel in his hands. He takes a painstaking look at the rock he is going to work on. Caressing it gently and carefully as if the rock before him were fragile, he puts his chisel on the spot that he thinks is better to begin with. He raises the hammer just above the level of his eyebrows and strikes it with the right amount of pressure to cut the rock. It is a very measured and well-calculated strike. He knows his hammer and his chisel far better than anyone.

We are not a byproduct of random chance. Nor are we left as a matter in the motion in the vast universe. We are created beings. Even more so, we are made and formed with a purpose in his likeness.

The unrelenting process must continue in order to bring the rock into the intended shape. The work of the skilled sculptor’s hands is coming to shape that doesn’t look anything like it was before. He has transformed it into something that is marvelous and meaningful. That masterpiece is unmatched by anything that we have seen before. A finished work depicts the skill of his creator and reflects the heart of his maker.

spermatozoid

In the same manner, the Creator God made us fearfully and wonderfully in our mother’s womb. The life-forming elements from a man and a woman do not look like anything, least a human being. He oversaw us from the very moment when we were conceived. All the complexities of our human body systems and parts only confirm how he wove us as a skilled workmanship weave elegant jewels. We are the work of his hands. No one could have said any better than King David in his Psalm 139:13-14:

For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.

We are not a byproduct of random chance. Nor are we left as a matter in the motion in the vast universe. We are created beings. Even more so, we are made and formed with a purpose in his likeness. Prophets from the ancient console that we are called to be his children. We are his masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10).

Stay Tuned In : Nabeel Qureshi Debates Shabir Ally


Stay tuned in to watch live stream of a debate between Dr. Nabeel Qureshi (a former Muslim), author of Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus and Imam Dr. Shabir Ally on the question, “What Is God Really Like: Tawhid or Trinity?” at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (EDT). Apologetics Canada claims in its Facebook page that Imam learned debating skills by watching another prominent Christian apologist Dr. William Lane Craig.

Dr. Qureshi is in the RZIM’s speaking team. This is what he had to say about Dr. Ally:

“I’m honored to debate Dr. Shabir Ally. The last time I saw him was in 2004 when I was still a Muslim. I was watching him debate and was hoping he’d win.”

Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to watch Dr. Qureshi taking on Dr. Ally.

Watch Youtube livestream