The death toll from the massive earthquake in Nepal on April 25 has now killed more than 5,000 people. It has been estimated that 8 million people have been affected by the earthquake. Vast tent cities are springing up in Kathmandu, Nepal's capital city. Relief agencies focus on the basics of food, water and medicine. This is not a time for feasting in Nepal nor is it a time for despair.

Prior to the earthquake, College Church member and missionary Anita Deyneka was in Kathmandu for a Nepal Without Orphans Summit. Typically, Anita spends much of her travel time in meetings, but she had the joy of meeting the Kabi family, who have adopted 14 orphans. The parents both grew up in Christian families, in a poor village in eastern Nepal. Even after they moved to Kathmandu, the couple would return to visit their village, where they realized there were orphans living in caves. The mother told Anita that she wanted to adopt all of these children to give them a family and to help them know God; they instead adopted 14 of the children. (Anita is pictured below with the children.)


Today, these children want to be doctors, nurses, teachers, artists, pilots and followers of Jesus. Says Anita, "Unprompted these children talked a lot about God. They were delighted with their English copy of Ken Taylor's My First Bible. Now sons and daughters of the Kabi family and their heavenly Father, dreams they had never dared from their cave days can come true."

On April 28, Anita (who serves with Mission Eurasia and World Without Orphans) and the staff of partner organization A Family for Every Orphan received an email from Tek Prasad Rijai who is in Kathmandu. Tek reports that

  • Two churches collapsed during the quake and people died while worshiping.
  • People are trying to return to their villages but there are no buses.
  • Communication remains spotty at best.
  • The cost of goods is increasing as the demand increases.
  • The immediate needs are for food, water and temporary shelter because people are unwilling to return to their homes.

Tek asks prayer for the most vulnerable victims--children, the elderly and the sick as they sleep outside; prayer for the many who are grieving as they continue to search for loved ones or who have lost loved ones in the earthquake; prayer for the families and individuals who lost their sources of income in the earthquake; and pray that outbreaks of disease will be kept at bay with a weaken systems for medical care and sanitation.


Agua Fria

God's Word is full of images of being hungry or thirsty and finding satisfaction, of lacking and suddenly being full. Cheryce Berg writes about that longing and satisfaction, feasting if you will, found only in Jesus.

Agua Fria. Cold Water.  A misnomer if I ever saw one. The semi-desert canyon held no water, cold nor hot; in fact, dust devils chased each other down its sandy paths. I crossed it many times while visiting Arizona and tried hard to envision the rushing water that courses through it after a rare rainstorm. Everything bursts into bloom afterwards, the cactus flowers surprising you with colorIm told.  New life.

A metal drinking fountain on the side of the path. Meant for golfers, but a welcome sign for a runner not desert-savvy enough to carry water. I lapped up the agua fria like a dog, desperate to dispel the grainy dust from my tongue. My dragging feet were revived, my sun-spotted vision cleared, and I was ready for more miles on the path. New life.

Why do I take water for granted? Agua fria drips outside my window as I write, the cold raindrops blurring my view of the squirrel on the fence. My own cup of agua fria sits beside my keyboard. I have plenty.

At dinnertime, a few weeks earlier, I had asked my family what the Bible means to them in one word. We had just read Psalm 19: God’s precepts are gold and honey to David. “Wisdom,” “cool” and “interesting” were the responses of my boys. They are in the treasure-seeking stage of studying God’s Word.  “Comfort,” said my husband. He feels the weight of friends and family who suffer, and Scripture is a balm.

I had to think longer about my answer. Finally, while running that day in the desert, it was clear.  God’s Word to me is water. It is Agua Fria. Cold water. New life.

 When the poor and needy seek water,
and there is none,
and their tongue is parched with thirst,
I the Lord will answer them;
I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
Isaiah 41:17

I drink in his Word. It brings into bloom the parts of me that are dead. It revives my steps, clears my vision, gives me strength. It quenches my thirst. I have plenty.

 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.
 Matthew 5:6

What about my friends who are still thirsty? What about my beautiful hair stylist, my self-sufficient 92-year-old neighbor, my dear friend who watches our dog? Do they have Gods Word to quench their thirst? What am I doing to draw them to the Word himself—Jesus Christ?

 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:37-38

They hide their thirst, their parched tongues and weary feet.  But I carry living water in my heart. It can quench their thirst forever. New life. Agua Fria for the soul. How long will I wait to share it?

They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
the sun shall not strike them,
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water,

and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
Revelation 7:16-17

A Better Country

Suspended between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, Saturday is a good metaphor for how we live in the now and the not yet of our faith. The good news is that we live with the assurance that Jesus has prepared for us a city.

That is Megan's promise as she serves in a difficult country.

But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. There God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. Hebrews 11:16

Steve and Teri Pardue take heart that God is a God of all grace, even in suffering.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. I Peter 5:10

Fasting before Feasting

In some church traditions, Good Friday is a day of fasting and confession. It's a quiet, reflective day before the glorious abundance of Resurrection Sunday.

Today, reflect on these truths from God's Word . .  . and Easter is coming.

From Steve and Karis Rigby, who serve in Kenya, where terrorists killed close to 150 students and police at a university in the north east part of the country.

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel says, "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust in your strength. Isaiah 30:15a

From Josh and Kristi--the greatest truth of all.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1

Give Peace a Chance

The pace intensifies as Jesus enters the last few days of his life on earth. He eats his last Passover meal with his disciples and announces both a betrayal and a denial. The disciples' anxiety levels had probably reached an all-time high.

And then Jesus declares, "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me." (John 14:1) and promises to give them his peace, not the world's peace.

Jesus gives this same promise of peace today to troubled hearts and a troubled world.

A promise of perfect peace for Judy Frey
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26:3-4

A promise of strong support for Jim and Lynette Hatcher
. . . the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that he may strongly support those whose heart is completely his. 2 Chronicles 16:9a