Pastor Tej and Elaine Fallesen during worship at his Kathmandu church in March. (Photo by Leanne Bohn/Mission: Nepal 2015)
By Gary Fallesen
Founding president, Climbing For Christ
Worship was nearly over at the main SARA church in Kathmandu on Saturday, April 25 when the lights went out and the pulpit fell away from Pastor Tej Rokka. “I did not know what to do because the hall was full of people of all ages and I wanted to run out and save myself, but I saw my flock crying without help,” Tej said on Monday – about 60 hours after a magnitude-7.8 earthquake changed life in Nepal.
“I shouted to ‘move out, move out,’ and finally we brought all out and saved all. By God’s grace, no one was injured. But everyone became so scared and were trying to call their loved ones. But there was no way due to the network being disconnected.
“The storm began to hit and in a few minutes, before our eyes, ambulances and taxis and any kind of vehicle rushed to here and there. In the twinkle of our eyes, 71 believers (in a nearby church) went to be with the Lord.”
This is the chaos that engulfed Kathmandu and surrounding areas in the wake of the biggest earthquake to strike Nepal in 80 years.
“Our children at the orphanage were crying and it was so dark a situation and after big hit there were several shocks in every half hour,” Tej said about the SARA (Savior Alone Redeems Asians) orphanage that is supported by Climbing For Christ. The orphanage is located outside of Kathmandu, but structural and psychological damage was experienced in this horrific quake.
“It was first time in my life for such a terrible experience,” said Tej, who has been a C4C member since 2009 and has partnered with Climbing For Christ since 2011. “Still my heart is terrifying. You might have been reading and watching all the updates and data of the disaster. Let me explain about us, SARA and people connected with us:
“By God's grace me, Bidhya (Tej’s wife), and our believers in the local church, including children at orphanage, are safe physically. No injured except relatives in my wife's side and some believers’ families. My wife's family are badly affected. A sister-in-law died and yesterday (Sunday) we went to cremate her. Others are in hospitals and we don't know many of them, which hospitals they are, and my wife Bidhya is so sad. Please pray for her. We are not able to talk to our son, Milan, who is in school in India. I just heard that today again another shock took place in east Nepal and no network connection so we are just putting this to God's hand. We tried to contact our pastors in that area and our son's school, but no way.
“Another place called Nuwakot is the same. Some of our children's relatives are completely affected and destroyed their houses, and we are still trying to get other information. Several believers are out of contact now. Today we brought about 30 believers to church and feed them because since Saturday they had no food. We also gave them some blankets as they are staying open air. There are many NGOs (non-governmental organizations), INGOs (international non-governmental organizations) even governments trying to help people, but in big crowds many people are left without help.
“There is also grand design of rumor that some fanatic groups are saying because of Christian this happened. Their view is we polluted their religion and their gods are angry to bring such curse. So we need more prayer in such a time as this. Pray that people may have the right attitudes.”
Tej made early estimates of the needs within the C4C circle, including:
- Repairs to the orphanage home: “The earthquake hit badly, though our children are safe because it was a worship day and they were brought to church. The building is still standing, but all outside and inside the rooms are cracked, and at any time walls or bricks may fall on the children so it looks like a high risk. The children don’t want to go inside and they are so fearful. The children are now eating outside – mostly dry food – and there is a shortage of drinking water. They are living under plastic cover. It is strange that there is rain now because it is not the monsoon season. They need immediate help.” To rebuild the orphanage may cost US$15,000. Additionally, up to 45 children in SARA’s care need food, shelter, counseling, and more – estimated to cost another US$5,000. “I strongly appeal to you that you may contribute to this area of need.”
- Repairs to SARA churches: “We have 40 churches in Nepal under SARA ministries. Church which are in the mountains, including the main church in Kathmandu, were affected. There are 10 churches we have to repair – some of them just ceilings, some just walls, some Sunday schools.” Cost: US$10,000. “Kindly pray and consider taking vital part in this need.”
- Repairs to believers’ homes: “Most of our believers live on their daily wages. Now it is almost four days and they have no work. There are no jobs, and we don’t know how many days this will go on. Many of their houses and rooms are destroyed and now they are also under the open sky. Other organizations are trying to help in mass and will not reach everyone. It is a terrible situation. I have asked my disciples to collect all information and we already began to give some help, like blankets. But the needs are so great.” Cost: US$15,000. “Please pray for this need.”
- Repairs for others in the community: “Thousands of people have lost loved ones, house, and properties. People have called me and made an appeal for a meal and water. But I have no answer right now, except telling them a few words of comfort.” This is an opportunity for the church to shine HIS love in the community. Starting cost: US$10,000. “Please pray for this project.”
Tej also covets prayer for his wife, Bidhya, and son, Milan; the children in the orphanage; students in SARA’s Bible School; and that “the people of Nepal, the government, and churches can work together to overcome this battle.”
He sends his thanks to all who have reached out to him and SARA ministries during this difficult ordeal.
To support C4C-related clean-up in and around Kathmandu, send donations to Climbing For Christ, c/o Nepal Earthquake Relief, P.O. Box 16290, Rochester, NY 14616-0290. Or CLICK HERE and give online via PayPal. Follow up your PayPal donation with an email to info@ClimbingForChrist.org stating that the gift is intended for earthquake relief.
In Canada, donations also are tax-deductible. Make checks payable to The Great Commission Foundation, and on the memo line add Climbing For Christ CANADA. Mail your support to: The Great Commission Foundation, #3 – 1335 Trans Canada Way SE, Medicine Hat, AB T1B 1J1. Or give online at http://tgcfcanada.org/donate. Mark your contribution: “Climbing For Christ CANADA c/o Nepal Earthquake Relief.”