It was the guy in the worship band—a guitarist playing with two broken legs—who finally got to me.
When the 7.9 earthquake struck Nepal on April 26, over 300 men, women, and children were worshipping at Visions of Salvation church in central Kathmandu. The building collapsed. Nineteen people, including the pastor, were killed.
Yesterday, my friends here (who shall remain nameless) and I were invited to share at the VOS service. They are renting a building near their now-destroyed sanctuary. It is unfinished—bare concrete floors, tin roof, no lights—but it is sturdy. The late pastor’s son and his wife now lead the church.
Like the rest of the country, VOS is trying to climb out of the rubble while struggling with collective PTSD. “When the worship service starts,” the pastor’s wife told us, “the children get anxious. They remember that this is when the earthquake hit.”
VOS had asked my friends (who are nationally-influential leaders here) to offer some words of encouragement at the service. My friends asked me to do the same.
What can one possibly say to people who have been through such a terrifying ordeal—who have suffered such devastating loss? (And things are worse in the countryside, where we had traveled the day before. Whole villages have been basically wiped out, and the survivors are still in shock.
“Our brains are wrong,” they told us. “Our thinking has been disorganized since the earthquake.”)
At the service, we did our best to provide words of comfort and encouragement. I stumbled through my portion as best I could. Then, my friends eloquent and compelling words from the Scriptures and their hearts.
After awhile, you can get used to a disaster area. The destroyed homes, collapsed schools, and dazed survivors become familiar. It was joining Visions of Salvation as they came to life in praise, worship, and prayer that brought the depth of the tragedy—and the hope that these believers are finding in Jesus—crashing back home.
Especially that guitarist. Just to watch him playing (excellently!) while he sat on the stage with his cast-swathed legs sticking out… amazing.
Nepal has a long, long way to go. The rebuilding, and healing, is going to take years. But it was inspiring to see the infectious grin on the guitarist’s face as he prepared to play behind a young woman singing a special song.
Break a leg, brother.
P.S.: Nepal needs your help! You can pray, you can give, and you can go...
- Learn how to PRAY for Nepal...
- Asian Access is collecting and distributing funds designated for Nepal Earthquake relief. To GIVE NOW, click here...
...or send your check to Asian Access, PO Box 3307, Cerritos, CA 90703.
- Short-term teams are wanted to help with the basic cleanup that is still needed before serious rebuilding can begin. Equally important, our friends want teams to come with VBS-style programs, including music, games, crafts, and ideas on how to use them.
- “As much as people’s homes need to be rebuilt, the people’s spirits need to be rebuilt even more,” my friends told me. “Teams who will come and mingle with our people, lift the spirits of the children, and demonstrate the love of Christ will be vital to the healing of our people and the spread of the Gospel.”
- Soon, we will be sharing more about how your team can serve in Nepal. Stay tuned...