We want the world to see Jesus and inspire our folk for world mission, this great and glorious work of God from the very beginning. We are so privileged to be the heralds of hope and love, in Jesus’ name, in this needy world full of so much suffering.
While I could report on many things, I want to confine myself to an update on the Nepal floods for which we have launched a low-level appeal. In fact, $15,000 has been sent because it was urgent. We hope that this amount will be covered soon, if not exceeded, by direct earmarked donations or general donations to AFA. If we have a surplus from our regular commitments, it simply will go to the suffering people of Nepal. The plummeting value of the Australian dollar is a bad blow. Nepal deals in US dollars and just to send $10,000US we now need to pay well over $15,000. A few months ago it was $14,000 or less. The Media is no help because it no longer seems to report on the situation.
As I write this, Pastor Rabindra Das from Kathmandu, is touring flood affected areas and is supervising the work. He is an experienced and qualified Emergency Relief specialist who works with some staff from LMN (Lutheran Mission Nepal/AFA) and lots of volunteers. We are not helping this or that ‘poor family’ but hundreds in careful coordination with whole communities and other churches. While the floods themselves have subsided now, the full amount of the devastation is becoming apparent now and the food and health crisis continues.
May I quote Pastor Rabindra, The death toll in Nepal is about 150 people and thousands of families are affected. We are providing all kinds of things – food (like rice, lentils, oil), mosquito nets, tarpaulins, mattresses, bedsheets, torches, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, chloride liquid. The people are in danger of being bitten by snakes and getting very sick. Everything is wet, like the floors of the shelters they live. One big problem is filthy water. There are reports of typhoid spreading.
We are in touch with 180 families who have lost their houses (Mahottari, Sarlahi, Rautahat districts). It costs about $1,500US per dwelling to rebuild them but we cannot afford to do that. These are the lost homes of the poor, the Dalits, who are not allowed to enter higher class houses as they are considered untouchable. These richer people from higher casts will not share their food with the Dalits. The Dalits are truly outcast still. To have this situation in 2019 is terrible. Officially the caste system is dead but that is only in theory.
I appeal to you, writes Pastor Rabindra, to generously give for the flood relief in Nepal. He had a vision of helping 1,200 severely affected families costing us $38,000US ($60,000AUS) but we quickly had to downplay this hope. As someone who is a Dalit himself, Pastor Rabindra knows the cry of the poor.
Kids going hungry – parents lose hope
It was hard for Pastor Rabindra (photo) to respond to a volunteer from a place called Dhanusha. The caller said, I just come back from a village and the people showed me that they have no place to stay. They have run out of food and the situation for the kids is terrible. They are hungry and are waiting for their parents to give them something to eat. Parents have little hope. The volunteer asked for a quick response and mentioned that they have been doing the rounds from home to home of fellow Christians to beg for food. But what they received was tiny compared with the need.