South Floridians Send Relief to Nepal Churches and Orphanage After Quake

South Floridians Send ReliefJust moments after Regan Kramer and her brother Regis, of Weston, stepped off the plane onto U.S. soil on their return trip from Nepal, the calls of concern came in from family members who had heard about the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that killed more than 8,600 people on April 25. The First Baptist Church of Weston members had just visited Pastor Reuban Rai, a pastor who coordinates a network of rural churches in Nepal from his church in Khatmandu. Kramer first met Pastor Rai during a month-long Teen Missions trip in 2007. Now a videographer, she hoped to document Rai’s work in the rural villages in order to garner support for his construction of an orphanage in Ulabri in eastern Nepal. Currently home to four children, Pastor Rai hopes to expand the orphanage’s structure to four stories with the capacity to house 21 more kids.

“The vision I had was to go and show people what he’s doing, so I could reach more people,” said Kramer. “Pastor Rueben has a network of churches that have been developed by people who come through his Bible College and then plant churches in the rural areas. He has struggled for the past four years to raise funding to build the orphanage, so I thought here’s a tangible project our church could connect with,” she said.

 

A new vision

What they didn’t expect is that an earthquake would destroy lives and homes in villages and roads they had just travelled through. Many families, who had little to begin with, lost everything and the need was greater than ever.

When the earthquake hit, Kramer’s focus shifted to raising $10,000 in earthquake relief for the network of 25 church communities hit hardest by the earthquake in addition to the $19,742 needed to complete construction of the orphanage and provide support the children for one year. They have set up a website at storiesthatmatter.info that explains the need in great detail including personal stories on the children who are being served and providing a secure place for you to donate online. Pastor Rueban Rai also posts regular updates on their earthquake relief progress on his facebook page at facebook.com/reubenrai.

The brother and sister team have also been visiting local churches to share a short video from one of the orphans and make people aware of the need. The Anchor Church, which meets in Manatee Bay Elementary School, took up an offering, and the First Priority Club at Pines Charter Middle School collected shoes, clothes, school supplies and soccer balls for the orphanage.

 

People still need food

“I talked with Pastor Rueben last night and he said right now people still don’t have food, so were trying to feed them. Monsoon season is coming and many have lost their crops, homes and family members… In the villages, many of houses are perched on mountainsides and so the earthquake has taken them out in landslides. Many still have not even been able to collect bodies from the rubble,” she said.

Since Christians are a minority in Nepal, which is predominately Hindu, they are often neglected. With little damage to his church building in the city of Katmandu, Pastor Rueben has taken on the roll of surveying the damage and being a resource to support rural pastors and carrying supplies to their church families.

Due to Nepal’s difficult terrain aid has been slow to reach some areas. There are also fears the rainy season will bring further landslides and the threat of disease, so the need is great.

By using her videography skills and spreading the word, Kramer is answering the call in Proverbs 31: 8-9 to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice” (NLT).

To find out more or to donate to Pastor Rueban Rai and his orphanage in Nepal, visit storiesthatmatter.info

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