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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A Church for Duggivalasa

May 8th, 2015

According to Operation World, “The world’s least-evangelized peoples are concentrated in India. Of 159 people groups of over 1 million people, 133 are unreached.” We exist to change that.

Imagine a church being established in a centuries-old community with no known Christian presence. No steeples, crosses, or church signs dotting the landscape. Not a whisper of Jesus’s name for hundreds of years. Then, suddenly, the silence is broken, the darkness pierced by someone who patiently and lovingly proclaims that Jesus is Lord, that salvation is a gift freely given to all who believe.

That story is being played out over and over again in villages throughout India. Previously untouched by the Gospel, these communities are hearing the saving message of Jesus for the first time. Many are responding in faith, and the church is growing and multiplying at an incredible pace.

As the Good News spreads, stories of life-change begin to emerge. Sometimes those stories sound a lot like the ones we find in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and we’re reminded that we don’t live in a world devoid of the supernatural. Miracles do occur. And when they do, it provides unmistakable evidence of God’s greatness and power, often confirming the message being proclaimed by the humble evangelist who has dedicated his life to reaching those who have never heard the Gospel.

Such was the case in Duggivalasa, a village located in the heart of the 10/40 window. When Pastor Shankar Rao went there in 2007, intent on planting a church, he was met by a man possessed by an evil spirit. Unable to control himself, this man would roam from village to village, screaming, shrieking, shouting obscenities. His bloodcurdling cries constant for years.

Pastor Shankar would soon discover that the deranged man — the one who would ridicule him as he shared the Good News of Jesus with villagers — was actually a childhood friend. Moved by his friend’s plight, and understanding the demonic forces that were at work in his life, Shankar prayed over him, and Appadu was healed — the evil spirit gone. So dramatic was his conversion, that his entire family put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Others soon followed as news of what God had done for Appadu began to spread throughout the village.

A community with no known Christian presence prior to Pastor Shankar’s arrival in 2007, Duggivalasa now has a church full of first generation Christians, Appadu and his family among them. And today, on the site where a house once stood, is an almost-finished church building; the property on which it’s being built, a gift. And the donor? A man once possessed by an evil spirit, now gloriously transformed after an encounter with the risen Christ.

Appadu sharing testimony

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 Duggivalasa, 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 the 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.

Pastor Shankar


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Nepal, India, and the Power of Prayer

May 4th, 2015

Nepal_mapThe unfolding humanitarian crisis in Nepal continues to be at the forefront of our thoughts and prayers. As the death toll continues to climb and survivors begin the arduous process of rebuilding their lives, there is little doubt that the storied resilience of the Nepali people will be tested. They have experienced so much loss, a heartache made even more unbearable because of the suddenness of it all. In a moment, their lives were unalterably changed by an earthquake 22 times more powerful than the one that devastated Haiti in 2010. Loved ones gone. Homes and buildings reduced to rubble. Entire villages wiped out; only ruins remain after the earth’s violent, sudden shaking.

This is a time to stand in prayerful solidarity with the precious people of Nepal, to intercede for the millions affected by this natural disaster, to remember that our brothers and sisters in Christ are among those who are suffering. As children of God, we understand that prayer, far from being weak and ineffective, has great power as it is working. Pray for every person that has been touched by this tragedy. Ask God to quiet the ground that trembles beneath their feet. Ask Him to breathe peace over the entire region — over every man, women, boy, and girl who, even now, struggles to find rest.

As you pray for Nepal, don’t forget to pray for our dear friends and ministry partners in Kathmandu, Joel and Sue Garrison. Just days after the earthquake, when news of widespread damage to Nepali villages began to surface, they established an earthquake relief fund in order to meet the immediate and long-term needs of the families and churches within our organization.

In India, the footprint of our ministry continues to expand. This month, please pray for…

Favor with the local government. Earlier this year the local government made a unilateral decision to increase our property taxes by sixteen hundred percent, an exorbitant figure that was determined arbitrarily and feels to us like extortion. We are in the process of appealing this decision. As we talk to local authorities, please ask God to make them favorably disposed towards us. It can be a very difficult process, and we have no guarantees that they will rule in our favor. We need God to intervene in this matter.

Master’s School. Though we’re expecting the new school building to be finished in the next two months, use of the building could be delayed if the property tax issue (mentioned above) isn’t resolved. Once completed, the new classroom space will provide us with an extraordinary opportunity to educate hundreds more children, many of whom come from materially poor families. Pray earnestly that God would give us favor with local authorities. In order to have our property taxes reduced, we need a miracle.

Master’s Children’s Home. You may remember that we opened a new children’s home in Srikakulam District last year. Twenty at-risk children found refuge in a safe, familial environment. Next month that number will grow to twenty-five. As we seek to empower and educate the children God has entrusted to our care, we need your prayers. We have some big decisions to make about where to educate our kids. Ask God to help us discern which area school would be best for them to attend. We’re also praying about whether or not to purchase an acre of land so we can build a permanent home for our children.

Ten Thousand Churches. God continues to bless our church planting ministry. There are new churches forming almost weekly, and new church buildings are being dedicated at a rate of at least two a month. It’s an extraordinary season of growth, and we don’t see signs of it slowing down anytime soon. Would you join us in asking God to provide for the needs of our church planting ministry?

Master’s Fellowship. Madhurawada Church, known locally as Master’s Fellowship, continues to grow, and so we’ve added a new staff member, Mr. Prabahakar. He just graduated from our Bible college last month, and we’re thrilled to welcome him and his wife, Beulah, to our team. Pray for Mr. Prabahakar as he makes this transition from student to staff member, and continue to pray for Master’s Fellowship.

Joey and Yisel Zorina. The Zorinas are in the early stages of planting a church in the world’s most populous city: Tokyo, Japan. Pray for Joey and Yisel as they proclaim and demonstrate the Good News of Jesus among the second-largest unreached people group in the world. Pray, too, that the Gospel will take root and grow in the hearts and lives of those who participate in their weekly home meetings and an upcoming outreach event on Saturday, June 6.

Wisdom and strength. Growth is often accompanied by significant challenges, and we are certainly experiencing our fair share of them. More than anything else, we are desperate for God’s empowering presence, for the wisdom and strength to carry out our mission here in India. As we prepare to make key hiring decisions within our ministry, would you ask God to lead us to the right people? We need His guidance every step of the way.

Thank you for praying for me and Raji over the last thirty days. It’s encouraged us greatly. We are truly humbled and grateful that you have chosen to partner with us.


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Like a Thief in the Night

May 2nd, 2015

Kathmandu, Nepal, 8:01 AM EDT — “For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2)

The parallels of last week’s earthquake to the “day of the Lord” are significant. It came out of nowhere. The videos of the event show people going about their business, oblivious that in the next moment their life is going to change. The message for us is get ready, be ready.

Last week when the earthquake hit at noon, Joel was helping Isaac do a practice SAT exam. Isaac took the real exam this morning and wouldn’t you know it, right at noon, during the test, there was another aftershock. We are pretty used to them now so it didn’t really disrupt the exam.

After an event like an earthquake, some people become hyper-vigilant. We are experiencing that now, at some level. We don’t like being somewhere where there is no quick exit, like an upper floor of a building. Showers and trips to the bathroom are quick. We don’t ride our bikes by the tall apartment buildings in our area, or if we do, we ride faster.

One of the boy’s teachers said he was on the toilet when the shaking started last week. He pleaded, “Don’t take me now! Don’t take me now!” We’ve gotten a big laugh from that this week.

There isn’t much new to report. Water is still not turned on yet, but water trucks are delivering water. We should get one today or tomorrow. We still haven’t heard from the village pastors we are concerned about. Pastor Lila will be coming to Kathmandu in the next day or two and give us a better assessment of the condition of his village and what is needed there. You may have seen the videos of the rural areas outside Kathmandu. It’s very bad out there.

PLEASE PRAY

  • for those still waiting for aid.
  • for the aid coming in to actually get to those who need it. Aid is being held up at the airport so it can be taxed and held up in the rural areas as well.
  • There are still some significant aftershocks happening. Pray for the nerves of those still here riding this event out.

OTHER MINISTRY NEWS

Wycliffe friends
One week before the earthquake we had the privilege of hosting SIL/Wycliffe friends we worked with in the Philippines. Some of you will recognize Jan Perry and John Battan. Both were here at the same time working on different assignments.

girls 1
All the girls at the orphanage received a new outfit this week.

girls 2

girls 3

girls 4

PRAISE and PRAYER

  • Praise God that even as bad as the quake and its result has been, it isn’t even close to what we thought a big quake would do here in Kathmandu. It is certainly bad for many, but nowhere near what it could have been
  • We really praise God for our team of partners – that’s YOU! We heard such encouragement from so many of you. It means a lot to us.
  • Pray for wisdom, energy, and a calm spirit as we deal with a new world here.
  • Pray for Isaac and Elliot as they have their final exams during the month of May.
  • We aren’t sure about our next Bible School session that was to begin this week. Three men are here already but we have doubts the others who were coming are going to be able to make it here any time soon.

For the glory of God,

Joel and Sue Garrison

GIVE to Vision Nationals Nepal


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Rebuilding Hope in Nepal

April 29th, 2015

Kathmandu, Nepal, 8:35 AM EDT — It was a calm, cool day today with some rain. We got our electricity back last night, praise God. The main problem now is water. Hopefully that will get going today. We have enough water for a few more days though.

Elliot and Isaac 2

Elliot and Isaac helped clean up the assembly hall at their school today.

We are most concerned about our pastors up in the Lapa and Dhading areas. A friend of ours shared that he heard that there was severe destruction up in that area. Total villages wiped out and churches destroyed. We hope to hear something from our pastors there soon. Please pray for the pastors and churches in these areas.

I mentioned earlier that one of our village pastors, Pastor Lila, had a church that was destroyed up on a mountainside about two hours east of Kathmandu. We have taken many visitors up to this church. One of our other pastors was visiting there and preaching last Saturday when the earthquake hit. I received the video of this today.

Click here to watch this intense event.

The video was long and I cut it down to two minutes. After the quake there was a lot of screaming and crying. You can hear people saying, “Dhanyabad, Yesu.” (Thank you, Jesus) At the end of the video, ten minutes after the event, the chaos and emotion had calmed down and you could hear the people praying and saying “hallelujah” in strong, clear voices.

church building

The mud and stone walls went down in seconds.

Pastor Lila

Pastor Lila comforts and encourages the people after the quake.

Lila congregation

The Nepali people are resilient. Relief funds sent to us will go to help these people rebuild their church and houses.

RELIEF UPDATE

There are helpful videos and pictures on CNN, BBC, and The Guardian. You have probably found other sources as well.

Our relief efforts will focus on the families and churches in our organization, and once those needs are met, we will help others in need.

We met as a team today and felt the wisest thing for us to do right now is wait to hear from our village pastors. Professional relief people are here and doing what they can in a very hard situation. Many roads are impassible in the rural areas.

I will keep posting the donation information for those who want to give toward relief. If you would like to contribute, please make your donations as follows:

You can give online. Designate to “Nepal Earthquake Relief.”

You can mail a check to Vision Nationals, 191-B Palomino Trail, Ridgway, CO 81432. Designate for “Nepal Earthquake Relief.”

For the glory of God,

Joel and Sue Garrison

GIVE to Vision Nationals Nepal


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