Southern Seminary student leads relief work in native Nepal
When N.D. Lama first heard about the earthquake that struck his home country of Nepal in April, he immediately started thinking of ways he could help.
Lama, an M.A. student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and pastor of Asha Church in Louisville, teamed up with some of his friends in Nepal to raise $50,000 for initial relief work, more than half of which has already been distributed to provide food, clothes, and other basic needs for the Nepali people.
But that has only given Lama bigger aspirations. He soon learned that the April 25 earthquake, which killed over 8,000 people, had left Nepal’s capital of Kathmandu and many surrounding cities without running water. Most of the water in Kathmandu is run into the capital through pipes from outside the city, but those pipes broke during the earthquake. Finding clean, drinkable water has become a major problem throughout Nepal, something Lama’s friends told him needed to be resolved quickly.
“We are fearful that when they drink infected water, an epidemic may hit,” he said.
His mentor Todd Robertson, pastor of Louisville’s Antioch Church, encouraged Lama to look into WaterStep, which provides safe, clean water to communities worldwide.
WaterStep agreed to help, arranging for 100 water purifiers to be delivered to villages in seven different regions of Nepal. WaterStep will soon send volunteers to train a few people from each community to use the purifying units, in the hope that each village will be able to run the machine for itself. The units can provide as much as 38,000 liters of water per day.
Lama is arranging for his friends to accommodate the WaterStep volunteers in Nepal, and believes that providing safe, clean water will have the secondary effect of allowing health workers to focus on other pressing issues.
“When you are able to prevent people from getting more sick that means you are saving more energy to serve other victims,” he said. “When these people get sick, the situation gets worse.”
Since many Nepali people are without homes, Lama plans to help build houses throughout Nepal before the country’s summer monsoon season begins. He hopes to build at least 100 houses before June.
Lama moved to the United States in 2011 to receive Bible training. After he finishes his degree program at Southern, Lama will return to his home country with the ambition to found 1,500 Christian elementary schools and 400 churches in Nepal before 2045.
Lama’s family lives in the northeast region of Nepal, where they felt the earthquake but without the devastating effects as in the capital of Kathmandu, he said. His friends in Kathmandu, however, have seen their houses destroyed and members of their churches killed.
“I feel a lot of pain. It doesn’t make sense sometimes, but still I believe in God,” Lama said. “Even though I don’t understand, I believe God is in charge. Even though I don’t feel it, I believe it and trust in it.”
For information on how to give to WaterStep’s project in Nepal, visit waterstep.org/projects/nepal/.