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Rebuilding Ministry After the Nepal Earthquake

Summary: In April of 2015, a devastating earthquake left thousands dead, and affected 40 percent of Nepal's population in some way. Grace Chapel took a special offering to help, and donated the funds to support urgent relief needs and long-term rebuilding. This is an update on the progress being made.

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On April 25, 2015, Nepal suffered its worst earthquake in over 80 years. Nepal is one of the most materially poor nations in South Asia. The damage done by the quake will put a strain on its citizens for many years. 8,700 people were killed. 22,000 people injured. Approximately 8 million people or 40% of Nepal’s citizens were affected—many left homeless as entire villages were flattened.

Immediately following the earthquake, Grace Chapel took a special offering, and donated funds  to support urgent relief efforts. Here are some of the ways those funds were put to use:

  • Delivery of emergency hygiene kits to 8,480 families (approximately 42,400 people)
  • With local partners, local facilitators worked with communities to construct 3,653 temporary toilets.,.
  • Dissemination of hygiene awareness and disease prevention materials to 8,480 families that were at risk to disease due to post-earthquake challenges.
  • 8,480 families provided with water purification information to ensure access to clean drinking water. Additionally, 25 water supply systems disrupted by the earthquake were rehabilitated.

Yet all of this is just the beginning. Funding immediate relief efforts is critical, but it’s only the first step towards long-term, sustainable development. This rebuilding work often receives far less support than responding to the immediate crisis, but is no less urgent. We recognize this challenge, and strategically provided funding via our Nepali ministry partner, pastor Samuel Bomzon to sustain the long-term development work that needs to be done.

 Pastor Bhim Tamang

Through pastor Samuel’s network of indigenous churches, Grace Chapel provided funds in FY16 to help rebuild some of the many local church buildings in remote villages that were destroyed by the earthquake. These modest church structures are in varying stages of construction, from foundation to roofing, but steady progress is being made. To help pastor Samuel and his team travel and bring building supplies to these remote locations, our funding also helped to provide a four-wheel drive vehicle.

Four-wheel drive vehicle to support sustainable development and church rebuilding in Nepal

Please continue to pray for our partners in Nepal that they would not grow weary in their well-doing and that the people of Nepal would find true hope and freedom through life transformation in Christ.

Syrian Refugee Crisis Response: Progress Update

Summary: This past Christmas Eve, we took a special offering to provide aid and support for the Syrian people displaced by war and conflict. Thanks to the generosity of our congregation, we were able to provide a timely and generous financial gift to our partner, World Relief, for their work in ministering to those affected by the crisis. This blog post provide an update on the progress being made in providing relief and development for the Syrian people.

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Grace Chapel partners with missionaries and organizations in Greater Boston and around the world. Our partners are engaged in student ministries, community and economic development, Bible translation, as well as coming alongside folks who have made some poor choices with their lives and are seeking to know personally the redemptive work and power of Jesus. Our partners minister across cultures with faith-filled courage and conviction in many difficult places, bringing the love and hope of Christ to a needy and broken world.

On Christmas Eve in 2015, we collected funds to provide aid and support for the Syrian people displaced by war and conflict. 11.6 million people have fled the violence in Syria – three times the population of New Zealand. Every day, around 5,000 people, mainly women and children, flee their homes. Four million are being sheltered in neighboring countries in the Middle East. Syria’s civil war has been called the worst humanitarian crisis of our time.

Thanks to our congrgation's support, we were able to provide a timely and generous financial gift to our partner, World Relief, supporting their work helping those displaced and affected by the current crisis in the Middle East. It offers great insight into the progress being made in providing relief and development for the Syrian people.

World Relief and Grace Chapel: Making a Difference

World Relief and Grace Chapel share a rich history of partnership, with Grace Chapel supporting numerous ministries of World Relief around the world. World Relief is so grateful that in a time when the world is facing an unprecedented refugee crisis that Grace Chapel would stand together with us to empower the Church to respond. Grace Chapel’s generous gifts are supporting projects and ministries in areas such as Jordan and Northern Iraq, which include the following:

Jordan

In Jordan, World Relief is ministering through various projects, including the following.

Church Medical Clinic
World Relief is partnering with a medical clinic operated by a local church. The church clinic is open from 3-7pm every day of the working week, and is staffed by Jordanian Christian health professionals who generously serve after their regular day jobs are finished. On average, the clinic serves over 200 patients a  month, with the majority of these being Syrian refugees. Some 70% of those served by the clinic are  children. The clinic offers primary care services and is able to give some medicines at low to no-cost to  patients. They have also carried out some minor surgeries. The staff of the clinic are all believers and the  clinic is viewed as a ministry of the church. There is a strong emphasis on spending time with patients and praying with them as possible during their visit. Additionally, there is a team that visits the homes of those who have come to the clinic for further relational follow up and sharing in their home. World Relief is now supplying cash assistance to this clinic for patients that are needing labs, special medicines, and, in certain  cases, surgeries which the primary clinic is not able to provide.

Safe Spaces
These are spaces where children can safely play, receive basic education, process the trauma that they have suffered, and experience the love of Jesus through staff and volunteers.  Where these Safe Spaces are in place we are seeing children’s lives transformed. With 11 partner agencies World Relief is  currently operating 15 Safe Spaces. Training is currently underway for new volunteers, and more Safe Spaces will be opening in the near future. In several Safe Space locations there are also groups for mothers that are run simultaneously.

Plans are also underway to introduce a Cash Assistance Program for vulnerable households on a monthly basis for a period of six months. Implementation is expected beginning in July 2016.

Syrian refugee kids - safe space

Northern Iraq

In Northern Iraq World Relief is helping vulnerable displaced families, particularly women and children, to meet their immediate needs and rebuild a sense of normalcy as they heal from past experiences and adapt to life in displacement. In response to the growing needs of displaced families in Iraq, World Relief continues to respond with sustainable programming targeting the needs of whole families, with distinct emphasis on women and children. Our project is meeting basic material needs of communities through the distribution of cash and non-food items (NFIs). World Relief is targeting hidden communities that have been neglected by other aid agencies; this includes mobilizing distributions in difficult to reach and under-served areas, focusing on communities outside of official displacement camps, where they face multiple vulnerabilities.

In addition to meeting the immediate needs of displaced communities, World Relief is also implementing longer term programming that will meet the psychosocial needs of displaced women and children. World Relief and a local partner have opened centers for women and children in three displaced communities. These communities are not living in formal camps, but rather informal tent settlements, often set up along the side of the road or in unfinished buildings. There are two main components of each center: Safe Spaces and Psychosocial Counseling for Women. These centers are promoting a return to normal childhood activities and support affected women as they begin the journey towards healing and positive recovery.

Thank you, Grace Chapel! 

We are at a pivotal point in history. Great numbers of people who have historically had little to no access to the Gospel are moving into places with abundant Gospel access. The Church has an unprecedented opportunity to share the love of Christ in word and in deed: welcoming the stranger, caring for the suffering, and serving the most vulnerable. While World Relief has been empowering churches for this kind of work for over 70 years, church empowerment in the Middle East gives rise to new challenges and opportunities. Therefore, World Relief is grateful to be able to partner with US churches, such as Grace Chapel, who are also called to serve those affected by the current crisis. Together a real difference can be made in the Middle East.
We are incredibly grateful to continue our significant relationship with Grace Chapel and pray that God will guide and deepen our relationship as we serve together for the growth God’s Kingdom and the Church in the Middle East.

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