Beyond the Destruction: This Is What I Remember About Nepal

1 - Church Family copy

Pariwaar is the Nepali word for family. Meet my family.

My name is Mollie Ah Sing, and I grew up as a Nazarene pastor’s kid in Hawaii. As an International Peace Studies Major at Point Loma Nazarene University, I got the chance to study abroad in Nepal and learn firsthand about development and social change. I returned from Nepal enamored with the country, the dusty yet beautiful city of Kathmandu, and especially the people I met — the people who became my friends and family.

A couple of Saturday mornings ago I woke up to a barrage of text and Facebook messages. In a daze the realization set in that something catastrophic had taken place as I was wandering in and out of dreams. I quickly found myself hoping I was in a nightmare and that I would soon wake up. But this nightmare was all too real.

On April 25, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake decimated the country of Nepal from the Terai plain lands to the peaks of the Himalayas.

My heart ached and continues to ache for those I came to consider family during my three months living in Kathmandu. As I’ve reflected on the disaster in Nepal, the deep sense of family penetrates my thoughts and feelings. It was this sense of family that brings both pain and hope when I watch from afar as those in Nepal begin to walk the long road of restoration in the midst of devastation.

Before I ever went to Nepal, a series of wonderful connections led to my mom and dad sharing a meal with Pastor Dilli, the district superintendent for the Church of the Nazarene in Nepal, when he was visiting the United States for a few meetings. A couple of weeks into my time in Nepal, I walked back to my homestay family’s house after class to find Pastor Dilli sitting with my Baa (father) drinking chiya and chatting in our living room.

2 - Pastor Dili and Aamaa copy

Here I am with Pastor Dilli and his wife, Aamaa.

Soon enough, I found myself getting picked up by Pastor Dilli one afternoon. He taught me how to navigate Nepali public transportation (a difficult feat, I promise) and took me to his home just outside the city. I walked in completely unprepared for the hospitality I would be shown. They set up an entire room for me and stuffed me full of food. They invited me to church, then stuffed me full of food again. They stumbled through broken Nepali conversations with me and showered me with smiles and laughter. They took me shopping for gifts for my family back home and gifted me with a Pashmina scarf to remember them by.

In my short time spent with this Nazarene family in Nepal, it was the eagerness with which they invited me in that stopped me in my tracks. Most vividly I remember one conversation with a man from Pastor Dilli’s home church. It was the second time I had met him, and we were chatting after church. Just before I was about to leave to head back into the city, he tapped me on the shoulder and told me that I must return. He told me that I was now his daughter because we were family in Christ. He told me that I had to come back and talk to him because now that he was my family, he had advice to give me.

The Nazarenes in Nepal know how to be family.

3 - Church 2 copy
4 - Home Church Lords Prayer Nepali copy

As the days go by and the death toll in Nepal continues to rise, I continue to pray that the spirit of family shown to me through the church there would empower them in this time of crisis and hardship. While stories from Nepal are already losing their place of urgency in the news, know that the Nepali people are only at the very beginning of reconstructing their lives and their country. In the thick of it, Pastor Dilli and our church family are deep in the middle of responding to the crisis and serving their communities.

Know that even though Nepal is far away, the family there is always close to us.

5 - View From Home

Pastor Dilli showing me the view from his home.

To learn more about or to support the church’s response in Nepal: