The earthquake that hit Nepal on Saturday 25 April happened just before lunchtime. Most Christians were at church.
Christians in Nepal hold their church services on Saturday, rather than Sunday. Inside the Canaan Church in Sukedhara, Kathmandu, people were praying when the earthquake struck. The church building collapsed, killing 23 people and seriously injuring 37 others.
Among the victims was Sushma Sherpa, the wife of church pastor Nima Sherpa. The pastor himself was injured, as was Pastor Lalbahadur Limbu, who was the guest speaker that morning. Pastor Limbu is currently in a critical condition.
Thousands of Nepalese were killed during the earthquake, which measured 7.9 on the Richter Scale. Numerous churches, particularly in the Kathmandu Valley, have been severely damaged by the earthquake. Some 17 people were killed and several others injured when the Mukt Mandali church in Sitapaila, Kathmandu, collapsed.
Open Doors workers in the region have been making every effort to contact the affected churches and get hold of information.
Pastor Ramesh Bisht from Kathmandu, who works as a missionary for Vineyard Church in Nepal, reported that the houses of most of his church members have been destroyed and many are spending the nights out in the open.
Christianity is a minority religion in Nepal. The Indian government is providing help through para-military forces, but, according to Pastor Bisht, Christians are being neglected in the relief efforts.
“It is shocking that, even after so many days, none of us have received even 1 kg rice or anything else from the government or any NGOs,” he said. “Our church members are sharing their remaining food. Shops are closed and there is a terrible crisis here. There has been rain, but people cannot go back to their houses because they have been damaged and destroyed.”
Open Doors workers are continuing to make contact with local believers to assess the situation on the ground, but it is difficult work. Telephone lines and cell-phone towers have been destroyed and the roads are blocked. There are scores of villages that can be reached only by foot, as the roads connecting them have never been constructed.
“There are numerous house churches in the hills of Nepal and it might take days before we know their whereabouts and situations,” said an Open Doors expert. “The people of Nepal, especially the body of Christ in the country, need our prayers.”
Source: Open Doors
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