Christian Survivors in Nepal

UPDATE 05/12/2015: Another massive earthquake struck Nepal last night as the country was still recovering from the one that hit on April 25. This second 7.3 magnitude quake led to at least 39 deaths and thousands more wounded. Please keep praying for Nepal.

This is what Tara Fairty, a Christian volunteer worker in Nepal, wrote after the most recent quake:

We are fine after the 7.3 quake that hit today. It happened right after lunch and my students were on the ground floor in the computer lab for [class]. They got out quickly and my TA and I were in the classroom and also got out. All staff and students are safe.

Pray for the students as now many could have anxiety about returning to school. Also for the parents who were not with their children when this one hit. Outside [our school] the danger continues of buildings being destroyed but worse is the risk of landslides that can bury an entire village.

Praising God as we had small group at our house tonight and I feel at total peace. I feel more peace than I have since the first one. Praying for that peace to touch the lives of those wrecked by fear.

Many have taken to the streets and fields with their tarps again and the fear is nearly palpable.

People are exhausted and many were starting to rebuild and now it feels like we’ve taken 10 steps back.

Saturday, April 25 was an ordinary morning for me. I woke up and slowly made my way to the kitchen to pour some cereal and make coffee. It wasn’t till I opened my computer and checked Facebook that I found out things were much different for my friend Tara Fairty.

I had known Tara had been living in Kathmandu for the past 2 years, but I knew nothing about the earthquake that took place while I was sleeping. Before seeing the news I got a notification that she had checked in as safe.

Tara was listening to the radio at a friend’s house when the massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck right next to the nation’s capital, the most powerful quake in Nepal since 1934.

Listen to Tara’s story:

Photo courtesy of Tara Fairty showing the destruction of the local fire department building.

While Tara was seeking shelter at the Christian school where she teaches, Charleton Churchill was at Base Camp on Mt. Everest. Charleton is a professional photographer who was in the Himalayas to shoot a scenic wedding on the tallest mountain in the world. Little did he know that the trip he had been looking forward to for the past year would take place on the deadliest day of Mt. Everest’s known history.

[Click HERE to find out 3 ways you can help people in Nepal]

Thankfully, Charleton was able to get online and shoot these messages back home to his friends and loved ones:

We had a major earthquake here in the Himalayas, we definitely felt it, not just the shaking of this entire village but the rumbling sound that followed, people screaming, jumping out of windows, sirens going off, some of the buildings I’m staying in started to collapse 2 doors down, some of the buildings are not safe anymore, people running for open area, rocks tumbled down. Out of all the earthquakes they have here, we happen to randomly experience their biggest since 1934. We have heard news in Kathmandu of the crisis there, so we will not be leaving anytime soon. We are all okay, have food and water, we are packed and ready with passports in case there is an emergency. We are feeling aftershocks, which is a bit unsettling, but they are minor compared to the original shake … Tomorrow we may plan to hike the trail up to 12,600 feet to a safer flat area and decide then what we will do as a team. Continue to pray for safety.

Update: 6 of our 27 yaks died, and some of our porters who are cooking and serving us have lost their homes lower on the mountain. The porters were welcome to leave, but want to stay and serve. They need the money. I’m hoping we can set up something to help these people. Stay tuned.

Update 2: We are staying here at Namche Bazaar tomorrow, decided not to head up to the next camp as the safest plan of action. Half the group is still in shock, very emotional for many. Safety is our main concern at this time. Staying strong here.

Update 3: Found out that some Mt. Everest climbers are dead above and many are stuck up the mountain as an avalanche wiped out camp1 and camp2, so the climbing season for Everest climbers may be over early this season. A few people below our camp on the trail we hiked yesterday also fell to their death.

Update 4: From his wife: POSTING ON BEHALF OF Charleton Churchill: he currently is unable to post to Facebook in his current location so this is his update. It amazes me how many people truly care, love, and admire my husband! I am so proud of him and what he and the team are now doing to reach out to all those in need!

We made it safely to Cheplung down the mountain on the trail, we are 1.5hrs hike from the Lukla airport. Weather is bad so getting out of Lukla has been delayed for the last few days for many people. We hope to catch a flight to Kathmandu in the next few days.

Update 5: So tomorrow morning we are finally leaving Namche Bazaar, returning down the mountain to Cheplung, until flights from Lukla airport can return us to Kathmandu. The danger concerns we had before have diminished. We will pass many suspension bridges along the way as shown below. The aftershocks have lessened, and the trail is manageable. We should arrive at the camp within 7 hours from leaving, and we will be within a few hours from the Lukla airport. I hope to post an update once we arrive, if we have wifi or service. Kathmandu is still in chaos and without water, so we are in no rush. Thank you once again for the comments and prayers!

As I write this, Charleton is still making his descent carefully planning his next steps with his team as aftershocks continue to rattle the landscape.

In Kathmandu, Tara relayed to us what she was praying for when the initial quake hit and how we can pray for those still caught in the aftermath.

Tara’s neighbors are staying outside as the aftershocks continue throughout the region.

You are probably like me – on the outside, looking in. I’m writing this while the people of Nepal, and those stuck in the Himalayas, are isolated from the world around them and in fear of the ground they walk on and the buildings they walk beneath.

Please join me in prayer. The words of Jesus come to mind: “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:10)

We live in a broken world. And until the end of the age finally does come and Christ returns, we will always have to face disasters like this. But God is bigger than the bad things that happen. Our hope in Jesus Christ never falters, and it is our prayer now that the people of Nepal, and Tara and Charleton, feel the comforting peace of Christ.

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Corum Hughes works on the production team for HAVEN Today and is the managing editor of the All About Jesus blog. His passions include running, biking, reading, watching movies, and seeking Jesus in places He is seldom sought. Corum lives with his wife in California.

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