Reliving the example of first-century churches, 21st-century churches in Liberty, Buna, and Shepherd are partnering to support effective disaster relief in Nepal. First-century churches once responded to a severe famine that devastated brethren in Judea (Acts 11:28+). Sister congregations in Southeast Texas are now responding to a catastrophic seismic event that is devastating Nepal and endangering the Christians who live there.
Beginning on April 25 with a 7.9 magnitude earthquake and continuing with a 7.3 quake on May 12, Nepal is experiencing a natural disaster that is directly imperiling its population with the destruction of homes and indirectly imperiling its population with the disruption of food, water and medical supplies and with the danger of epidemic and civil unrest. Due to the disruption of communication, the number of deaths are unknown. Estimates on the dead and injured number in the tens of thousands. The entire population of large regions has been displaced.
John addressed the responsibilities of Christians to these kinds of needs, writing, "But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth" (I Jn. 3:17-18).
Nepalese Christians are suffering along with others. In remote villages where buildings are no longer standing, Christian homes and church buildings also lay in ruins. In a country that is barely able to maintain itself in good times, these bad times have seriously disrupted supplies of food, water, fuel, medical care and every other necessity of life, and Christian brothers and sisters have not been excused from the dire impact.
Imagine your home destroyed, your access to drinking water cut off, your ability to gather food for your family interrupted, your access to fuel for heating and cooking disrupted, and your access to medical care in complete disarray. Now imagine the monsoon season of daily torrential rains rapidly approaching to drench chilly mountain nights. Imagine, too, that there are absolutely no national, international, or private relief agencies standing by with aid or shelter. What would you do if you lived in an isolated village in Nepal?
Students in the school of preaching in Kathmandu are now acting as a disaster relief organization. Unable to maintain classes due to the disaster, the administration has pivoted from education to aid. Using the money we send them, students are hauling relief supplies on their backs to Christians in villages where brethren are living on the edge of starvation.
Their job has not been finished when the supplies are delivered. The students are remaining in villages to remove rubble with their bare hands. They are to be commended for their selfless dedication. Compare the efficiency and effectiveness of this kind of direct aid with the "trickle-down" aid delivered through governments and international organizations. Well-meaning, the Red Cross and USAID cannot do what these students are doing.
Three churches on Southeast Texas are also to be commended. Once supporting the school of preaching with various contributions of effort and cash, Liberty, Buna and Shepherd are now confirming their love for brethren in Nepal with a charitable partnership. The Nepali director of the school of preaching planned and budgeted a relief project that would cost $6, 325 and requested our assistance.
Buna responded with $4,000, Shepherd with $1,000, and Liberty with $3, 921 for a grand total closely approaching $9,000. Going above and beyond the basic request, the students in the school of preaching are able, with our help, to deliver even more relief. In providing this support, we are holding hands with Christians in Nepal, and holding hands with Christians in the first century.
This is not the first time our open heart has opened our pocketbooks. Whenever news of needs comes to us, there is great confidence that our members will respond. This speaks so very well of the Liberty Church of Christ.