A summary from three blogs: A2 Community + From The President + A2 Stories on Mission Network News
Karl and June of Moody Radio-Chicago interviewed Mr. Chittry on the ground in Nepal. He provided a status update on what's happening—both the challenges and the opportunities—how they're coping there, and how you can help.
Listen to the Moody Radio interview with Mr. Chittry in Nepal...
All three are in short supply. Also adding to the confusion: more quakes. Four days after Nepal was shaken by its second deadly significant earthquake in less than three weeks, nerves were rattled there by another quake Saturday afternoon.
As aftershocks go, this one registered 5.7 magnitude on Saturday. Seismologists say there have been well over 100 quakes registering at a magnitude of 4 or over since April. The result of the May 16 quake included no reports of injuries or deaths, possibly because so many structures were already toppled by the 7.8 April 25th temblor and the 7.3 that followed on May 12.
With the excitement of disaster dying down, the drudgery of tragedy has all but wiped the crisis from the forefront. That’s where groups like Asian Access come in. Long-term emotional consequences of a disaster are related to feelings of powerlessness and lack of control over forces bigger than oneself.
On Sunday, May 17, the first Asian Access relief team began delivering aid and assessing upcoming needs. The team will immediately distribute relief through a network of local churches. We caught up with A2’s Noel Becchetti on his second day in Nepal. He describes the scenario. “There are a couple of decent-sized open areas, and those are just tent cities. But everywhere else–in every nook, every cranny, you’ll see tents. People don’t want to stay inside. Most people have rigged something up, whether it’s a formal tent that was donated or a tarp they’ve hung over a rope. They’re not sleeping inside. That’s a real issue–people are scared to death here.”
Becchetti adds, “The nationwide goal is to get a tin roof for every family. They’re not even shooting for tents. There are just so many people, especially in the outlying villages, they’re just completely leveled. You’ve got hundreds of thousands of people with no shelter at all.”
Things could go from bad to worse, however, especially in the outlying areas that are getting overlooked. That’s especially true as they scramble to restore a simple infrastructure to get people through monsoons, fall, and next winter. “Tents are number one, (even ahead of) food, water, medicine. Those are the acute issues in that order.” Nepali churches are trying to be at the center of bringing hope and practical help, emotional and spiritual care. “Our leaders are saying, ‘This has opened up an unprecedented opportunity.’ They’ve even had non-Christians approaching them, saying,’Would you help us? We know that you Christians do care about people you work with. You try to reach out. We want to work with you.'”
Another secondary phase response will include trauma counseling. Then, it’ll be getting schools back together. According to one A2 pastor report, 700 community schools of 36 districts are totally down. It could take years to restore things back to “normal.”
As the ministry assists the Nepalese Church, Becchetti asks you to pray for these three areas: “I think endurance, wisdom, patience, because it is very challenging, logistically. [Pray for] the ability of all these different organizations to work together: there’s government, there’s military, there’s relief and development, there’s Christian, there’s secular.”
On the giving front, the financial needs are huge.For Asian Access, says Becchetti, “We’re raising money to contribute to the cause in Nepal. The Christian Community Credit Union has pledged a matching challenge grant of $10,000 (so $10,000 can become $20,000).”
The first of several response teams is on the ground. From there, “We’re researching some options right now that look very promising, where there could be a good possibility that short-term groups that would want to volunteer could come to fruition.”
Listen to the broadcast (top story)
Four years ago, the Fukushima 1st Nuclear Power Plant melted down due to the tsunami that hit Japan on 3.11.2011. It's a day I will never forget! I was near Nagano at the time for our annual staff retreat (where I'm heading later this week). The 9.1 earthquake triggered a disaster that is etched in my memory forever.
The members of Fukushima First Bible Baptist Church went on a month-long journey around Japan because their church and homes were in the quarantine area. Read/hear their stories here:
Some died during the tsunami as the lady who is pictured here. Others passed away on the one-months trek moving from one temporary housing to another. To this day, many are still unable to visit their homes and others are limited to going in during the day time, but not able to spend the night. Pastor Akira Sato told my colleague that he has given up hope for fully returning to his home.
Visiting the region was simply devastating. See some of the photos here.
It's essentially a ghost town with nuclear waste being piled in thousands and perhaps tens of thousands of bags all over the region.
However, attending the relocated church on Sunday inspired me. Pastor Sato spoke of needing to let go of the past and focus on the Lord's blessings. It was a great message from 2 Timothy 1:13-16. He encouraged the church to focus on the sound Words coming from Christ, those words of faith and love sustained by the work of the Holy Spirit.
Knowing the deep loss that each of these families have faced and yet seeing the smiles on their faces and the hope that they have instilled in others was powerful. Many have come to Christ since the disaster hit several years ago. Even though many of the church members have moved away to other areas, the church is filling up with new believers.
Over and above this, Pastor Sato practices what he preaches. In the midst of his deep loss and pain, he encouraged the church to give to their Nepali brothers and sisters who had just gone through a similar devastating disaster. His encouragement so deeply touched me that I not only began crying but I gave just about everything I had to the offering that day.
Pastor Sato personally thanked me and Asian Access for the enormous help we gave during the triple disaster that hit Japan and for the way we helped their church as well. Beyond this, in the midst of their loss and pain, he handed me a check to give to the Nepali people when I visit there next week. That put me over the top. Imagine that: in the midst of some of your deepest sense of loss, you focus on the way that God has blessed you and you dig deep to reach out to others in need. That's so Jesus!
I left Fukushima with the hope of Christ: that in the midst of such devastation, God is at work. He has a plan and with all the trouble our world is facing, He is a God of hope. He brings hope to the people of Japan and to the people of Nepal.
Will you join me in praying, giving and being an agent of hope this year in Japan, in Nepal and beyond?
Hear Rev. Sato share his experience...
Click Here to Give Now:https://give.asianaccess.org/
Christian Community Credit Union has extended to Asian Access a $10,000 Matching Challenge Grant to bring hope and healing to the country of Nepal.
The reports coming out of the country are heart breaking. Just today I received another Facebook message about the fear children are feeling, especially the most vulnerable: those who have been orphaned and have no family, no home. Many orphanages have collapsed and the children live in constant fear as each aftershock hits. Just yesterday there were 9 shocks and today a 5.5 aftershock struck.
The initial quake hit right during the middle of church services in Nepal and dozens of churches crumbled right on their congregants.
Asian Access is delivering aid through their vast network of leading churches and pastors in the country. To learn more about what is happening, follow our Nepal update page here: http://www.asianaccess.org/latest/nepal-quake
The Credit Union is able to offer this challenge opportunity through funds generated from a unique program called: “The Cards that Give to Missions.” As their members use their credit cards, they generate funds to make contributions like this plus the funds also give a percentage back to the ministries themselves.
The program has proven fruitful for several ministries and we wanted you to be aware of both the program and the opportunity to participate in the matching challenge. With this challenge, Asian Access would have $20,000 to bring hope and healing to the people of Nepal.
Every time Christian Community Credit Union members use their credit or debit card for purchases, a portion of the interchange income (the amount merchants pay to card issuers) is set aside for missions and ministry projects worldwide. Since the program began, the Credit Union has donated over $4 million and contributes to various faith-based projects such as:
Christian Community Credit Union has $600 million in assets and over 30,000 members nationwide. For over 58 years, the Credit Union has served as a financial partner of Christian ministries, churches, and their members. For more information, please call 800.347.CCCU (2228) or visitmyCCCU.com.
Every donation will be doubled by Christian Community Credit Union!
If you would like to learn more about “The Cards that Give to Missions” program, please visit Christian Community Credit Union's Web site. And, I ask that you prayerfully consider a gift to help us reach the $10,000 matching opportunity.
I am grateful to Christian Community Credit Union for investing in programs like this that make a difference. Their encouragement through this challenge as well as the other investments they make annually are a tribute to their commitment to Christ and expanding His Kingdom.
You can make a difference now! Here's how:
Consider giving a gift to Asian Access to help us reach the $10,000 matching opportunity.
...or send your check to Asian Access, PO Box 3307, Cerritos, CA 90703.
Find out more...
Here are links to related topics:
Asian Access' first relief team will be on the ground May 17 to begin delivering aid and assessing upcoming needs. The team will immediately distribute relief through a network of local churches.
This is a letter from Noel Becchetti sent to his prayer team and financial supporters...
I am departing for Asia. On May 17, I will arrive into Kathmandu, Nepal. Asian Access has asked me to bring in resources that have been generously donated by people like you. While I am there, I will spend time with our A2 Nepal national leaders, listening to them as they determine how to best minister to their congregations, neighborhoods, and communities. My assignment is to collect their ideas and suggestions as to how Asian Access can be of assistance to them in the coming weeks and months.
Thank you for your prayers, especially for the millions still suffering in Nepal.
P.S.: As I sat down to write this note, Nepal suffered another major earthquake, which has led to more death and destruction. Asian Access is continuing to accept donations to help with the ongoing efforts in Nepal. https://give.asianaccess.org If you would prefer to donate by check, checks can be made out to Asian Access and sent to:
PO Box 3307 | Cerritos, CA 90703
THANK YOU for your consideration.
Even before the second major quake, Asian Access president Joe Handley observed that Nepal had already fallen off the radar screen, but the remaining needs are massive. He encouraged donors to "give toward organizations that share your particular philosophy." Here is Asian Access' relief philosophy in Nepal:
Asian Access will distribute funds received from churches and leaders across the world in response to the tragedy in Nepal. From past experience, we have learned that in a disaster situation like this, our first ministry priority is to work with local, indigenous leaders. This strategy was originally laid out by A2 National Director Adrian De Visser following the tsunami that struck his native Sri Lanka in December 2004. We have incorporated the lessons we learned from the Sri Lanka relief effort, as well as from our experiences in Japan following the triple disaster of March 2011.
Here are other organizations we are recommending...
How to Give toward Asian Access' Relief Work
...or send your check to Asian Access, PO Box 3307, Cerritos, CA 90703.
Massive Needs: With monsoon season approaching, 2 million are living in tents... 8 million people affected across 39 districts... 600,000 homes destroyed or damaged.
Nepal (MNN) — Nepalese are afraid to go inside any building. For the second time in less than three weeks, Nepal was shaken by a 7.3 magnitude earthquake, leaving many dead and hundreds more injured. The epicenter, this time, located near Mount Everest, took down buildings already shaken by the April 25 quake.
President of Asian Access Joe Handley says, “The reports fresh from the field [are] that there’s just a great deal of fear. People are in buildings that aren’t very solid, and so they’ve raced outside. Everyone is trying to get into the open air, or in a tent in Kathmandu.”
The earthquake is shaking the faith of many Hindus in this predominately-Hindu nation. Garnesh Pradhan told USA Today, “Not only Hundu[ism] I left, [but] all the gods I left.”
What does that mean for groups like Asian Access? “People are grappling with ‘How do the gods that I serve allow something so tragic to occur?’ Pastors are well-equipped to handle the spiritual side of things,” says Handley. “They’re also often the best when it comes to emotional care.”
(Listen to the whole interview here: 04-28-15josephhandle..>)
According to Handley, these uncertain times are laying the groundwork for churches to provide tangible aid. “We’re trying to mobilize aid to probably about 30 churches that are right in the middle of the worst-hit areas, to be a point of light in these neighborhoods.”
Pastors and motivated Christians are reaching out with emergency aid as well as with the message of the Gospel.
Thirty years ago there were hardly any Christians in Nepal. “The Christian population is small but has been growing for the past 30 years,” says Handley. “In fact, they say it’s the fastest-growing church on planet Earth during these three decades.”
As you support churches in Nepal, you’re helping the church have more credibility in a nation that used to oppress Christians.
Unfortunately, there’s a problem. Handley explains, “The giving globally isn’t keeping up with the massive needs on the ground. So, we’re just praying that Christians will respond.”
The United Nations reports they’ve only received $20 million in emergency aid support in their $110 million goal. Other groups are finding similar response.
If you’d like to support A2’s work in Nepal, click here.
Listen to the broadcast (story #1)
Karl and June of Moody Radio-Chicago interviewed Joe Handley again, who provided the latest information on the Nepal earthquake.
Listen to the Moody Radio interview with Joe Handley...
GOD BLESS YOU for your faithfulness for God's Kingdom!! When I read your recent report on Nepal I felt so strong that the Lord wanted me to write a follow up on Nepal (Please see below). We will be praying for Asian Access and the other groups you mentioned.
In His Grace, Pat
courtesy David & Pat Depew - for May 10, 2015 church bulletins
You are praying and God is Answering! The following are updates from mission groups, field missionaries and national Nepali Christians that will help you to know how you can further pray and help the Nepali people devastated by the earthquake:
President Joe Handley wrote, "I just spoke with some friends from Nepal; as you can imagine, they are devastated. Here is what they shared with me:
"Church (members) that have survived have begun to act quickly by providing food, shelter, water, clothes and other needs for the people. It's good to see some pastors and leaders have already started doing this."
"Thank God for many nations and people that are gone to help our country. We are thankful."
As a first step, Asian Access will send people to Nepal as soon as possible to assess the situation on the ground. Our intent is to hear from local leaders what is needed, and how they believe that Asian Access can help. In this immediate response period, we will deliver aid through some of the top local churches in the nation. Ten percent of the funds raised will be invested in the equipping and empowering of these leading pastors. The remaining 90% of the funds will be used to provide immediate relief, through their congregations (e.g., fresh water, food, blankets, medical supplies, etc.). As our response team gains an understanding of the situation, we will adjust to meet the real needs on the ground, as identified and prioritized by trusted national leaders.
In disasters such as the earthquake in Nepal, there is a natural urge to send volunteer groups who want to provide short-term help on site. While the intent of these groups is good, THEY do NOT need unskilled volunteers or aid they can't use at this time... In her article, "Don't rush to Nepal to help", Clare Bennett stated, ". . . what is most needed in Nepal right now is money. Donate what you can, to a reputable relief organization, and do research to find out where your money will go." Joe Handley is encouraging Christians to support the following Christian groups with which Asian Access works:
Sunrise President writes, "We are scheduled to be in Nepal May 17-20 for a conference with Abe Huber and around 100 Nepali leaders. I will take funds that are sent to Sunrise for Nepal on this trip and pass it directly to pastors there who will use it to meet the immediate needs of people around them. In 2008 when the cyclone hit Myanmar 138,000 people died and 2 million were homeless. I took about $30,000 to Myanmar and distributed it to local leaders in churches. We made a simple contract with them and asked them to agree to the following: 1. The funds would only be used for the immediate needs of hurting people to provide food, water, medicine, clothes, supplies, etc. (This will not be used for buildings, church programs, etc.) 2. Half of the funds were to help the Christians and the other half were be used to help people in the community. This plan worked very well. Local people understand who has the greatest needs and how the funds can be used most efficiently. We will follow a similar model for this current crisis in Nepal."
SAMARITANS PURSE: http://www.samaritanspurse.org/donation-items/nepal-earthquake-response/
"The deadly earthquake killed thousands. Over 70,000 houses were destroyed. An estimated 2.8 million people have been displaced, including hundreds of thousands who are afraid to return to their houses. Our disaster response team is in Nepal to provide emergency shelter, food, clean water, medical care, and meet other urgent needs for victims of the terrible disaster." Please see the videos that SAMARITANS PURSE is providing on their web site for updates.
PLEASE NOTE: In the long term there will be a need for people who can help repair and rebuild destroyed houses in Nepal. If you or someone you know would like to help in this effort please keep in contact with Asian Access.
PRAY that through the work of GOD'S SERVANTS THE LIVING LORD WILL BE KNOWN IN NEPAL!
Courtesy of David & Pat Depew - for May 3, 2015 church bulletins
Thousands of Nepal’s population of about 30 million have been killed or injured follow the horrific 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck on April 25th. Many individuals have either lost their homes or have been forced to live outdoors because of the threat of further aftershocks.
Several countries including the United States, China and India are sending search-and-rescue teams, aid workers, supplies and medical help to this impoverish country. Some of the U.S. Christian groups are Samaritan’s Purse, Save The Children and World Vision.
According to a recent report 81% of the Nepalese population are Hindu, 9% Buddhist, 4% Muslim, 3 % Christian and 2.5 % Yumaist (Shamanism).
Saturday is the Christian worship day in Nepal and most churches meet between 10.00 AM to 12.30 PM. When the earthquake hit many believers were in church. Gospel for Asia stated that many church buildings were totally destroyed leaving hundreds injured and approximately “500 + Christians are feared dead”.
As Nepal struggles to deal with the tragedy of the earthquake it continues to face political problems. It has not completed its transition to a secular democracy by declaring its new Constitution. It has been more than six years since the Maoist guerrillas overthrew the Hindu monarchy. One political member of theUnited Marxist Leninist party said, “the constitution will not be ready in May. The country might have to wait another year.”
Pastor Dahal, National Churches’ Fellowship of Nepal stated,
"These further delays will be a disappointment to the country’s Christians and other minority religions hopeful that the new constitution would guarantee them equal rights and religious freedoms. We do not have a long history of Christianity in Nepal. During the Rana (1846 until 1951) regime, Christians were not allowed to live in the nation. In 1950, the late King Tribhuvan announced that Christians could live in the nation and in 2006 we were declared to be a secular nation. Even though we now number almost 1.1 million, the government has not accepted us [Christians] as one of the religions of the nation. Christians are hoping and praying for the best amid the delay in announcing a new constitution. But they say they are also prepared for the worst and to carry on, come what may. We have to love our brothers irrespective of their faith, irrespective of their level of spirituality. . . because God. . . and there’s only one God, there’s only one Creator. . . therefore they may be Hindus, they may be Muslims. . . whatever. . . they are still God’s creation. And they are our brothers."
Another Nepalese Pastor commented,
"As Christians, we are always prepared to work and live our faith under any circumstances. So hindrances, difficulties, obstacles do not hinder Christians from living their Christian faith and also propagating and sharing their faith. Even though there are some voices, some groups of people who are not very happy with this [secularism] and who would like to see Nepal become a Hindu kingdom again, Nepal cannot go back. God is moving in Nepal and He will be our strength through all that we go through.”
Operation World reports, “The Nepali diaspora is officially two million, but the number of Nepalis illegally working abroad (by choice and increasingly by compulsion) may exceed 10 million. Nearly every family in Nepal has at least one member working away from home. Most go to India, but Nepalis can be found in over 100 nations. Nepalis abroad are more open to the gospel than are those at home. Numerous churches are established among Nepali migrants, even in restricted-access nations. Pray that creative ways might be found to share the good news with these scattered peoples.”
PRAY for the many needs facing the people of Nepal following this terrible earthquake and PRAY for aid workers reaching out to help the people. PRAY that there will be a final political resolution for Nepal and that Christians will no longer face persecution. PRAY for the redemptive power of God in the middle of this tragedy so the Nepalese will KNOW the LIVING LORD!
As the reports continue to stream in from Nepal, it’s heartbreaking to realize the havoc that the massive earthquake has wreaked on the nation. I just spoke with some friends from Nepal; as you can imagine, they are devastated. Here is what they shared with me:
“In Kathmandu, one church 25 died and 5 were from the same family. Another 15 died outside of Kathmandu. 30 died in one church and 42 churches from different districts collapsed. There are more to come.
“Many houses are gone, so churches that have survived have begun to act quickly by providing food, shelter, water, clothes and other needs. It’s good to see some pastors and leaders have already started doing this.
“One friend’s village is totally gone. No house is unaffected. Some local students we know have returned to their village to see their families’ situation firsthand. In fact, many people from Kathmandu are returning to their old villages for safety.
“We still need to hear more since relief has not reached some affected areas. Thank God for many nations and people are gone to help our country. We are thankful."
Asian Access has received numerous inquiries from churches and leaders across the world as to how we will respond to the tragedy in Nepal. From past experience, we have learned that in a disaster situation like this, our first ministry priority is to work with local, indigenous leaders. This strategy was originally laid out by A2 National Director Adrian De Visser following the tsunami that struck his native Sri Lanka in December 2004. We have incorporated the lessons we learned from the Sri Lanka relief effort, as well as from our experiences in Japan following the triple disaster of March 2011.
As a first step, A2 will send people to Nepal as soon as possible to assess the situation on the ground. Our intent is to hear from local leaders what is needed, and how they believe that Asian Access can help.
In this immediate response period, we will deliver aid through some of the top local churches in the nation. 10% of the funds raised will be invested in the equipping and empowering of these leading pastors. The remaining 90% of the funds will be used to provide immediate relief, provided through their congregations (e.g., fresh water, food, blankets, medical supplies, etc.). As our response team gains an understanding of the situation, our response will adjust to meet the real needs on the ground, as identified and prioritized by trusted national leaders.
We are honored that many churches across the U.S. have decided to dedicate their special offerings to Asian Access. We are humbled by their trust in our work and the positive results they have seen emerge through our partnerships with local churches in-country during previous relief efforts.
That said, Asian Access is not a relief agency. In that light, we are endorsing several leading Christian relief and develop agencies as worthy conduits for support. These are organizations that have been endorsed by national leaders. In particular, we highly recommend Samaritan’s Purse, acknowledged by Japanese Christian leaders as the organization that did the best job in dealing with the 2011 triple disaster.
In disasters such as the earthquake in Nepal, there is a natural urge to send (and join) volunteer groups who want to provide short-term help on site. While the intent of these groups is wonderful, there are valid questions as to when it is appropriate to send in such short-term teams.
An excellent article that outlines the issues and challenges involved with sending short-term teams into a disaster area can be found here. It endorses our approach:
When I called Samaritan’s Purse earlier this week, they informed me that they are not mobilizing teams for Nepal at this stage. As we assess the situation in country, we will seek input from national leaders as to possible ways that teams might effectively serve later this summer or early fall. If such opportunities present themselves, we hope to work with Samaritan’s Purse and Sunrise International Mission in sending such teams. But for now, we will wait, learn and listen.
I invite you to stay abreast of the situation in Nepal. We have set up a web page with updates and stories here: http://www.asianaccess.org/latest/nepal-quake
Thank you for your prayers. I was already tired from a long two-week trip, being sick for over half the trip. I had a full schedule upon return to the States; the Nepal tragedy crashed into what was already a packed schedule. On a personal level, I thank you for your prayers as well.
But most important, please keep Nepal in your prayers! And pray for the many churches throughout the world that are mobilizing resources this weekend to provide sorely-needed relief for the suffering millions in Nepal.
God bless you and thank you for praying,