Nepal- Prayers and Pictures

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I know that this blog normally focuses on Marriage, Teaching, Australia, Papua New Guinea and other things that are generally related to my history, future and day to day life.  However, my heart has been breaking for Nepal.  There is pain and tragedy all over the world but there is something about the current situation in Nepal that has been occupying my thoughts and prayers.

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On Tuesday there was another major earthquake near Bahrbise that killed even more people.  This was an area where the MTW team had just recently assessed the damage.  The pictures featured here were taken by the team as they talked with people and traveled to remote areas.

This short video also shows the destruction from the earthquake as well as some faces of people who are living through the tragedy.  It highlights MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) which is an organization that works all over the world.  I flew with them often in PNG.  And I am encouraged that in times like these, when faced with massive devastation that organizations can pull together to provide relief and eventually help rebuild.

Please continue to pray for Nepal.  Pray for safety in the middle of aftershocks.  Pray for no more major earthquakes.  Pray that relief reaches the remote places.  And pray for the rain to stay back until some rebuilding can begin.  Thank you for praying for the country and the people of Nepal.

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Not all Earthquakes are Created Equal

Living in California and also in PNG I’ve felt quite a few earthquakes.  I’ve even posted about the earthquakes (mostly the PNG ones).  If you want to go back and take a trip down memory lane you can see my first PNG earthquake post here: Seismic Activity in PNG or read about a crazy day in the village that included an earthquake here: All Before 8am or even what could have been the end of the world earthquake but wasn’t here: The End of the World.

So needless to say that I’m not a stranger to earthquakes but I have wondered why the earthquakes that happen often in PNG, the ones that make the international news, don’t really cause much damage and are sometimes not even felt all over PNG.  This is especially interesting in light of the 7.8 earthquake that just happened in Nepal.  There was a 7.4 earthquake that happened in PNG yesterday and it didn’t cause any damage that was worth reporting and didn’t even trigger a tsunami.  So what’s going on here?

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I know that PNG is located on the ring of fire and that there are a few fault lines that run through it (the picture above is also on Jesse’s post which is explained below).  I also know that the tectonic plates in PNG move differently than the plates in California and I’m assuming here, Nepal as well.  And from personal experience, PNG quakes just don’t cause as much damage which is a good thing for PNG otherwise with the amount of earthquake activity, it would be practically unlivable.

Well there are indeed many factors at work and a friend in PNG just wrote a great post that is definitely worth reading if you’re interested in why the earthquakes in PNG are different from those in Nepal or California.  Jessie has been working in PNG for a few years now (her time overlapped with mine) and I’m even cooking my rice paper wrap recipe this week which was inspired by a recipe she shared with me.  Anyway, back to earthquakes, whether you are a geologist or not Jessie’s full post On Earthquakes and Tsunamis is an informative and interesting read.

Continued Prayers for Nepal

When disaster strikes the news lights up with information and aid relief rushes in.  These first responders are critical because after a large natural disaster people are often operating without the basic necessities: clean water, food and shelter.  But slowly as the danger subsides, the basic relief is handled and time goes on, the aid workers leave taking the money and their expertise somewhere else.  The people are left to rebuild on their own.  Of course this is somewhat of a hyperbole but it rings true because it’s the reality of disaster relief.  It’s relief but not rebuilding.

Because of this I am happy to share two updates from groups in Nepal who have vested interests, relationships with people on the ground and people who are staying in Nepal or going to Nepal to help the local communities assess and plan for the future.

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MTW is responding by sending a team to assess the needs (physical and spiritual) of the local church and national partners.  The picture above is one of the church buildings that was damaged.  Since the churches in Nepal worship on Saturdays, 17 people were killed while gathered during the earthquake.  If interested you can read more on MTWs News Board about the impact of the earthquake on these churches.

MTW is asking people to respond in three ways.  First of all please pray (more specific prayer requests listed below).  Second, consider giving financially (online donations).  MTWs disaster response will be coordinated directly with the local church which means that all donations will have a direct impact on the partner communities.  And also there is a bulletin insert and slide ready to be used to bring awareness during church services.  They can be found HERE.

My friend who I wrote about a week ago (The Earthquake in Nepal- How to Pray) also sent an update.  Since she works specifically with health care she writes they are meeting to discuss how they “can contribute in the sector of mental health and psycho-social counseling as well as specific nutritional needs of mothers and newborns”.  She also sent another great prayer list.  Thank you for praying for Nepal.

  • Please pray Psalm 46 for the assurance of God’s continued presence and protection in the face of continuing widespread anxiety.
  • Please pray for those who have lost loved ones and those who have lost their shelter either temporarily or permanently.
  • Please pray for those living outside, for stable weather and protection from disease.
  • Please pray that the water supply will be sufficient and clean.
  • Please pray for those in remote rural areas that they will receive the support needed for recovery in a timely way.
  • Please pray for the helicopter pilots, truck drivers and porters bringing needed supplies into rural areas.
  • Please pray for our UMN staff, especially those with significant personal loss, as we implement our emergency response plan and that we will be able to help.

Praying for Our World Near and Far

The news continues to be full of sad and frightening stories that are often beyond our comprehension.  But this is an important call to continued prayer.  Looking internationally, eyes are currently focused on Nepal.  The continued aftershocks and possibility of more earthquakes in that region make for an uncertain future.  If you would like to give financially in order to help Nepal you can click on the picture below or this link for more information: MTW Disaster Response Ministry.

APTOPIX Nepal Earthquake

Let us also pray for America (to my international friends I’m sure there are many ways you can pray for the country in which you’re living).  Please pray for Baltimore and the families and communities impacted by the riots and unrest.  It’s easy to look around and see places and people who need prayer but who might seem far away or disconnected from us and our daily lives.  So let us to forget to pray for our own states and communities as well as family and friends.

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”  James 5:16

The Earthquake in Nepal- How to Pray

Most people have mixed feelings in regards to social media but in an emergency, social media is often a blessing because it can be a quick source of direct information.  I can hear about things happening all over the world from the news but if I know someone on the ground in that area, I would rather hear what’s going on from them.Nepal

For example, the earthquakes that triggered tsunamis and tsunami warnings earlier this year in the Pacific.  And now with this large earthquake in Nepal.  I only know one person in Nepal but Facebook sent me a notification saying that she had checked in and was ok.  This was a surprising Facebook feature that could actually be quite assuring and useful in a disaster of this kind (or it could be unnerving if the person or people you are worried about don’t check in right away).  And Twitter has also proved pretty amazing in this situation because not only is it keeping people updated, but it has even been useful in helping some people get to safety.

I met this friend, who currently lives in Nepal, when we studied together in Ghana.  She has lived and worked in Nepal for many years now and specifically works on water projects (helping people access clean water).  In addition to hearing from her on Facebook, I also received an email update with ways to pray.  I love that these requests are straight from someone who is there on the ground.  Thank you for lifting up this part of the world and the people there.

  • There is still anxiety that this will trigger another quake on one of Nepal’s other 2 fault lines and for more 5+ aftershocks that will further destabilize buildings. Please pray Psalm 46 for the assurance of God’s continued presence and protection.
  • Please pray for those who have lost loved ones and those who have lost their shelter either temporarily or permanently.
  • Please pray for those sleeping outside that the weather will hold stable and it won’t rain.
  • Water shortages are always a problem in Kathmandu, please pray that the water supply will be sufficient and uncontaminated (I’ve heard reports of “rust colored” water). Please pray that the temporary outdoor living will not lead to a cholera outbreak.
  • Please pray for our response team traveling to Kathmandu and for UMN staff as we implement our emergency response plan that we will be able to help.
  • Please pray for the teenage children of several missionary colleagues who are in Kathmandu and separated from the rest of their family here in Pokhara and for other families who are separated from loved ones.
  • Please pray for calm and release from fear as the aftershocks continue.

I will do my best to post another update if I receive more information.  Thank you to everyone is praying.  Also, if you want to know how to give financially to Nepal let me know and I can put you in touch with my friend.