Nepal (MNN) — Nepal was battered with a series of unfortunate events in 2015, but a new year is bringing new hope to the former Hindu kingdom.
The April 25 earthquake brought more than 8,000 deaths and millions of dollars in damages. Children became orphans, and parents lost their children. Entire villages saw their houses and businesses wiped out.
Because the disastrous quake took place right before Nepal’s monsoon season, thousands were left homeless. They were unable to build until winter, which promised a prime, cooler, and drier time to build.
They relied on organizations like Baptist Global Response (BGR) for support.
BGR’s Jeff Palmer explains the ministry set up temporary homes to give people a roof over their head for the rainy season. “Last year, we actually threw up a lot of temporary shelters, working with the government, and the local government, and the local believers, and we put in several thousand of these temporary kind of tin Quonset-hut-type shelters. It worked very well. But we knew that they were temporary.”
As the year progressed, Nepal was declared a secular nation and formed a new permanent constitution. What was supposed to settle disputes and smooth out wrinkles ended up triggering new arguments and protests, particularly from India and the Madhesi people.
To protest, a blockade was formed at the border of India and Nepal–one of the main source routes for supplies coming into Nepal. Medicine, fuel for cars, gas for cooking and heating became next-to-impossible to get, and Nepali people suffered even more loss.
According to Time News, the protests resulted in over 50 deaths.
Palmer says people are suffering from the lack of supplies and permanent housing. “The Nepalese will tell you that they’ve had several disasters: the earthquake and then the embargoes against them.”
The effects are not simply hitting large cities like Kathmandu, but also smaller villages on the outskirts because people cannot easily access transportation to get to supplies.
A Turn Around for 2016
But, with a new year comes new hope and new resolutions.
According to the Nepali Times, the Madhesis have reportedly confirmed negotiations, after three-weeks, were “heading in a positive direction” and “a deal now looked within reach.”
At last, the almost 4-month blockade looks like it might be coming to an end and supplies may be plentiful once again.
On top of that, the building of permanent homes is in the works.
“In December, we launched a rebuild project for more permanent homes.” Palmer explains the project was started in several communities that were hit hardest by the earthquake.
This winter, BGR wants to build 500 homes, but they also want to break down walls.
Over the years, Nepali people have been reluctant to hear the Word of God. After the troubles from last year, Palmer explains, hearts and minds have been opening up and are very responsive to hear stories, truths, and promises from the Bible.
“There’s a huge amount of physical needs to meet. We want to do well in that, and we will do well in that, by the grace of God. But at the same time, one of the neat things is we’re working through local believers and partners that are there who have a heart for helping people, but also helping people hear the truth of the Gospel.”
Homes have already been built, and BGR is also providing blankets and heating units.
This winter, help BGR put the Gospel within reach by donating funds for new permanent homes, blankets, heating units, and other necessary supplies.
- Boldness when sharing the message of Christ
- The local community to hear and accept the Gospel