More than 4,400 people have been killed in the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal last Saturday. The earthquake ravaged Gorkha which was the epicenter and is eighty-eight miles northwest of the capital Kathmandu. Shocks were felt as far away as China and India. The force of the quake shook Mt. Everest, creating avalanches and killing eighteen climbers.
The devastation of the natural disaster is horrific to be sure. However, several ministries and government organizations are reporting medical supplies and personnel are needed to meet the rising number of those injured. UNICEF reports nearly one million children are in need of humanitarian aid. Mashable has created a visual tool to see how cities and communities looked before and after the earthquake, to help people understand the magnitude of destruction.
In times like this, it is easy to feel helpless or removed from the suffering of people thousands of miles away. But as Christians, we’re called to step up when and how we can. Below are a few ideas on how to help.
Donate. There aren’t many of us who can hop on a plane and sift through rubble, help in hospitals or minister hope to the people of Nepal. But we can give of resources we have. Several reputable organizations are promising that 100% of donations given will go to help the efforts in Nepal. Many are coupling their relief efforts with ministering the Gospel of Jesus to those who need hope in this dark time. Samaritan’s Purse will be taking items like shelter materials, clean water supplies and hygiene kits to help survivors. World Vision will be providing emergency health interventions, food and services to help children impacted by the earthquake. Convoy of Hope has already sent a team with supplies and equipment to Nepal, and they are working with a network of more than 100 Nepali churches for relief.
Pray. It seems simple, and something we sometimes scoff at as it’s not a physical act of help. However, prayer is a powerful tool. We can for our brothers and sisters who are ministering in the midst of unspeakable tragedy and for those who do not know Jesus to come to know Him. We can also pray for comfort and hope for the people of Nepal.
Consider long-term support. While donations in the immediate wake of natural disasters are necessary and very helpful, we should also look at ways we can support clean-up and rebuilding. Your church could identify missionaries or a sister church in the impacted area to support. Long after relief organizations leave, they are the people providing day-to-day ministry and needs of the community. Your family could sponsor a child who has been orphaned or affected by the disaster through organizations like Compassion International or World Vision.
Scripture is full of verses about how God feels about the poor and how He will provide and execute justice for them. Most often, this comes through the hands of His people. Jesus commends the righteous in Matthew 25 for feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the prisoner and those who are sick and welcoming the stranger. In times like these, we must remember; when we minister to these needs – both physical and spiritual – we minister to Him.