Providing Hope in the Face of Disaster
Of course one of Nepal’s first needs has been food. After your house collapses going inside, even to get food, is not always an option. Adding to this, the cracked and blocked roads make the threat of food shortages in the near future a real possibility. One of OM’s first priorities has been tackling this by buying, packaging and distributing food to those in need. One food parcel, containing rice, lentils and oil, holds enough to feed a small family for five days. The purpose of the parcels is to meet the villagers immediate needs so they can survive until long term help can be provided, something OM desires to also do. There are plans to revisit every village where food packages have been left, with the aim of working there to help people rebuild their lives. But OM Nepal doesn’t just want to only meet people’s physical needs: we want to meet their spiritual needs as well. That’s why in every food package there is a small tract explaining the love of Christ. We’re continually hearing stories of how the Lord is opening people’s hearts and as we revisit these villages we pray that God will continue to do so. So far over 460 family-sized food packages, 40 large bags of rice, and 560 bread rolls have been distributed in the area surrounding OM’s training base, with more being given away every day.
Providing basic shelters
Another immediate need is shelter. Most of Nepal’s village population are still unable to return to their homes and so are camping outside in makeshift shelters. While some villagers own tarpaulins sufficient to provide substantial shelter, many don’t. Countless numbers have scraped together what they can find to create tents, including sowing empty rice bags together. As a response, OM Nepal has been gathering and distributing tarpaulins to the villages most in need. The desire is to see communities working together with these tarpaulins, sharing shelter and helping each other during this time. Large tarpaulins can sleep up to 150 people, and so encouraging the community to come together underneath these is vital to the most effective use of the tents. OM has already given out around 15 tarpaulins, therefore providing shelter for over 1000 people, with the desire to return to these communities and help them move out from the tents and into newly built homes. Another 100 tarpaulins were purchased and will be distributed in the comings days.
The hospitals in Kathmandu have been flooded with people in the last week as many were injured running from their homes. After a couple of the team felt a desire to serve the injured and the hospitals a ministry team was put together and sent out to seek the needs of the hospitals. They have been able to provide food and basic medicines, but what they’re really passionate about is seeing God work through their prayers. “Almost everyone we prayed for felt something inside: the presence of God, or peace, or lessened pain” said one of the team. “God is working.” Although they wondered if they might be an unwanted obstacle, the team found the opposite was true. “People feel so blessed that [we] care and want to pray for them” they said. “Prayer was always welcome. People were very open. We were often able to share about Jesus.” The team are finding more and more open hearts in the wake of the earthquake. They are excited to keep finding those hearts, sharing the gospel and seeing the healing power of Christ.
In the coming days and weeks one of the bigger needs will be to provide basic trauma counseling to those who were impacted. OM International is supporting the OM Nepal team in People Care/ Debriefing and an experienced counselor is flying in on May 6th. She will first begin to meet with team members, and then train both them and local churches on how to provide basic counseling for others. “We want to make sure our team members are healthy and doing OK,” an OM Nepal leader explained. “And then we want to be able to help the Nepalese people debrief their earthquake experiences.” This will be a longer process since sending teams out to the remote districts and villages is difficult due to impassable roads. But OM Nepal believes that this kind of counseling will be instrumental in helping the Nepalese people.
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