Relief Efforts Continue in Nepal

June 12th, 2015

Kathmandu, Nepal, 12:56 AM EDT — We continue to make relief efforts for those God has connected us with. This past week our staff visited a village south of Kathmandu where one of our pastors is doing a good work. We gave some money to each family for rebuilding and replacing animals that were lost in the earthquake. These are extremely poor people even in the best of times. Their reaction to someone showing concern and offering help to them was overwhelming. They said, “We never imagined in our lifetime that someone would ever do something like this for us!”

sleeping outside village

Many are still sleeping outside.

elderly woman village

mother village

father and child village

Pastor Prem

Pastor Prem (far right) and the leaders of the church.

children village

We are so grateful for your donations for earthquake relief. Through you we have been able to bring joy and hope to so many.

As I write this, a truck bringing tents, tarps, and roofing tin from New Delhi is just reaching the Nepal border. You can read about that here. More about the distribution of these relief supplies in the next update.

PRAISE and PRAYER

Thank you again for your donations toward the earthquake relief. Pray for the recovery of Nepal. It is a daunting task. Pray for the many families that have been impacted so severely by this disaster.

For the glory of God,

Joel and Sue Garrison

GIVE to Vision Nationals Nepal


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105 Children Attend Vacation Bible School

June 5th, 2015

Last month Madhurawada Church, known locally as Master’s Fellowship, held their first Vacation Bible School. To everyone’s surprise — and despite the extreme heat that enveloped the city — more than 100 children attended the 6-day event. Our teachers, staff, and volunteers were preparing to host 50 kids, so when more than twice that number came out, they were overjoyed (and a little overwhelmed, but in a good way).

According to Pastor Augustine, “This first VBS is the bright hope for the [continuation] of children’s ministry at Master’s Fellowship.” You can read more about Madhurawada Church’s inaugural Vacation Bible School here.

VBS 1

More than 100 children from across the city joined us for the 6-day event.

VBS 2

Each day the children gathered to sing and hear a lesson from the Bible.

VBS 3

Because of the excessive heat children were given plenty of opportunities to stay hydrated.

VBS 4

Girls and boys singing together during the second to last day of Vacation Bible School.

VBS 5

Pastor Arjuna gave gifts to each child in attendance.

VBS 6

During the final day of VBS the kids were given the opportunity to sing and dance and share what they had learned from the Bible.

VBS 7

Pastor Arjuna praying with the children during the last day of Vacation Bible School.


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Saying Goodbye to Moiwa

June 1st, 2015

Kathmandu, Nepal, 8:05 AM EDT — Life in our area of south Kathmandu has become somewhat normal. Electricity and water are back on. There are still a lot of people sleeping outside because their houses are not safe or they are just too afraid. There continue to be frequent predictions of another strong earthquake, along with a few aftershocks, and this serves to keep everyone in a state of fear.

The relief effort continues with the main focus being to get roofing tin out to the villages. Naturally, it is in short supply since many are trying to get it. We are in process of helping Jyamdi village get the tin. Tents and tarps from New Delhi should be here within days. If you would still like to donate to the relief effort, designate your gifts to “Nepal Earthquake Relief.”

hut

Someone built this sample hut with roofing tin near our house and put straw on top to keep the sun off and dampen the sound of the rain. Others are making normal square-shaped houses. After their usual houses are rebuilt, the tin will be used for the roof. For now it will keep the families dry.

shelter

Here is one example of roofing tin being used to make a dry, safer shelter up in Jyamdi village.

GOODBYE AND THANK YOU TO MOIWA

Moiwa

Moiwa has been with us for about six years and served faithfully in our boy’s orphanage. He was a refugee from a nearby country and his number finally came up to be resettled in the U.S. We are happy for him and really grateful for his help to us and the ministry.

SOCCER UNIFORMS

soccer uniforms

Our boys were beyond thrilled to get new soccer uniforms this past month. Yesterday they were able to wear them as we had a friendly match with another orphanage. Too fun.

PETER – VILLAGE PASTOR

Pastor Peter

Pastor Peter (right), one of our former Bible School students, has been quietly going about his business of church planting in the border area and frequently sends us pictures of the many baptisms that are occurring there.

Adivasi
His church is made up of an ethnic group called Adivasi and they work in the tea plantations.

PRAISE and PRAYER

Thank you again for your donations toward helping those who need shelter and to rebuild their homes and churches. Please pray for wisdom for us as we navigate the relief effort. Pray for Moiwa as he settles into his new life in the U.S. Pray for calm emotions and spirits as we started Mercy Mission Academy again on Sunday the 31st.

For the glory of God,

Joel and Sue Garrison

GIVE to Vision Nationals Nepal


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A Church for Uppaluru

May 28th, 2015

Uppaluru Church

Dad and daughter look in on Uppaluru Church’s inaugural service.

Last month we dedicated another new church building, the first in the village of Uppaluru. Like the Church in Duggivalasa, Uppaluru Church was established by a first-generation Christian, a man born into a traditional Hindu family but radically transformed after a saving encounter with the risen Christ. His name is Anjaneyulu, and his passion to share the Good News of Jesus with those who have never heard it is what led him to Uppaluru.

Like so many of our pastors, Anjaneyulu’s call to ministry came as he read the Gospels. Jesus’s words in Mark 16:15 — “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” — settled deep in Anjaneyulu’s spirit and became the impetus for him to pursue theological training and eventually led him to Uppaluru, an impoverished, rural community with no known Christian presence.

When he arrived in the village in 2011, Anjaneyulu began sharing the Gospel with villagers. Though no one responded to the Message immediately, many listened as he spoke. One of those people was Nagamma, a mother of four who became Anjaneyulu’s first convert. Nagamma’s children soon followed, putting their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Others in the village did the same. Before he knew it, Anjaneyulu had a church. More importantly, Uppaluru had a church, the community’s first.

Uppaluru Church interior

At the inaugural service, Uppaluru Church was filled to capacity.

By 2014 it had become clear that in order to accommodate the growing congregation a building was needed — a village home no longer provided enough space for the church to gather for worship and prayer. But they had no money or land to build.

Again, just as He had done a few years earlier, God worked through Nagamma. She owned a small piece of property in the village and decided to give it to the church, in memory of her youngest son, Pullayya, whom she had lost months earlier to liver failure. Humbled by Nagamma’s generosity and amazed that such a poor woman was willing to part with such a valuable asset, Pastor Anjaneyulu gratefully received her gift and began slowly building a church. Dedicated just a few weeks ago, the building stands as a testament to God’s grace in the life of Nagamma and her family.

As you have opportunity, please pray for Pastor Anjaneyulu. He has a strong desire to plant more churches, especially in villages that have never heard the Gospel. We’d love to help him do that. Pray, too, for the Church in Uppaluru and our dear sister, Nagamma, as well as her sons and their families. They are subsistence farmers who supplement their income by making bamboo baskets.

Give towards the building of new churches in India.

The growth of our church planting ministry has created an extraordinary opportunity to give towards the building of new churches. In most cases, a new church, like the one in Uppaluru, costs around $5,000 to build. Typically, the pastor oversees construction of the building, and the congregation makes a small but sacrificial contribution towards the project. We are then able to provide a generous grant so that building materials can be purchased and construction can commence. With dozens of churches waiting to be built, your tax-deductible donation to the Church Building Support fund can make a tremendous difference on the ground.

Support church planting in the heart of the 10/40 Window.

We identify, equip, and support church planters in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. With a passion to bring the Gospel to the unreached, our pastors have established more than 550 churches since 1992, many of them in rural villages like Uppaluru. If you’d like to support church planting in the heart of the 10/40 Window, you can make a donation via our online giving page. When prompted, simply choose “Church Planter Support” from the drop-down menu.


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Nepal Earthquake Relief Update

May 18th, 2015

Kathmandu, Nepal, 10:52 PM EDT — We are very grateful for the outpouring of donations many of you have sent for earthquake relief. There is a lot of relief supplies going out from Kathmandu, but it is not very organized. Organizations and people seem to be doing their own thing. We are able to help villages where we have contacts and have not received other relief. Here is a report on how we have used some of the funds so far.

We took food up to Jyamdi village (Pastor Lila’s church) a few days after the first earthquake. We gave enough for 20 families but this was shared among 50 homes. The second earthquake leveled the homes that were still standing after the first earthquake because this village was near the epicenter.

Samuel_encouraging

Pastor Samuel encouraged the people before we distributed the supplies.

little boy

A young boy plays in front of a pile of rubble.

Pastor in Gorkha

A pastor we know from the Gorkha area, the epicenter of the first earthquake, came to see if we could give his village some relief supplies. The people were in quite a desperate condition. They were very happy to receive the help.

supply distribtion

Distributing supplies to villagers.

damaged buildings 1

In many of the village areas, damage is widespread.

damaged buildings 2

Next Steps:

  1. Arranging for roofing tin for these villages so they can make temporary waterproof shelters. The tin can be used later for roofing on the rebuilt houses.
  2. We should be receiving a load of tents and tarps from New Delhi any day and will get those distributed.
  3. Friends are investigating a way to rebuild an inexpensive earthquake-sturdy house using local materials. More on this later.

PRAISE and PRAYER

Thank you again for your donations toward helping those who have lost all they own. We thank God for each of you. Please pray for wisdom for us as we navigate the relief effort. Pray for the many families that have been impacted so severely by this disaster.

For the glory of God,

Joel and Sue Garrison

GIVE to Vision Nationals Nepal


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Another Powerful Earthquake Hits Nepal

May 12th, 2015

Kathmandu, Nepal, 8:07 AM EDT — While you were sleeping last night, we got smacked by another earthquake (7.4) at about 12:50 PM, just after lunch. Joel and the boys were at home. The boys had no exams today and were home studying. Sue was on her bicycle just arriving at our campus but managed to stop before crashing.

At first we thought it was just another minor aftershock, of which there have been many. But this time it didn’t stop and kept getting bigger. The epicenter was over near Pastor Lila’s village that we visited the other day. It’s about halfway or so between Kathmandu and Mt. Everest.

Not sure what all this means yet. There wasn’t much new damage in Kathmandu that we have heard of. I think people have had enough though and many will probably leave now if they can. Many people are very unsure if their houses are safe.

injured carpenterThis man (pictured) is a carpenter who was working at our house for the landlord on the day of the first quake on April 25. He fell and broke his foot during the shaking. Sue and Elliot gave him first aid and we found out later that he was so appreciative of that and never imagined a foreigner would help him that way. Then, today he was here again to finish the job, overseeing another man, and the earthquake came again! He probably won’t want to come back to our house.

PRAISE and PRAYER

Of course, we are thankful that we and all involved in the ministry were spared again. Pray for the days ahead as we deal with the changes this new earthquake will bring.

For the glory of God,

Joel and Sue Garrison

GIVE to Vision Nationals Nepal


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Visit to a Village Church

May 9th, 2015

Kathmandu, Nepal, 4:13 AM EDT — This past week we made it up to Pastor Lila’s village and church which collapsed in the earthquake. Incredibly, many of the houses at the base of the mountain were okay. About halfway up we started to see more collapsed houses. Then when we got up higher on the mountain, most of the houses and the church were just rubble.

Pastor Lila's House

Pastor Lila’s House

destroyed home

This house is just above the church.

Bible school student

One of our former Bible School students has taken the tin from his roof and made a new shelter. Most of the village has done the same.

Pastor Lila

Pastor Lila, Joel, John (volunteer from Wisconsin), and Pastor Samuel survey the collapsed church.

Pastor Lila's church

The church collapsed in seconds but everyone got out in time. They plan to rebuild further up the mountain side.

Pastor Samuel

Pastor Samuel speaks to the church before we give them relief supplies. There are 50 homes in the area and about half are Christian. They share the supplies with the whole village.

The villagers said their biggest need is housing. Others are giving toward this need. However, there are still other village churches that we have yet to visit that will have needs. We will let you know when we learn more about them. For now, please do not give toward our “Nepal Earthquake Relief” fund. Let us find out what specific needs there are first.

We are doing okay. Life is slowly getting back to normal. Water still hasn’t been turned on yet but water trucks are available.

PRAISE and PRAYER

Pray for the families in this village who lost family members. 34 were killed and over 40 were injured. Pray for wisdom for us as we make decisions regarding the distribution of relief.

For the glory of God,

Joel and Sue Garrison

GIVE to Vision Nationals Nepal


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