Tag Archives: Calamity

Nepal Trip and Holistic Approach to the Needs


Friends, I just got back from Nepal. I traveled halfway 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 the western and central regions of Nepal on 25th April 2015.  Waves of aftershocks followed by another fresh 7.4 Rector scale quake destroyed other remaining infrastructures in Khokana. The aftershocks of a 4-5 magnitude scale are persistently felt almost daily. I was there for 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 on a public property called Bäkhä (pronounced as Baa Khaa). Prior to my arrival there, they had only two makeshift toilets made of only bamboo and corrugated galvanized zinc roofing sheets. No proper sewage management or privacy. One of them was already knocked down and thus unusable.

Basic survival needs are demanding, as they will be living in temporary shelters for, at least, the next two years. Some of those living in 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. Meanwhile, the spirit of dependence on outsiders was also prevalent among other survivors. Those in need had less or nothing, but others who already had were amassing more. Greed, selfishness, dissension, discord, and jealousy pervade 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 amid this magnitude of the catastrophe, 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 supposedly had 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 at 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 losing their 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 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 into their souls 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 goddesses. Another group of people looks at the tragedy as a causal effect of Karmic law as prescribed in the Vedic scriptures. One who struggles more are the ones with a 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 proclaimed 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 will not 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 on 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 heads.

God is right with his people amid this tragic loss and suffering. He is not descending from 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 through 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 is 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 the future holds for us. Possibly, there will be more pain, suffering, agony, 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.