A year ago I didn’t even know where Nepal was, but then my daughter when on a mission trip around the world called the World Race. Eleven countries in eleven months. Originally, Nepal was not on her list of countries so when her team got rerouted there, I admit I had to look it up on the map. You see, I am an American, and as such I had a very limited world view. (Not to mention I have always been horrible with geography!) The map showed me this small country just north of India where Everest stands as guardian. As the pictures arrived on the other side of my computer, they told me stories of the people there and the rugged terrain at the foot of the Himalayas.
Hannah was there during a volatile election so I learned about the politics. She had to go to the hospital, so I learned about the healthcare. She had a taste of the adventurous spirit, which lives in this place, when she whitewater rafted and got her first tattoo. She visited villages, worked at children’s homes, and went to an amazing women’s development center. Other teams from her squad worked with and blogged about the organizations they worked with that do preventative work in trafficking. I saw pictures of families that had taken in our missionary kids. I continued to watch, read and learn all month.
I began to get a feel for the Nepali people who have always welcomed the world to their door. I saw women and men carrying hay bales on their backs up mountains. I saw markets, and temples, and monkeys, and children, and prayer flags, and countryside, and city streets, and interesting food, and many, many amazing pictures that stirred my heart for these people. In this previously- unheard-of-to-me-country I felt life, flowing in the colorful people and places. The children’s smiles spoke volumes to my heart. The etched faces of the elderly told me stories of lives lived in rugged simplicity. These people looking into my eyes from the other side of the world were steeped in a culture so different from mine, and yet they spoke to me of hard work and adventure, pain and joy, hard life and good life.
And now, I once again my eyes are turned towards Nepal. This time it is news reports and video images of a people devastated. Buildings crushed with the inhabitants still inside. Survivors being dug out of the rubble. Bodies of the victims being cremated. I cannot tell you what this does to my heart…a heart newly awakened to the plight of the citizens of the world. My gut is churning in grief. My heart is broken to bits. My eyes are leaking. The loss is so overwhelming. The landmarks of a culture leveled. The landscape forever changed. But more than these things, my spirit cries out for the people. It begs in the day and in the night. Please God help them. Please God rescue them. Please God comfort them. Please God bring them peace and rest. Please God make yourself known as the lover of their souls. Please God give them hope. Please God give them strength…even more than they already possess. Please God speak to them in tenderness. Please God be gentle with their hearts. Please God send compassion to their doors. Please God. Please.
These people, whom I have never met, are etched in my mind and engraved on my heart. Their images call to me and tell me their stories. In the future, when other World Race teams go into Nepal, they will hear the stories told by the Nepalese of the Earthquake that collapsed the world under their feet. It will be told in sadness and reverence for those lost. There will be tears and hugs as the country grieves for its people and tries to rebuild. But I have no doubt that they will rebuild, because they are a hardy people who are used to hard work. They are strong and resilient. They have always welcomed the world to their mountain. They have long embraced adventurers, explorers and travelers with open arms. Now it is the world’s turn to return the hug.