On the 25th of April 2015, three earthquakes struck Nepal, killing and injuring thousands and devastating the country. A year after the tragedy, Tej Jirel, General Secretary of the Nepal Bible Society reflects on how the Nepalese Christians have coped since the earthquakes and how they have continued to find strength in God.
Amidst these terrifying events, Tej Jirel recalls how he and others around him turned to the Lord to find comfort and strength. For Tej, the first earthquake struck while he was preaching at a church.
I stopped preaching, held onto the pulpit and prayed for the earthquake to stop. Some people dropped to their knees in prayer, and other stood to call out to God.
After the first earthquake, Tej and other church leaders helped to evacuate the congregation and make sure that everyone was standing safely away from the building. The congregation was met by hundreds of other people who had come out onto the streets. Many people were extremely distressed so Tej and the other leaders tried to reassure them as best they could.
I felt that, in the midst of all this, we should honour God by going ahead with taking Holy Communion, as we had intended. Between aftershocks, some of us went into the church to bring out the Communion table. So there, outside the church and beside the river, we took Communion in remembrance of what our Lord did for us.
For those present it was a powerful and memorable moment, and the unwavering faith that Tej and the rest of the congregation showed, typifies the reaction that many Nepalese Christians had to the tragedy. The earthquake damaged and destroyed several churches and among the 9,000 people who died, around 500 were Christians.
Church services in all the affected districts resumed almost immediately, despite the fact that they had nothing to shelter under. A lot of them still haven’t yet been completely rebuilt, due to lack of funds, and services are held with no roof, using tarpaulins or roofing sheets to protects worshippers from the sun or rain.
Tej highlights that he has been extremely inspired by the resilience and determination of the Nepalese Christians.
…people are holding onto their faith. I remember one elderly man I met, Padam Bahadur Bhujel, who had been buried alive, along with other worshippers, when their church building collapsed on them. They were all eventually rescued. Mr Bhujel told me he’d remained calm because he had complete faith that God would save them. He said, “If you have great faith in God, He will do great things for you.” I felt very inspired by that.
The Bible Society in Nepal has been working extremely hard all year to try and meet the needs of those who have been badly affected by the earthquakes. They have helped provide roofing, tarpaulins and other materials to hundreds of families who lost their homes. Many of those in desperate need of aid live in very remote areas which are difficult to access. Bible Society staff and volunteers have carried materials on their backs up mountainsides and across rivers in order to reach those in need. Alongside the practical help the Bible Society has been providing to the people of Nepal, they have also begun helping to replace the Scriptures that many Christians and churches lost in the earthquake.
We didn’t want Christians to be without their Scriptures as they came to terms with what had happened. They greatly appreciated the Bibles and other materials we brought them, which helped them to hold onto hope in the midst of their grief and struggles. Without God there is no hope, and we continue to pray for the many people in Nepal who still don’t know Him.
We want to thank you again for your prayers and support last April after the devastating events in Nepal. Please continue to pray for all those affected by the earthquakes.
- Pray for the people of Nepal as they continue to deal with the aftermath of the earthquake
- Pray for the work of the Bible Society that they will continue to reach those in need
- Pray for the congregations of churches that were destroyed in the earthquake as they try to rebuild their places of worship