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 was sponsored by WELS World Missions, WELS Christian Aid and Relief, and WLCFS-Christian Family Solutions.
This multi-part blog from our counselor Anita Smith features a snapshot of their work there.
It’s the last day of the workshops, and we have more to do than we have time. Today the balloons came out. The people used the balloons to help with deep breathing, relaxation skills, and to learn to work together for a common goal. They loved this activity. We also created a bracelet or bookmark with beads to remind us of all the truths and lessons that we learned these last few days.
No one wanted to say goodbye. So many of the young women wanted me to take their picture. I know I will remember them forever! The people were given blankets and mattresses to take home. They have so little, and need so many of the necessities. Only a few stayed around until their bus came at 4:00 in the morning. What a sight that was—watching all the people leave by bus or walking with a mattress and blanket in tow. Our hope is that the people will take this message of hope and the techniques for managing their grief and share it with the people in their villages. What an awesome way to share the hope that we have.
It is a little sad that our job is done tonight. It seemed so quiet at the evening gathering. I will miss these new friends. But I will wear my bracelet to remind me of their suffering and sorrow but also of their joy and love!