Nepal Update – April, 2016

Dear Friends,
At this time last year Nepal experienced a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake, followed by hundreds of aftershocks and a 7.3 magnitude earthquake on May 12. Mission Network News reported that roughly 9,000 people were killed and more than 22,000 were injured. That was just the first of several difficulties that put the country into a tailspin. More than 800,000 houses were damaged or destroyed. Historical sites and entire villages collapsed. Over 2 million people were affected, most of whom were instantly made homeless, orphans, or widows. Many organizations rushed to help the Nepalis, but the sad reality is that due to inaccessible roads, a blockade of the country by India, and demolished roads into China due to landslides, very little support actually made it to the people who needed it the most.
That’s where our ministry partners at Nepal Gospel Outreach Center came into the picture. Because of their contacts throughout Nepal and their access to remote areas through their ministry network, they were able to bring relief to many who were in distress. Here is the report we received from them in March in response to the aid that Hope Builders was able to send directly to them bypassing governmental bureaucracy and red tape. Thank you for your response to the desperate needs of the Nepali people.
On behalf of our friends and loved ones in Nepal,
Lance & Christie Thollander

Dear Ministry Partners,
During this year we went through much hardship and trouble. These included a devastating earthquake followed by the blockade along the Indian border and inaccessible roads to China due to landslides that brought the nation to a standstill. After almost seven months the blockade has been lifted and there are signs of improvement but overwhelming needs still remain. We want to thank you for your love and prayers and standing with us during those troublesome days. Despite hardships, we were able to serve earthquake survivors, orphans, widows and the poor in our community while preaching the gospel to all within our reach. While we are highlighting here the humanitarian work we have done, please know that hundreds have come to Christ through the preaching of the gospel that always accompanies our efforts. From those churches are being established and disciples raised up for Jesus Christ. Here are some of the activities we are involved with.

Education

nepal students outdoorsWe have continued scholarship support for 18 school children. An additional 18 children received one time support at the beginning of the academic year. There are many more needy children because of the earthquake. Many of the mothers (single women) sobbed when they shared their stories of how we have helped. They shared the impact on their lives and the relief they experienced through the scholarship and support package their child received from our ministry support team, God’s Love for Orphans and Widows (GLOW). This picture shows children studying outside because their school building was destroyed.

Tailoring Training

nepal ladiesThe fifth batch of 23 trainees graduated after completing six months advanced tailoring training on March 20th. Since the start of this program, 79 participants, many of them widows, have completed the tailoring training. Many graduates are ready to start their own tailoring shops but need funds to purchase a sewing machine. The picture above shows the tailoring graduates.

Sustainable Agriculture

GLOW has received a plot of land free of charge, to use for training farmers. We have started with banana and vegetable farming and hope to expand the project and move to other locations in the future.

Portable Water Filter Distribution

nepal water filterGLOW, in partnership with a local Christian organization, distributed around 360 plastic water pails with attached filters, which are simple to use and to keep clean. This will supply families living in remote villages with safe water, prevent gastrointestinal illness and reduce childhood mortality. Here is a water filter set being explained.

Testimonies From Those Served

We have many stories from those who have been helped. Here’s a testimony from one of the widows. “We lost everything in the earthquake including our home! It was winter and we only had what was on our backs. We were living in temporary shelter when I gave birth and the weather was getting unbearably cold. We had no other alternative than to cry. You brought us food, clothes for us, clothes for our children and babies, and quilts. I have felt huge relief now that our needs are met. I do not have the words to thank you.” — Reshma Tamang

nepal babyHere’s another testimony from a village that we visited. Pastor Palsang and some of our team walked into the village. The pastor’s neighbors’ wife was in labor and called the pastor to pray for her. He quickly rushed there and as he was praying, she delivered a daughter in front of them. They walked back to the church and told us what happened. We returned to the house with infant supplies. There the mother and the new child were sleeping in a dark corner of a hut they had built after the earthquake flattened their three level house. We learned that their two daughters died when the house fell and buried them during the earthquake. This newborn is their sixth child. This is a family of believers who attend the church in the village. They asked us to pray for them and thanked God for this new gift to their family, bringing them joy and healing of heart. It was good to be there to witness and celebrate life with them in the midst of all the pain and hardship they had been through.

Please be sure that the gospel message is shared in all our programs and trainings. For example, in the tailoring training, devotions are held every morning before they start their day. The training participants have learned much of the gospel and about Christ since joining the training. They ask many questions and ask for prayers for themselves and for their family members.
Truly, the Gospel is the real hope that can truly change people’s lives… our efforts otherwise will be in vain. Thank you for your wonderful support that enables to carry the Good News of God’s love and new life in Jesus Christ to these people living in the remote villages of Nepal. God is doing a great work here!
With love in Christ,
Resham and Sita Poudel and the NGOC team

Update From Nepal

Dear Friends,

Here is a report we recently received from our ministry partners in Nepal describing the difficulties they are facing and their response to them. We hope you will be encouraged by their hearts to serve and will join us in praying for the Nepali people that the Lord will come to their rescue both spiritually and physically.

For HBI, Lance Thollander

Greetings and love from Nepal. We have been busy bringing the light of the Gospel to our land. Last April a terrible magnitude 7.8 earthquake shook the whole country and initiated one of the worst disasters in our memory. Nine thousand people died in the initial earthquake, 600,000 buildings were destroyed, and many aftershocks caused additional deaths and damage.

Then a new constitution was signed in August bringing sweeping political change. This led to tension with India. India wanted Nepal to return to the days when it was a Hindu Kingdom but this new constitution makes the nation more secular. Protests caused a blockade of imports. Due to that building reconstruction has been drastically slowed. Hospitals cannot afford medical help. The price of food is rising and many of our basic commodities like rice, cooking oil and gas for heating are very difficult to get.  Previously, for example, 300 trucks carrying fuel entered Nepal every day. Now the number is down to about 5. The U.N. estimates as many as 3 million Nepali children could face starvation if the situation does not change soon.

In the midst of this our humanitarian ministry, God’s Love for Orphans and Widows, GLOW, targeted three earthquake affected areas where we are working. We are distributing warm quilts in villages. Most of the earthquake survivors are living in temporary shelters. Many were left with only the clothes they had on their backs. Our goal is to provide warm clothing to 300 households. We have contacted a local manufacturer for jackets, fleeces, trousers and blankets for the people in those families. On average each family has five members and the cost will be $50 per family.  We need $15,000 to fully carry out that project. As the program grows, we will install water supply pipelines to the villages. Normally they have to walk a mile one way just to fetch water for their household needs.

Sewing and Tailoring Training

nepal quake photo 2Our sewing and tailoring training has been extended to more districts. The local churches there promote and manage these projects. This brings local buy-in to the effort. The church sets up the center, installs the sewing machines and obtains government approval. The training is primarily for flood victims and those who do not have the skills to make a living.  The cost is $2500 to set up each training center with the necessary machines. We are also working to provide filtered water for the 300 households.

In all these activities we greatly need the Lord’s guidance, power and provision. We covet your prayers and support as we reach out in the Name of the Lord Jesus.

With love in Him,

Your ministry partners in Nepal

Earthquake Update from Nepal

Dear Friends,

nepal quake photo3We recently received this report from our ministry partners in Nepal who are working in the quake areas. Your gifts are making a difference as GLOW is able to reach out to many through your help. Many hundreds of their church members like the woman shown here have lost homes in the devastating quakes. Even now ministry workers are trekking into difficult areas to bring aid, and are also reaching out to those in their immediate areas.

nepal quake photo 2The women at GLOW (God’s Love for Orphans and Widows), shown here, are a few of those who have been working long hours to make clothing for those who have lost everything. These women are among the widows and single women who have been trained in GLOW’s sewing classes in part through help from Hope Builders. Most people in the quake areas lost everything they owned when their houses collapsed in the earthquake’s aftermath. After the earthquake GLOW immediately began providing emergency food aid, water and tarps that were used to put up tent like protective structures. You can see their gladness in the picture below as they received the tarps.

nepal quake photo 4

nepal quake photo 5The short-term and long-term effects of the disaster are difficult to fully comprehend. Hundreds of thousands of families are without homes as the monsoon season looms, and the quakes and subsequent landslides and avalanches have undercut the country’s two primary sources of livelihood, agriculture and tourism. A leader of an indigenous ministry working in Dolakha District, where most of the casualties of the second earthquake occurred, said that 70,000 of the 75,000 houses there were destroyed. Another ministry leader said most survivors are living in the open air and need tents, food, water and medical assistance. Most aid that is being sent worldwide goes through government hands and is very slow to reach those most in need. That’s why we are so blessed to be able to work directly with Nepalis like Resham and  Sita who can use sent funds to buy and prepare the kinds of goods that will bring relief to the hurting as well as love and comfort in the name of Christ. Clothing for a woman costs $10 and clothing for a child costs $5 to produce. Sita is pictured, on the left, with some of the GLOW center women and a sample of the clothes they have produced.

Thank you for your loving prayers and support for our brothers and sisters in Nepal.

Lance Thollander

The Incredible Difference a Well Makes

the-incredible-difference-a-well-makes

Dear Friends,

Most of us take for granted the precious clean water which flows freely from our taps. But for many villages in India, this basic life necessity is often in short supply. It is not unusual for families including women and children to walk several miles each day to bring home life saving water for their needs. Even then, when good well water is not available, polluted stream water must be used. In that regard the United Nations reported that India is rated 120th out of the 122 nations in terms of water quality.

To make things worse, if you are a Dalit, one of India’s “untouchables,” you will likely be barred from drawing water from a village well because of your inferior social status. Believers in Christ, who are considered untouchables, especially suffer as persecution commonly comes in the form of being banned from the local water source. That makes them especially susceptible to water borne disease.

Matching Grant Now Available

The good news is that God is providing wells for such communities through our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. One well supplies enough water for an average of 1000 villagers and can cut a community’s child death rate by as much as half! A plaque bearing Jesus’ words in John 4:13-14, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst,” is attached to each well. In that way, the wells not only provide families with a life necessity, they also point them to Jesus, the true source of Living Water. These wells give missionaries an opportunity to share the love of Jesus with people in need of that true Living Water. In 2013, our ministry partner’s goal is to drill 100 new wells. They have already reached the 50 well mark through the gifts of friends like you. You can provide a Jesus Well for an entire community for $1000. And right now, thanks to a special gift from one of our donors, a matching grant of $5000 is available to double the value of each gift up to that amount. Every gift, no matter how large or small, makes a big difference.

New Believers Blessed with Well

nmm_village_wellThis story of digging a well in a village of Rajasthan shows the handiwork of God. Sugma, shown here with her family, was very ill for almost six months. The family tried traditional medicines, went to local doctors and spent a fortune for her healing but there was no cure. She became so sick that the family looked for a place where she could die away from the eyes of their four daughters. Then Sugma asked to be taken to our ministry partner’s church she had heard about in a neighboring village. She somehow felt she might find healing there. If she did not, she knew she would die in peace. Even though the family did not know anyone in the church, as a last resort they took her there.

The Christians graciously received her and began caring for her. Though Sugna grew worse and seemed close to death, the steadfast believers continued praying for her and provided for her physical needs. Through the Lord’s healing powers, Sugna fully recovered! In the process she and her husband both gave their hearts to the Lord. When they returned home, they were the only Christian family in their village. No one wanted to have anything to do with them. Sugna and her three oldest daughters had to draw water each day from an open well located outside the village. But the day came when our partner organization was able to dig a Jesus Well right in their village. Now Hakman’s family had not only immediate access to water but also the opportunity to share it and God’s love with those who refused to help them! Today a vibrant church community is growing in their village which will become the source of Living Water for all who want to drink. Just as Jesus went to a well in the first century to draw thirsty hearts to Himself, He is still using wells today to lead the lost to Life. Join with us and our ministry partners in India in this strategic ministry of love and redemption.

Yours in Christ,

Lance Thollander
President, Hope Builders International

Mukesh, Living Under Threat

children-homeImagine going to a church service with a death sentence on your head. Each time you leave for church, you receive a threat on the phone. You complain to the police but they do nothing. What do you do? You cannot hide in a hut when hundreds whom you have raised up gather for worship. So you pray for safety, bid your family good bye and tell them you will meet them in the service. Your drive takes you through lanes that pass through dangerous sections of the town where all the people know you and all of them don’t like you. You have an appointment to keep and nothing can stop you, even death threats. Welcome to a regular worship day in the life of Mukesh, a village pastor and evangelist working with our ministry partners in India.

mukesh

Mukesh heard about Jesus from his older sister. She had seen the power of God in Christian meetings and wanted Mukesh to see it too. When he went with her there was no magician or blood flowing from sacrificed animals like in the Hindu rituals. The Lord won his heart. Mukesh longed to know more about Jesus so he enrolled in our partner organization’s Bible Training program for one year, shown right. Since then there has been no turning back. When Mukesh returned to his region to share about Jesus, he encountered opposition.

People would not trust him but he kept plowing the ground. One miracle led to another and those coming brought others to the meetings. Mukesh began to conduct services on Tuesday, the open market day. It was perfect. After marketing, people came to the meetings.

People would not trust him but he kept plowing the ground. One miracle led to another and those coming brought others to the meetings. Mukesh began to conduct services on Tuesday, the open market day. It was perfect. After marketing, people came to the meetings.

The first meeting space was rented, then a second, then a third, as numbers grew. But with growth came persecution. Complaints against Mukesh were lodged and visits to the police station ensued. The threats have grown consistently. Still Mukesh leads the meetings and brings new people to them. He is not happy about all the threats, but in his words, ‘The one thing that you can do is pray for me and the people.” Hundreds of young men like Mukesh are facing heavy persecution. Join us in praying for their safety and for the growth of the churches in those areas. To date, our partner organization has raised up 1500 local churches serving more than 300,000 baptized believers, thousands of whom are shown left at an annual gathering. Our ministry partner also has schools and children’s homes in different villages providing education and loving care for hundreds of children like those shown here. Your support for them will help raise up more workers like Mukesh to share God’s love with unreached Indians.

Children Say “Thank You” as Beds Arrive

beds-arriveyoung-leadersJosh Kallimel is very intentional about two things: expanding the reach of the Gospel in India and caring for those who are oppressed. We have seen first hand how those two passions make a difference. Through our donor partners HBI recently provided new beds and mattresses for close to 50 boys (shown above) that Josh’s ministry is raising up for the Lord in rural India. Many of these boys will grow up to be pastors and evangelists serving their people throughout India. At a recent training session in Delhi emerging leaders like those shown below right spent a week together receiving advanced training in the Scriptures and in ministry growth subjects. Most of these young men will serve in areas hostile to the Gospel and will face opposition and even persecution. Your prayers and support for them are greatly needed and appreciated.