Volume 17, Issue 2 | July – September 2015
With millions impacted and more than 8,000 dead, the earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25 has changed every facet of life. Although food supply lines have broken down, bathrooms have been damaged, and homes have been destroyed, the Church is alive and well in Nepal.
Just days after the 7.8 earthquake, Disaster Relief volunteers Gene Cole from Liberty Baptist Church in Hampton and Michael Tolliver from The Heights Baptist Church in Colonial Heights were on the ground in Nepal, bringing assistance from SBC of Virginia churches.
Partnering with Nepalese Pastor Dhan Bahadur Surketi and the Emmanuel Church in Jarang, they helped distribute food for 4,500 people. Five other Nepalese churches were also involved. To see the smiles on the faces of the church members as they distributed food throughout their villages was, in the words of both Mike and Gene, “Fantastic!” The food purchased was made possible by the designated gifts of SBC of Virginia churches. Mike and Gene watched in amazement as these Nepalese believers smiled even about the animal shelters they were using as temporary housing. They expressed the kind of joy in crisis that only a caring Heavenly Father can provide.
Credentialed Disaster Relief volunteers Mike and Gene have also received the international Sphere Project credential and were uniquely gifted to be a part of the Southern Baptist Disaster Assessment Relief Team. They arrived in Nepal with a doctor from Mississippi to survey the situation and determine how Southern Baptists around the world could have a coordinated response to the earthquake.
In addition to providing direct food relief through the churches, Mike and Gene developed a plan so that Southern Baptist Disaster Relief teams can come and assist the Nepalese in their recovery effort. Teams from America will be able to assist with distributing food, rebuilding water and sanitation systems, and assisting homeowners in re-purposing materials to rebuild their homes.
Three teams are mobilized for this initial response. These teams will be cleaning up debris, rebuilding a school, and assisting homeowners in repairing latrines during the summer months. These team members are hitting the ground during the monsoon season and have very few resources available to them on the ground while working, hiking, and climbing at 5,000-foot elevations.
Thank you, SBC of Virginia churches, for your fervent prayers and generosity to Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. Your gifts are blessing people around the world—providing for their physical and spiritual needs.