In April 2015, a devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake shook the country of Nepal, killing over 8,000 and injuring over 21,000. Hundreds of thousands lost their homes.
Our counselors John Schuetze and Anita Smith arrived in Nepal in February to provide trauma and grief counseling to men, women, and children affected by the earthquake and its aftermath. Their work there is being sponsored by WELS World Missions, WELS Christian Aid and Relief, and WLCFS-Christian Family Solutions.
This multi-part blog from our counselor Anita Smith will feature a snapshot of their work there. Please pray for their efforts and for the people of Nepal!
This journey started even before the earthquake in Nepal on April 25, 2015. God certainly prepared us with trauma training in a variety of ways. In the summer of 2014, I met several people who are associated with Nepal at a convention. So when I heard the news of the earthquake in Nepal, I began to pray: for the people there, and much to the dismay of my family, for the opportunity to go help there.
In late July 2015 I was contacted and asked if I wanted to go to Nepal to provide grief and loss support. I said yes! We began meeting in August and had a date to go, and then God said, “Wait.” There were some safety issues in Nepal at that time, so we postponed our journey to October. But then a whole series of events postponed our trip yet again. So I prepared and read books about Nepal culture and earthquake trauma resources. I asked my co-workers for ideas. I was ready, but we still didn’t have a date to go. I began wearing a blue stretchy band on my wrist every day to remind me of the people and the work yet to be done. I am wearing it today, too.
In January we had a date! About three weeks ago, we had plane tickets! We were going. I was almost afraid to tell anyone for fear that we would get postponed yet one more time. We were scheduled to present a three-day grief workshop for people arriving from all over Nepal. We have been told that many of the people will be coming from a great distance and will travel 20 hours on top of a bus.
My family and friends all say that I am brave, but I don’t think of it that way. I think of the people of Nepal who have persevered for so long and will make that trip. They are the brave ones! Please pray for John Schuetze and me as we travel and allow God to use us in Nepal. Pray for the people there who will join us.
Today, here am I; ready, set, GO!
We will be sharing more about the team’s thoughts, experiences, and photos as they send them. Please continue to pray for their work and for the people of Nepal!