Hope from the Rubble

It’s been about 10 months since the first earthquake hit Nepal in April 2015.  Since that time much has emerged from the rubble.

In this update:

Blockades:

Blockades

He says: “The Blockade is Over!”. The truck on the bottom: “The Black Market”. And the people go without…

One of the major stories of the Fall and Winter have been the blockades restricting supplies coming from India into Nepal. They are politically motivated but have severely hampered daily life throughout the country. They have led to shortages in fuel, cooking gas, medicine and other goods and have limited the earthquake rebuild. There are normally about 300 fuel trucks entering Nepal from India every day. Since the start of the blockades on September 23, 2015 that number dwindled to 5 – 10. Of course the black market has flourished under these conditions, which has resulted in highly inflated prices. The blockades ended 2 weeks ago, however shortages and inflated prices remain. Please pray that the market returns to normal quickly.

Besides the daily inconveniences for the people of Nepal, the inflated prices have significantly increased the cost of rebuilding. Thank God we have not been shut down and work has progressed despite the hardships and unforeseen circumstances!

Rebuilding:

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 1.45.23 PMTo date we have rebuilt 38 new permanent earthquake proof homes in 5 villages.

Local construction crews have been hired for most of these. Many church members have helped with the rebuilding where they can and in some cases contribute their own resources. This is welcome and indicates ownership of the process.

The Earthquake Management team works together with local pastors and leaders to carefully weigh all considerations when determining which homes get rebuilt and which ones are subsidized. Sometimes a family will have all the material they need except for a tin roof. There are many who are simply destitute and have nothing to contribute. Of course, we are more than willing to help these out – especially those single mothers who have no other options and the poorest in the communities in which we’re working.

(Click on pics to enlarge – hover to see captions)

To date we have subsidized to 65 households through providing supplemental building materials.

So far, 6 church buildings have been rebuilt. There are two remaining projects in the remote mountain village of Gatlang, and the main campus in Kathmandu (more below). The demolition and rebuild in Gatlang will begin in March.


Helping Our Neighbours:

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Distributing sleeping bags in the cold Himalayas.

The earthquake rebuild has enabled us to reach out in unprecedented ways. Initially, we were housing and caring for many people. The needs have not stopped and we continue to practice hospitality and demonstrate care to our neighbours.

35% of the total amount we’ve used in relief and rebuilding has gone to our neighbours! This means that while we are caring for our own people, we’re also caring for and demonstrating the practical love of Jesus to our neighbours. This includes everything from food and medication to permanent homes, temporary shelters, subsidies and small business start-ups (more about this below).

Bikka Land Deal:

As we reported in August, there is a caste in the village of Gatlang called “Bikka”. There are 11 Bikka families in Gatlang and all of them are Christians. They are also the lowest caste and poorest people in the village. Before the earthquake they had homes on properties they did not own. After the earthquake, they have not been allowed to rebuild homes on property they do not own. They were landless – now they are landless and homeless. Since the earthquake they’ve been living in temporary structures.

We have purchased a plot of land for the Bikka people. The land will be subdivided into 12 plots for the 11 families. On the remaining plot we will build a community centre for the children and youth (more below).

Currently we’re waiting for diesel so we can hire an excavator to level the plot.

Kid’s Helping Kids:

Gatlang kids

The poorest children in Gatlang will have a place to play!

Children and Youth from 5 of Vineyard churches in Canada have contributed to the Gatlang community centre project. To date, they’ve raised enough funds to build a great space for the kids of Gatlang to gather, do their homework and be kids together!

Thanks kids!

Kathmandu’s Unique Challenges

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Roadside stands like this one are the livelihood of many in the Kathmandu Vineyard.

In the complex maze of streets and alleys in old Kathmandu, live about 65 families or single mothers from the Kathmandu Vineyard. Most of these people live in old tenement housing type structures that remain quite damaged. Because their livelihoods are dependent on income derived from the areas in which they live, they cannot move. There are no other safe, affordable alternatives that are close enough for them to get to their places of work each day. So, they remain in unsafe buildings propped up by wooden poles extending into the alleys and streets. These people have no other options. They simply trust God saying, “he protected us in the first two earthquakes – he will protect us now too!” Their faith is overwhelming – as is their situation.

It’s been difficult, but there is a strategy emerging. The Earthquake response has provided small bursaries to 15 people to help start or upgrade individual businesses. The goal is to increase the capacity of each person to care for themselves and their families so that they afford suitable and safe accommodation without losing their source of income. The businesses range from simple vegetable sales on the side of the road to carts selling a variety of foodstuffs.

 

Kathmandu Hub demolition and rebuild project

The Himalayan Region Vineyards were birthed from the Kathmandu Vineyard. It is the epicenter of activity for the entire region. Both the main sanctuary and the housing complex were severely damaged in April 2015. The sanctuary is usable for now, however one wall leans ominously outwards. The 2-storey housing complex is no longer fit for habitation and has been vacated. Everyone who was living there is now being housed in other rooms connected to the main single story gathering area.

KTM Hub

You can see the 2 story apartment block to the right and the low single story sanctuary roof to the left. Both need to be demolished.

It is clear that both structures need to be demolished and rebuilt. Builders and engineers have confirmed this diagnosis. They are irreparable. We are so thankful that a few years ago, the top floor of the housing complex was removed (there used to be 3 stories) and the roof in the sanctuary was reinforced. Previous earthquake events had caused damage, which, if it had not been repaired, would have resulted in both buildings collapsing in April. This would have meant hundreds of deaths and injuries. Thank God for his wisdom and proactive protection!

Rebuilding these two structures is a major undertaking that will require large donations beyond the Earthquake Disaster fund. Plans are currently underway to establish a new 35-unit guesthouse and a new sanctuary. This is a large project and will require approximately 1.1 million USD to complete. More information will be forthcoming regarding this project.

Other Side CD Project:

Other SideThere is a partnership between the Vineyard and World Vision in the works. One exciting arm of this collaboration is a worship CD project called “Other Side”. It features songs & sounds of the Himalayas and includes artists: David Ruis, Andy Park, Ryan McAllister, Noel Isaacs, Ben Isaacs and a host of other local and international talent. After the initial release, the net sales from this CD will be split 50-50 between the Vineyard’s Earthquake Disaster fund and World Vision. It’s a great way to support local talent and contribute to remaining needs of the recovery.  Go here to purchase the CD – or find it on iTunes and Google Play.

Mark’s Report – USA Partners:

Mark Morgan and the Vineyard Community Church in Gilbert Arizona have been working with the HRV and Winnipeg Centre Vineyard in this earthquake response. They’ve been great partners. Here is Mark Morgan’s report from his most recent trip:

I just returned from Kathmandu. This was my first visit since the earthquake. Every time I make the trip to Nepal, there are surprises. The past two weeks was no exception. At first glance, I thought things looked better than I imagined they would after the huge earthquake. Much of that impression was surface appearance. I know that basic needs for food and shelter are still very much an issue. It is going to be a long-term project for the Vineyard tribe to continue to help families rebuild a safe home and a sustainable life. A closer look reveals damage to the integrity of nearly every home and building. If not totally destroyed, many have been left “unlivable.” We have begun the long process of rebuilding homes. These are simple structures that should withstand future quakes.

The bigger surprise for me was the resolve of the Nepali people, and in particular the followers of Jesus. They are a determined people who are busy putting their lives back together. They are characterized by thankfulness, not complaint! I truly believe they see this whole earthquake event as “light afflictions” rather than impossible obstacles. I learn so much each time I spend time with them. Their spirit is solid. They don’t complain. They greet you like they love you, and they do! They embody the truth of Romans when Paul says: “nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus.” (Not even devastating events like mammoth earthquakes…my interpretation). Their lives have been galvanized by enduring hardship like good soldiers. I am amazed at them!

The initial shock and emotional response to the earthquake has come and gone. The needs remain. They are significant. This is not the time for us to draw back and allow ourselves to take a breather until there is another disaster. This is the time to get our second wind and push ahead.

Mark Morgan – Vineyard Community Church, Gilbert, Arizona

More Than Earthquake Recovery – follow us:

There’s much more happening in the Himalayan Region Vineyards than recovering and rebuilding from the earthquakes. God is on the move and doing great things! Follow us on our Facebook Page to keep updated.

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