One year after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake devastated Nepal, Christian missionaries continue to work tirelessly in the region, providing both spiritual and physical aid to those still traumatized.
On May 12, 2015, a major earthquake struck eastern Nepal, near Mount Everest, two weeks after more than 9,000 people died in a devastating quake. At least 48 people were killed and more than 1,000 injured, while dozens of buildings, homes and businesses were completely destroyed.
According to a report from Christian Aid Mission, millions of dollars in international aid remain "tied up in red tape," with just a fraction of the $4.1 billion in pledges being disbursed, according to government figures. Reuters notes that little of that fund has been spent because of haggling between political parties, leading to a delay in helping millions of survivors.
However, indigenous ministries have stepped in, providing locally available clothes, blankets, firewood and food to those still affected by last year's earthquakes and ongoing aftershocks.
"By His grace and His provision through you, we were blessed to provide warm quilts for families who had lost their homes in the earthquake, warm clothes to children and building materials for church worship rooms," the director of an indigenous ministry told CAM.
A woman who lost her husband and home was among the recipients of a new home the indigenous ministry provided earlier this year. In tears, she said, "For the first time this year, I will be able to sleep warm."
Nepal's government has also been slow to move reconstruction efforts forward as it turned its focus to a new constitution last year. However, the government recently approved earthquake-resistant home requirements, allowing ministry workers and other survivors to begin collecting materials to rebuild homes.
"We have been provided with $20,000 for this purpose," he said. "Please pray that we will be good stewards of these funds and utilize them wisely. If you would like to add to this fund, to be blessed by giving to those in need."
The earthquakes also demolished many church buildings; but, with the support of CAM, indigenous ministries were able to rebuild two churches, and more are in the process. Recently, three people from one of the churches whose building was rebuilt were baptized, and in the same place a marriage ceremony took place.
In Nepal, Hinduism reigns as the primary religion - out of Nepal's population of 28 million, Christians make up less than 1.5 percent. Recently, the former Hindu kingdom adopted a new constitution that declared the country a secular state.
However, God is working through missionaries working in the region: A young Christian physician from a local ministry, Dipayan*, has served villagers tirelessly since the earthquakes struck.
"Someone came from one of the NGOs [Non-Governmental Organizations], not having much with them to help these people," the indigenous ministry leader said. "Dipayan told me that he didn't sleep for four days, but whatever he can do, he is doing. People are coming to him for help, counseling and so on."
She said that medical and other relief workers from outside the village do not know the local language, leaving Dipayan in a critical role as an indigenous worker.
"The villagers do not understand other people who come to help them," the ministry leader said. "I think it is God's plan for Dipayan to help them, because after the earthquake, he was the main person who played a big role between the villagers and relief workers. He is a small light shining in those villages. Pray that the eyes of the people will be opened to see His light."
CAM notes that there is still a pressing need for food, tarps and other relief items, as well as building materials in local villages. Pastors are currently conducting training sessions where they provide not only relief items, but the word of God as well.
"Lots of inner healing took place there," a missionary told CAM of an earlier training session. "A couple hundred people from this area died, and everyone lost their homes, but now I believe they are comforted, and I believe this upcoming training also will bring joy to those villages. Thank you for your prayers."