I Left My Heart in Nepal
As I continued to assess the school’s damage, I was suddenly hit with a feeling of overwhelming gratitude. If this earthquake had occurred on a week day, 400 children would have been in these buildings!
I left my heart in Nepal last year with a tiny, six-year-old boy named Sina.
His school had been destroyed by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake near Kathmandu that killed 9,000 people the previous week.
As I walked into the school courtyard, I found the scene depressing. Most of the seven buildings had caved in. The classroom walls had collapsed. And the children’s books and posters lay ripped apart and scattered on the ground.
I had been asked by the emergency response team of Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) International to fly to Nepal to lead our communication efforts there.
So far, all I had seen was devastation: hundreds of buildings lying in ruins, frightened villagers sleeping in makeshift tents or on the ground, and families huddled together, grieving.
But as I continued to assess the school’s damage, I was suddenly hit with a feeling of overwhelming gratitude. If this earthquake had occurred on a week day, 400 children would have been in these buildings!
I was sharing these thoughts with my friends when a group of children ran over to us. They greeted us with warm smiles and asked what we were doing at their school. We explained our mission and then asked them about their experiences with the earthquake. One by one, they shared their stories, each more heart wrenching than the last.
“What about you?” I asked a small boy who was holding hands with his grandfather. He smiled at me and then shyly looked at the ground.
“Sina had been playing with his cousins at his aunt’s home when the earthquake struck,” his grandfather informed me. “Bricks and wood started falling all around him.”
I knelt beside Sina and asked how he felt at that moment. His innocent face clouded with a gloomy expression that still haunts me. “Very scared,” he responded quietly.
“I was able to unbury Sina as well as my three other grandchildren with the help of some villagers,” the grandfather added.
I couldn’t take my eyes off of Sina. I kept picturing him lying trapped under the remains of his aunt’s home for an hour, calling for his mother. Finally, his rescuers were able to pull him from the rubble, but in their haste, they inadvertently broke his arm.
“What about your sister?” I asked the grandfather. Sadly, he shook his head.
Traveling with ADRA, I’ve heard some very difficult stories from the people that we serve. But none of them has made me feel as heartbroken as the thought of little Sina and his cousins being buried under bricks and wood on April 25, 2015.
Within a few minutes after meeting Sina, he warmed up to me. We chased each other and laughed and played. I felt strongly connected with him in those carefree moments and have prayed for him every day since.
In response to the earthquake, ADRA provided food, water, buckets with lids, hygiene kits, shelter kits, mosquito nets, construction materials, and training on how to rebuild so that future earthquakes won’t be as devastating.
I felt so privileged to meet Sina and his friends and to share the love of Jesus with them through some hugs, some games, and a couple of selfies.
Please pray for Sina and all the people of Nepal as they rebuild their country and their lives, and thank you for supporting the ministry of ADRA.
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