Thursday, May 7, 2015

Believers Church in India Responds in Earnest to Nepal Earthquake Victims

Members Who Lived Through Previous Disasters Now Providing
Prayer, Food, Clothing, Funds and Relief Workers for Others

KATHMANDU, Nepal – Members from Believers Church in India are responding unconditionally to the disastrous April 25 earthquake in Nepal with widespread prayer, fasting, sacrificial giving, clothing and food drives, as well as sending relief teams to help restore the neighboring South Asian country.

Gospel for Asia supports Believers Church, a denomination with 2.7 million members, which has a strong emphasis on ministering to those in need in their own communities. Members, regardless of their own financial need, are taking their own initiative to help bring relief to those affected by the earthquake in Nepal. And some even out of their own poverty are sacrificing to bring hope to these hurting communities in Nepal.



Gospel for Asia-supported missionaries, Believers Church pastors and Bridge of Hope
staff pass out rice to earthquake victims in the Nuwakot District of Nepal.
Twenty Believers Church members in the district lost their homes in the quake.


Dr. K.P. Yohannan, founder and international director of GFA shares: “Many who have personally experienced the devastation of powerful earthquakes and storms are now responding to help others. Believers are praying, fasting and sharing from their limited resources. I am reminded of Paul talking about the churches in Macedonia freely giving to help others, despite their own need (2 Corinthians 8:1-5). It makes me so happy to see the Lord pour out His love through the joyful sacrifice of these precious brothers and sisters.”

Among those responding are Believers Church congregations in the Uttar Pradesh region of northern India. Churches from this area have already sent truckloads of blankets, rice, flour, bread and other foods, and are collecting funds to send more.  In addition, individuals who had set aside money to buy clothing for their children gave that money to the relief fund. A few churches that had a fund to raise money for a new music system also gave it to the victims.

One of the most generous responses is being organized in Delhi. After suffering through an earthquake in 2001 that killed more than 10,000, one of the leaders on the field, Dr. Simon John, said he can personally sense the sadness many Nepalese are suffering. “As soon as we heard about the earthquake, our staff individually and collectively started praying for bereaved families and working to collect relief supplies and financial help,” he said.

In the Punjab area, floods and landslides destroyed thousands of homes a year ago, with heavy rains again badly damaging wheat crops this spring. Yet field leader Pastor Martin said churches there immediately collected an offering to support victims in Nepal. “Three days after the earthquake, we had collective prayer and fasting,” Martin said. “Our churches will be continually praying for the people as we trust God to rebuild Nepal.”

Churches in Kolkata have contributed enough donations to set a goal of rebuilding at least 100 homes, providing rations to 200 families for two to three weeks, and providing for children’s educational needs. Members also plan to collect donations of clothing and send it when conditions in Nepal make that feasible. In addition, pastors, missionaries and staff members have committed to donate a tenth of their financial support—not counting their tithes to local churches—to earthquake victims.

Believers Church’s Women’s Fellowship and Sisters of Compassion – specially trained women missionaries – have also been active through prayer, raising funds, mobilizing groups to gather clothing for victims and doing relief work in Nepal.

Numerous churches have already been involved in fasting and prayer, such as in Bihar, which called for a three-day period of special fasting and prayer for God’s grace, peace and healing in Nepal. Church-wide observances are scheduled for May 8 in Delhi and May 12 in Udaipur.

Gospel for Asia has worked in Nepal for more than 25 years. For decades, the ministry has also provided disaster relief throughout South Asia when tragedy strikes areas it serves, such as after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

GFA supports 450 churches, 20 Bridge of Hope children centers and Bible schools in Nepal. Some were destroyed or damaged by the earthquake, Nepal’s worst in 80 years. Many church leaders and members have lost their homes or can no longer safely live in them.  


More information about GFA’s disaster recovery efforts in Nepal can be obtained at www.gfa.org/info/nepal-earthquake

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Gospel for Asia Continues to Minister to Quake Victims in Nepal

KATHMANDU, Nepal – With the death toll from last weekend’s massive earthquake in Nepal rising daily, Gospel for Asia’s (GFA) Compassion Services teams continue to supply life-giving relief to victims and obtain important updates on the devastation.

A GFA video report regarding Nepal is available at www.gfa.org/earthquake/nepal.

Various news media reported the death toll has surpassed 5,500, with Prime Minister Sushil Koirala predicting it could rise to 10,000. Hundreds of thousands remain homeless. At least 8 million people have been affected by the earthquake, and at least 1.4 million victims are in need of food and clean water. With electricity also in short supply, officials fear outbreaks of disease.

Pastors and members of GFA-supported churches serve hot meals
to Nepal earthquake victims.

In one village in eastern Nepal, a GFA-supported pastor reports that 90 percent of the people are affected by the quake, with many people living in their courtyards and cowsheds. Some families from the congregation have been staying in the church because of damage to their homes. Such conditions reflect the situation in the capital of Kathmandu, where thousands are still living outdoors because of fear of aftershocks.

Between 30 and 40 GFA-supported missionaries serving in Uttar Pradesh, an Indian state bordering Nepal, are helping with recovery efforts. Along with pastors, leaders and believers, they have been distributing fresh water, noodles, sugar, rice and dal. One GFA-supported church has provided shelter, food, water and medicine to 400 people, while a church in Narayanthan fed 350. GFA missionaries also distributed relief materials to nearly 66 families in Gokarna Village.

Latest reports indicate 10 GFA-supported churches have been damaged. Many church leaders and members have lost their homes or can no longer safely live in them.  

“In the midst of situations like this, with the unbelievable amount of death and destruction, it’s so important to remember that God’s grace is still present,” said Dr. K.P. Yohannan, founder and international director of GFA. “Although the magnitude of this disaster is overwhelming, the Lord is allowing us to show His love to a hurting world.”

Despite these efforts, communication with pastors and missionaries living and serving in remote regions has been limited. The government sent helicopters to rescue some people who are trapped, with evacuees describing entire villages being demolished by the 7.8-magnitude quake. One of the leaders on the field, Narayan Sharma, said people have felt more than 100 aftershocks since the quake, with rain in between them making life more painful.

Gospel for Asia has worked in Nepal for more than 25 years. It supports 450 churches, 20 Bridge of Hope children centers and Bible schools throughout the country. 

For decades, the ministry has also provided disaster relief throughout South Asia when tragedy strikes areas it serves, such as after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Yohannan said that while people living on the other side of the world can feel helpless during times of crisis, they can still make a difference by helping through recovery organizations and praying for those who have lost loved ones or homes, or who have suffered injuries in the devastation. 

“We can also pray for the safety, strength and grace for missionaries ministering to the suffering,” he said. “Pray for our Compassion Services teams as they minister to earthquake victims, for the energy and endurance of rescue workers as they search for more survivors. Pray, too, for God’s protection over our pastors, leaders, missionaries and believers.”

More information about GFA’s disaster recovery efforts in Nepal can be obtained at www.gfa.org/earthquake/nepal.