A few months after the April 2015 earthquake in Nepal, we sent a team of men and women there on an exploratory trip, to assess if there was anything that we could do to help to alleviate the effects of natural disaster. Anecdotally, it seems all the relief funds sent through official channels have yet to be translated to any actual relief outcomes for victims. When our team arrived, it was without much clear direction in mind that we started up a mountain, with access on foot only, asking God where to re-build houses.
One of the people we met was Sushila, a lady of childlike mental capacity, whose mother died when she was three, and who had been abandoned by her own husband for over three years. She has two young sons and they live at the top of the hill at the top of the village. They are almost outcast from the village, and certainly have no means of support apart from a tiny plot of land where they grow what they eat, with one water buffalo for milk. On this first trip, Sushila came to know our Father.
A few months later, this time with a destination in mind, a bigger team returned to Nepal. They set out on the long and arduous road to Sushila’s village in the foothills leading to the Everest mountain ranges. At the bottom of the hill where the village was, ran a river that was the grave to over 2000 people who died as a result of the earthquake, a perennial reminder of the grim losses the people whom we were helping had suffered. Apart from the real work of rebuilding homes, we also wanted to bring good news and the redemption of God’s kingdom among this people.
One of the first jobs we had was sorting through the rubble to pick out slabs of stone that could be used again. Then, as work began and we laid foundations for each house, we spent time re-writing the property rights of each house by proclaiming the Lordship of Jesus and Kingdom come.
In our time living with and worshipping with our new friends, we saw many moments of God’s Kingdom coming – outcasts rejoining a tribe, deliverance from the demonic, and a miraculous healing of some very damaged lungs.
From Sushila, we learnt that her neighbours had told her that if she carried on with her new belief, then they would cast her off, knowing that these were the only friendships and relationships that Sushila had in her life. However, when our team came to build her new home she was the one who welcomed the team with delight, and helped with every step of clearing the ground, digging foundations and building the stones.
Out of her utter poverty she shared vegetables grown from her own small plot for herself, mother in law and two children. She had thrown some rotten potatoes away down the slope from her home and they had sown themselves and produced a great crop! Sushila was laughing so hard about this and it seemed like this is a picture from God - the things that people discard and disregard, He makes beautiful and bountiful.