By Andrea Lama

The Pieces of Nepal

On Saturday, April 25, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake shook the Himalayan country of Nepal. It struck the country’s capital city, Kathmandu, as well as surrounding villages. More than 5,000 lives have been lost to date with the number expected to rise, homes destroyed leaving thousands homeless, and much of the country’s historical buildings have been reduced to rubble. Villages have been completely destroyed due to landslides that swept them away. Communication has been limited at best, and transportation is very difficult. It’s a very desperate and almost impossible situation for many Nepali people. Shockwaves have continued to rock the country as aftershocks up to 6.6 magnitude keep people in fear for their lives. Thousands of people are sleeping outside under thin tents because they are too afraid to go back into their homes. And it’s the beginning of monsoon season, so they sleep in the rain. Can it get any worse? I'm afraid for many it will.

This temple area was destroyed in the earthquake.
What is my connection to Nepal? My love of Nepal started in college when I made many Nepali friends at my university. I was a college student looking for where the Lord would lead me to minister and quickly found myself surrounded by Nepali international students. Shortly before my graduation, I met a Nepali man whom I later married. My in-laws are ministers in Nepal and doing great work to impact the community for the glory of Christ. They run a children’s home out of their house that currently has 36 children between the ages of 5 and 17. They are amazing people. My husband and I have been to Nepal twice, the most recent return about two months ago. I have a deep love for Nepal, and have been heartbroken to see what is happening to the country over just a few short days.
Ama with children
As I watch the news, I see the places that we just visited now destroyed.  Pictures that we took are now mementos of the way Nepal used to be. We spent a day with some friends touring a museum about the Nepali monarchy and ate lunch on a roof-top restaurant, and all of that is now gone. It’s hard to believe. Nepal is changed for good. The Nepal we remember, we enjoyed, is now gone. People are not able to get their lives back together yet because the aftershocks continue and they are living in constant fear. There are thousands of Nepali people in the United States who can’t find their families, and who may not know if they will ever see them again. The country is being flooded with aid, but there isn’t the infrastructure for the aid to be effective. People sit in tents and are on the brink of starvation.  

My own family was in church when the whole thing started. Immediately they felt the ground start to shake and my mother-in-law grabbed her Bible and headed outside. Everyone else, including the 36 children, got out of the church safely and are thankful to be alive today. My mother-in-law came within inches of being crushed by a falling brick wall. After the initial shaking, she shared hope and comfort with people she met in the streets. She showed God’s love in the midst of a very difficult situation. The family has been visiting villages that were hard hit and providing relief like tents, blankets, and food. I keep asking myself if I would have the same perspective in this dire situation as they do.

The hardest thing I keep thinking about is that in a couple of weeks, Nepal will fall out of the news and become history to most of the world. The media will move on to the hottest news, and fewer people will think about Nepal. Life as people knew it is now gone, and it will take time to rebuild the country and return it to some semblance of normalcy. It is permanently scarred from the horror of the last few days.

Yesterday, April 29, we learned that our family gets to return home. Praise the Lord. After three brutal days and nights of aftershocks, rain, uncertainty, they finally get to return home. They have a long road ahead, but we continue to pray that the Lord will use them in the days to come to lead many to himself. This is the time when people start crying out to God, and for many people, their gods were destroyed. They are looking for the real God. Pray that the Lord will reveal himself to those who are hurting in Nepal. Pray that the Lord will turn all things together for good, as he has a history of doing.

If you want to give to help the people in Nepal, Andrea and Bijay have set up an account that will go directly to support their family and the village churches they serve. You might also consider the many charities collecting funds for Nepal such as World Vision, Samaritan’s Purse, or International Nepal Fellowship.

The author with her family in Nepal.

About the Author

Andrea Lama is the Executive Assistant for Collegiate Ministries at InterVarsity and a graduate student at Dallas Baptist University studying Christian Ministry with a Concentration in Leading a Nonprofit. Andrea and her husband, Bijay, live in Madison, Wisconsin, where Bijay also works for InterVarsity. They share a heart for ministry to Nepal and Nepali people. 

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