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A Field Report From Assistant Director Tim Kurth In Nepal:

IMG_5443The thousand-yard stare happens after a disaster. Not always right away, but it inevitably happens. It’s the look of people who can’t even begin to know where to start or how to make sense of their new reality. They live in tents, waiting on aid from strangers, and everyday make a little more progress in digging their lives out from under a pile of stone, mortar, bricks and wood that used to be home. And when the ground shakes as it has done over 250 times since that first quake on April 25, they run to open ground and wait for this disaster to get worse.

Many of the people we saw today had that unmistakable thousand-yard stare.

Our team was visiting Sindhupalchok District located about 60 kilometers north and east of Kathmandu. It was a long trip up winding, mountainous roads with stunning views of terraced hillsides and deep valleys. Yes, it was indescribably gorgeous…but for all the piles of rubble and bright orange tarps that kept reminding me of the terror that has happened here. All along the road sat mothers and fathers, children, siblings, and friends. Some picked through the piles that used to be their homes. IMG_5461Some even opened businesses inside structures zigzagged with the crazy fracture lines that are familiar in buildings all over this country.

In the midst of all this there is hope, too: Orderly aid workers distributing a truckload of food on a debris littered street, a pastor speaking about building a church on a plot he hopes to acquire, a family living under a tarp with a story of miraculous escape as the quake crumbled every building in their village. They tell that story with smiles and a glass of Sprite offered to a stranger who’s come to visit.

The glimpses of recovery are here. The hope of the human heart encouraged by God’s Holy Spirit is alive. The needs are real and the resources are coming slowly.

Pray for Nepal.

Posted on May 28, 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Field Report From Assistant Director Tim Kurth In Nepal:

The immensity of this disaster in Nepal is beginning to take shape in my awareness and is full of the faces of people I met today. ServLife Director Udaya Bhatta invited a local Pastor, Padam, to come share with me. Pastor Padam’s church collapsed totally during the first quake on April 25. Sixteen people died inside the church under the weight of the concrete roof. One small boy died at the hospital from injuries sustained from a piece of steel rebar. Padam, Udaya and I discussed the hundreds of families still not reached with basic food supplies and considered a plan to visit there next week delivering food to 150 families.

Then came Bhaktapur. There the scope of this disaster began to make its impact on me. IMG_5346I was again reminded of the capricious and random nature of disasters. Until Bhaktapur the damage in Kathmandu did not seem as catastrophic as had been reported. But as I walked the narrow winding streets and passed the many temples and monuments of this area I realized no reporting could capture the horror of what happened here.

More than 500 people died in Bhaktapur alone. Buildings severely damaged by the quakes still hang perilously over the streets propped up by large wooden timbers. I couldn’t help but think that in the United States not a single person would be allowed in this area. Yet here a crowd walks between the support beams. Tucked away all around the area are tent cities and parks covered in makeshift tarp structures. Five thousand people in Bhaktapur are living outside in shelters that will do little to keep out the coming monsoons.

The immediate need for better temporary housing is pressing. The process of getting approval to rebuild permanently will take a very long time. Perhaps years! So the people of Bhaktapur are looking for help building temporary metal buildings at a cost of $500 per building.

Pray for Nepal.

Posted on May 27, 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

IMG_5298Three weeks after the massive earthquake in Nepal on April 25, the board of ServLife sent Assistant Director Tim Kurth to Kathmandu. The purpose of the trip is to meet with our Nepali directors to support and help architect their plans for long term relief. Kurth’s 10 years of experience in relief work (training and certifying early responders, Hurricane Katrina, 2011 Joplin tornado, 2013 Oklahoma tornadoes, etc) uniquely equips him to partner with our leadership in Nepal. We  will be posting some field reports from Kurth this week.

Flying low on final approach I could see beautiful dots of color scattered all over Kathmandu. Orange, blue, green all popped amidst an otherwise drab and dusty background. But as we got closer to the ground I realized these colored dots were the makeshift tents people now call home. These are a necessity for some because their homes were destroyed.IMG_5289 For others, like the children in ServLife’s care, staying overnight inside a building is too frightening and with aftershocks continuing, probably unsafe.

At dusk, Children Ministry Director Udaya picked me up from the guest house and off we went on his motorcycle, riding in the gathering darkness through this broken city. Passing piles of rubble that just a month ago were homes and businesses. Trailing us was a taxi loaded with my checked luggage: three large tents.

We arrived just at nightfall to find the children all staying together in the Block B home having their dinner outside on the steps. Udaya grabbed the tents and together with the children we put up the first of the three. This tent went up so easily and with ample room for all the small children will be welcome shelter tonight. Tomorrow we will take down the makeshift tarps and poles they have been sleeping under and put up the other two tents. Everyone is so very excited. And it’s a blessing to be able to make things just a little better only hours after landing here in Nepal.

Pray for Nepal.

Posted on May 26, 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Adam_HS_largeIsaiah 61 speaks of God’s commission to serve the poor, consoling those who mourn, to rebuild and restore ruins, and God’s passionate love for justice. The concluding verse reads, “For just as the ground produces its crops and a garden yields its produce, so the sovereign Lord will cause deliverance to grow, and give his people reason to praise him in the sight of all the nations.”

Service and restoration and justice exist for the goal of God being praised by all the nations. And God is being praised. As a result His church is growing, children and being rescued and hope is being restored to families in extreme poverty. This is remarkably true in Nepal right now in the aftermath of the massive earthquake on April 25. Just a week after the earthquake there was a ServLife church in west Nepal that had a baptism service for 5 new followers of Jesus.

Your support is serving the poor, consoling those who mourn and restoring ruins. Thank you for sharing God’s heart and passion for justice and compassionate love. Your investment has an incredible impact, and God is praised.

We give thanks to the Father of all and the source of all comfort, hope and love. May His love and justice spread throughout the world for His great renown among all nations.

Posted on May 8, 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Fieldset

 

Verification

Posted on May 6, 2015 |

PrayOn April 25 a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake rattled Nepal between Kathmandu and Pokhara. The devastation and loss of life has been shocking and heart breaking, with large aftershocks continuing for days. I quickly scrambled to contact my friends in Kathmandu and was relieved to learn that all of the children in the orphanages were safe.

The following 24 hours were a whirlwind, and my phone was blowing up with people wanting to help in any way possible. I am so humbled and grateful to have friends like you who care so deeply for the people of India and Nepal. Thank you. 

It will take weeks to assess the damage and total losses from this tragedy. Our Nepal and Indian staff will lead the ServLife relief effort. The focus will be on the needs of our staff and their families, the pastors and their families, the children in the orphanages, the education sponsorship children and their families, the families in micro-finance, and villages and communities where we work. Thank you to so many of you who have already contributed to the disaster relief fund to assist with these efforts. 

Siras Nepali
We have two children’s homes in the Kathmandu area with a total of 27 children. They are all safe and stayed outside in tents as the aftershocks continued for days. They plan to sleep in the homes again tomorrow night. We also have 40 education sponsorship children in Kathmandu, and we have successfully contacted 35 of those families. They are all okay, but some of their homes have been damaged. We have already sent relief fund which have provided the families still in Kathmandu with much needed food, water and relief.

We have 74 pastors in Nepal, and 13 of them are in the disaster zone. We have only heard from one so far, Pastor Bhaktaraj. He and his family are okay but their home has been destroyed. We are trying to contact the other 12 pastors but phone lines are down and roads are in rough shape. Please pray for them. Please pray for all of Nepal.

We will post updates about our disaster relief and donations can be received here: servlife.org/earthquake/

I am reminded of the redemptive passage in Isaiah 58 about serving those in need. 

“If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”
‭Isaiah‬ ‭58‬:‭10-12‬

May the light of Jesus rise amidst the darkness of this tragedy. May the walls be repaired, the streets restored, and hearts healed. 

Posted on May 1, 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 

Nanda Gharti MagarNanda was inspired to become a pastor as he saw the hardships around him as he was growing up. His neighbors were animists, they believed spirits of ancestors and nature, and worshiped idols to them. He wanted to share the release his family had found in Christ, and show his neighbors how a Christian community can provide freedom from oppression and even poverty.

So, after training at ServLife’s pastor training school, Nanda began to preach the Word among the people of his hometown. People quickly began witnessing the power of Christ through Nanda’s church. Many sick people were healed when members of his church prayed over them. One man had been paralyzed on one side of his body for over a year due to a neurological condition. After living in the church and being prayed over for two months, he was completely healed. Nanda’s church has since grown to include over 100 people and he has started 3 more churches in nearby areas as a result of the miracles people have witnessed.

Sharing God’s word is not always easy, however. Nanda lives in an area that many people have to travel through to get from one end of Nepal to the other. So there are all types of people living there, some of whom are opposed to Christians sharing the Gospel. Traveling Hindu priests stop in the area and make their living by performing ceremonies and getting paid to intercede with Hindu gods on behalf of the people. They are therefore opposed to Christians sharing the Gospel, because it takes away from their clientele of people desperate for help from the gods. The priests and zealous followers of other religions often threaten Nanda and his congregation as they attempt to minister to the community.

Pastor Nanda believes that he can help even more people witness the love of Christ through a micro-finance program to help local people escape poverty. He thinks that if the people are no longer in the clutches of desperation and have a community of believers offering to support them, then they will see God’s love at work and be more open to receiving Christ.

Please pray for Pastor Nanda to reach the lost in his community and to find strength to stand against the opposition the church faces. Pastor Nanda and many pastors like him also need a sponsor to encourage and support them.

Find out more on our Planting Churches and Pastor Sponsorship pages.

Posted on April 17, 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

View More: http://jadeandkyle.pass.us/childrens-homeThere are 167,026 people in Nepal’s Bhajang District, but only two churches. In fact, there are around 2,000 villages in Nepal that have not yet heard the gospel. ServLife’s Pastor Madan started the second church in Bhajang in 2012. In the past three years his church has grown to include 180 people across six villages, including those who meet for bible study and fellowship in other areas.

Growth has not always been so easy for Madan’s church though. Many people of high caste initially rejected his testimony because he is from a caste of former slaves. Madan was born into a family that had been in bonded labor due to debt for generations. At ten years old his job was to carry 50 kilogram bags on the farm for which his family was forced to work. Madan knew first hand how transformative the power the Gospel is for the poor and oppressed, but it was difficult to get the more affluent to listen to the good news.

So, in the course of his ministry, pastor Madan began caring for the poor and the sick. Miraculous healings began to happen when members of the church prayed for the sick. People who had been ill or paralyzed for years were suddenly well, and were telling their stories to their families and friends. People could no longer deny the power of Christ, and attendance at his church soared.

Now, Madan hopes to help people like himself: former slaves who were freed by the government but have no support or source of income. His dream is to start a micro-finance program, like ServLife’s HOPE Fund, to help former slaves in his area start businesses. This is also a wonderful way to share the Gospel, Madan says. He hopes that while caring for their physical needs he will be allowed to care for them spiritually as well.

Madan needs prayer for the Gospel to continue to spread in his area and similar areas that have not yet heard the good news.

Find out more about our church planting ministry. If you would like to find out how to support a pastor like Madan, click here.

Posted on April 13, 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Adam_HS_largeGod is making all things new. This transformational reality from Revelation 21 is possible because “God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women!” (Rev. 21:3)

We know from 2 Corinthians 5 that we are made into a new creation through Jesus and that God is drawing all of humanity and creation to Himself, and He has invited us to participate in this work of reconciliation. So plant a tree and share the hope of Jesus.

The seed of the good news of Jesus is being planted throughout India and Nepal, and it is ripe for harvest. The rural areas are typically less than 1% Christian, but new churches are growing rapidly through preaching, healing and sacrificial service. The need and opportunity are so great that some pastors are leading multiple churches in 3-6 villages. As Pastor Bhakta in Nepal puts it, “my church is growing every day. I’m like a doctor. Almost all the time I am praying for people and they get healed and then come to the church.”

Thank you for investing in pastors who are planting the hope of Jesus. Thank you for supporting children to grow into “oaks of righteousness.” And thank you for empowering families with small loans to cultivate a new business and flourish on their own.

May the freshness of spring renew our hearts and minds, and remind us of the presence of God to make all things new. May we plant seeds of reconciliation and hope through our time, treasures and talents.

Posted on April 3, 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , ,

In March over 100 pastors gathered in India and Nepal to learn, praise, and fellowship with one another. The gathering brought together the graduates of the ServLife pastor training schools to continue their training and spiritual growth through seminars, worship gatherings and encouraging each other. The two conferences focused on finding strength and courage to follow God’s vision for the pastor’s lives and churches.

Many of the pastors came in feeling tired or alone in their ministries; each living in far remote villages in India and Nepal. They faced opposition and even persecution throughout their year and were in need of something to recharge their zeal for ministry. Many traveled for several days to reach the conference, but once they were there, the payoff was enormous.

The pastors were encouraged and equipped with teaching by three guest pastors from Vista Community Church in Texas and Gospel Harvest Mission in Pennsylvania, as well as local pastors. ServLife Executive Director Adam Nevins and Assistant Director Tim Kurth also presented at the conferences and let the pastors know they are supported and prayed for by communities on the other side of the globe. The pastors left invigorated and filled with desire to take God’s love to everyone they meet and serve other as Christ served when they returned home.

Pastor Bhim Ratna shared that at times he was very discouraged but after the conference he was a new man. Bhim told us, “It Is like my batteries have been charged… Spiritually charged!”

If you would like to support one of our pastors please visit our pastor sponsorship page.

Posted on March 30, 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Isaiah 61 speaks of God’s commission to serve the poor, consoling those who mourn, to rebuild … Read

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On April 25 a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake rattled Nepal between Kathmandu and Pokhara. The devastation … Read

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A Field Report From Assistant Director Tim Kurth In Nepal: The thousand-yard stare happens after a … Read

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