June 11, 2015

Nepali churches respond to quakes with sacrificial help

Written by  Chris Fretz
As members of the Binay Church Council share material relief with families affected by the earthquakes in Nepal, they also pray with survivors as part of a holistic response. As members of the Binay Church Council share material relief with families affected by the earthquakes in Nepal, they also pray with survivors as part of a holistic response. Photo by EMM worker.

GORKHA, Nepal — Binay Church Council, a group of Nepali Anabaptist fellowships, is reaching out to communities affected by the April and May earthquakes in Nepal with a goal of assisting 2,000 families.

“I have been so encouraged by the ways in which these brothers and sisters have first looked to the needs of others in this crisis, rather than their own, and have sought to be a blessing to those around them. I believe this will speak volumes throughout these communities of the sacrificial love of Christ,” said Alexander, regional representative in Central Asia for Eastern Mennonite Missions. (His real name is not used to protect believers with whom he works.)

“These earthquakes hit in the heart of the area where Binay has been actively engaged in church planting for years. Those affected include many, many church members and leaders, yet they are looking out for others in their communities in the midst of their own trauma,” said Alexander, who arrived in Nepal within a week of the April 25, 2015 earthquake, delivering initial financial assistance from EMM in cash.

Binay Church Council has been providing food supplies, mosquito nets, tarps, roofing material, and other assistance to earthquake survivors in Gorkha and Thumi districts. Although there are many new challenges in the aftermath of the earthquakes, Binay members are resilient in their efforts to assist survivors.

They would like to provide assistance in a mountainous village of 150 families in the remote Dhading district. Although there is a road that goes half-way to the village from the highway, volunteers can’t take supplies there directly because many people along the way who also need supplies have been stopping the shipments from reaching these remote areas. Binay church volunteers are planning to invite people to the highway to receive supplies. Many of the villagers will walk one full day to the highway, stay overnight, and then carry the supplies to their homes the next day.

“The geography of the affected areas makes large-scale, coordinated efforts logistically challenging, and there will be gaps in the relief and aid process,” said Alexander. “EMM’s partnership with the Binay Church Council is a strategic effort to assist local believers as they reach out to their own communities as the hands and feet of Christ in the weeks, months, and years ahead. As they embody the servant attitude of Christ to their neighbors, we believe that God will use their efforts to establish and grow his kingdom in Nepal.”

EMM has committed an initial $10,000 to assist the Binay Church Council and may provide additional support in the future. Alexander stressed that EMM is working with long-term partners who know the region well and that the relief and reconstruction process will continue in various ways over years.

A representative from PTL India, another mission partner, accompanied Alexander in visiting Nepal. PTL India is currently considering how they might also partner with Binay Church Council in holistic relief efforts.