The Free Church of Scotland is urging congregations to hold collections for the Disaster and Relief Fund to help mission partners respond to the disaster in Nepal.
More than 5,000 people have been confirmed dead following Saturday’s earthquake, with the death toll expected to rise to over 8,000.
Though the risk of another earthquake is almost over, now people are at risk of dying because of hunger, thirst and rain – so the need at the moment is food, water and shelter. The Nepali Government is unable to provide this.
The Free Church has sent £5,000 to Tearfund to help with emergency relief work in the ground.
Please keep on praying for the people of Nepal, particularly that those still trapped in the rubble will be rescued safely and as quickly as possible.
Suraj Kasula, who is from Nepal, is in his final year of studying at Edinburgh Theological Seminary before heading back to his homeland to pastor a church near Kathmandu.
He said: “We are appalled by this terrifying disaster. Please continue to pray for the people of Nepal as they grieve and mourn over the loss of their families and friends. May God grant them a spirit of endurance.”
Though Suraj’s parents are safe, some of his friends died in the catastrophe – and thus far 35 Christians have perished, as Nepali churches gather on a Saturday (the time of the disaster) rather than a Sunday.
Because his home church in Bhaktapur is small, there was less risk of it collapsing – but the local elders opened up the building and people have been flocking in for shelter. Though it is monsoon season, many more have set up tents in the church grounds (see below).
One woman and her new-born baby are surviving in one of the Sunday School rooms.
Suraj also explained the religious impact of the devastation: “Most of the people hit by this tragedy in Nepal are Hindu.
“They blame their gods whenever disaster hits, and they will do the same again. The Hindu gods are untouched by suffering.
“By contrast, Jesus draws near and sympathises with those who weep, because he knows human suffering and human tears.
“And as difficult as it is to imagine right now, the suffering Jesus Christ endured on the cross to pay for God’s wrath on behalf of sinners exceeds the sorrow of the whole nation of Nepal right now.
“Viewed through this prism of the cross, Christ is exactly what my nation needs now.
“We tend to think that gospel would be ineffective or inappropriate to preach while people suffer so deeply. But it is the other way round.
“The gospel is the message of a broken Saviour who is relevant to reach into broken lives right now.
“He is the only true comfort my country can have in this suffering.”
As evidence of this, at the time of the earthquake some of the Nepalese were marking the indoor festival of Dugu Puja – and most of the celebrants would have been drunk, making it even more difficult for them to survive.
Suraj concluded: “So as you consider sending immediate financial support, and the physical needs are great, please join me in praying that this dark tragedy will open up new doors of ministry and make new ways for the hope of Jesus Christ to shine even more brightly in the nation of Nepal, bringing with it the message of hope, consolation, and restoration.”
To donate to the Free Church’s Disaster and Relief Fund for Nepal please click here: http://freechurch.org/donate