by Eric Spangler, Asia Area Director
April-June 2016 issue Free Methodist World Missions Pulse
“For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do.” Hebrews 6:10 (NLT)
The shaking began just as church ended. Christians in Nepal meet on Saturday, you see, because the work week is Sunday through Friday. It was just before noon, April 15, when the 7.8 earthquake struck. Also known as the Gorkha Quake, the disaster caused hundreds of thousands to instantly become homeless, injured more than 23,000, and killed at least 9,000. The earthquake caused an avalanche on Mount Everest. Even the aftershocks caused death and damage.
Pastor Padam had been preaching on God’s judgment from Matthew 25. As the service closed in prayer, the ground began to move — talk about a sermon illustration! Padam encouraged his people not to panic, but as might be expected, congregation members quickly ran outside. As the brick walls of their little church began to crumble, Pastor Padam threw himself over a 2-year-old child to protect her. Six members were trapped by the collapsing walls but eventually escaped.
Other Christians were not so fortunate. Because the quake hit around the time believers were gathered in church, many followers were injured. At one church (not FM), the pastor and a number of congregants were killed.
For two months following the earthquake, the church met under plastic tarps. The people had little or no food and were very fearful about going inside any building. They describe these months as a “very terrible” time.
Pastor Padam was able to rebuild his small church, in part with a small gift from the Bishops’ Crisis Response Fund. Abraham, the new leader for FM work in and around Kathmandu, represented the generosity of the global FMC as he gave the funds to Pastor Padam. Zinc plates now form the walls of the new church, only about 50 yards from where the old one stood.
Hope is rebuilt as the church around the world reaches out to show love for God and for others.