The Thousand-Yard Stare

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.

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