VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 4/27/15)—With each new day, the count of those killed or injured rises, as rescue and relief efforts continue in the aftermath of the massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday, April 25, 2015. Although initial reports estimated injuries and loss of life in the hundreds, by Monday, April 27, the BBC reported over 4,000 killed and over 6,500 injured—and those numbers are expected to rise.
As a first response to this disaster, $25,000 in emergency relief funds from One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) has been released to trusted partners of American Baptist International Ministries (IM) in Nepal. Additional relief aid is urgently needed.
This initial grant of $25,000 for the first phase of relief efforts will go to Nepal’s Baptist churches, to a Nepali Christian development organization and the United Mission to Nepal. The Nepal Baptist Church Council (NBCC), an IM partner for more than 20 years, will receive $10,000 for food, water, shelter and medical attention for the victims. The Nepali organization, Human Development and Community Services (HDCS), an IM partner for 11 years, will receive $10,000 to help its two hospitals care for the injured. The United Mission to Nepal (UMN), an IM partner for over 30 years, will receive $5,000 for its initial relief efforts.
IM Development Worker in Nepal for more than 21 years, Carole Sydnor, states, “I have been deeply concerned for the safety of IM’s colleagues and my personal friends with whom we have known and worked together for so many years. I am also saddened by the devastation of so many places I have walked with my children when they were young. In this time of crises – often frustrated with limited communication with so many people – I have to trust in God’s love and care for them. And I have to trust God for people like yourself who will give to the relief endeavors of International Ministries. Thank you for sharing my care for this country with your support.” Currently residing in the United States with her husband, Charles, also a former IM development worker in Nepal, Sydnor returns to Nepal periodically to serve with IM partners there.
“We know already that the needs are enormous. At the same time we are already seeing a strong response from our American Baptist congregations and a few of IM’s international partners. This generous response enables us to walk alongside the Nepali people today and into the future as they rebuild their lives and livelihoods,” stated Lisa Rothenberger, ABCUSA World Relief officer.
A total of $2,500 has been received already from IM partners in India, the American Baptist Foreign Mission Legacy Trust (ABFML), Balasore Technical School (BTS) and a personal contribution from the Principal of BTS and Executive Director/Secretary of ABFML Trust, Mr. Ramesh Kumar and his family, friends and students.
Kumar related his prayers and concern in a recent email, “We deeply mourn those who lost their lives in the natural disaster in Nepal. The board of directors of the Trust is continually praying for the affected people as you are taking initiatives to help those victims.”
Nepali Baptist churches have stepped up quickly to respond to the disaster. “We at NBCC formed a Disaster Response committee to pull the resources for relief work,” wrote the Rev. Jirman Rai, general secretary, NBCC.
“Our heart goes to the survivors who lost their beloved ones, and those who are still struggling in fear and in the devastated areas,” commented the Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chan, IM area director for Asia.
“IM has worked closely with NBCC and HDCS to build capacity and to enhance social development in Nepal. Our priority is to provide immediate relief assistance to the survivors in cooperation with partners in Nepal and through the global Baptist network.”
U.S. and Puerto Rico churches are asked to keep the Nepali families, the emergency response workers and the government in prayer. Additional financial relief aid is urgently needed.
1. To make a tax-deductible contribution online, visit http://www.abc-usa.org/ and click “Give Online” at the top right of the page. In the “Comments” section, type “OGHS Nepal Earthquake Relief.” 2. Give through your church, designating your gift for “OGHS-Nepal Earthquake Relief.” Or, click here to learn about more ways to give, referencing “Nepal Earthquake Relief”
One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA. The Committee facilitates American Baptist emergency relief, disaster rehabilitation, refugee work and the development of assistance by establishing policy guidelines and overseeing distribution of the annual One Great Hour of Sharing offering received by churches. Learn more: http://www.abc-oghs.org/
American Baptist International Ministries is celebrating 200 years of ministry in 2014. Organized in 1814 as the first Baptist international mission agency in America, IM began its pioneer mission work in Burma and today works in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas serving more than 1,800 long-term and short-term missionaries. Its central mission is to help people come to faith in Jesus, grow in their relationships with God and change their worlds through the power of the Holy Spirit. IM works with respected partners in over 70 countries in ministries that meet human need.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.