Thursday, June 29, 2017

Perseverance in the Langtang Valley

Langtang valley, Nepal

The Langtang Valley remains buried in rubble from the April 2015 earthquake.

A Nepali village destroyed by an earthquake works with Samaritan’s Purse to rebuild their home

As I walked over the remains of the avalanche that destroyed the entire Langtang village, an eeriness ran through my bones. I realized that I was essentially walking over a mass grave. The daunting rock face, over which the thundering avalanche came crashing down, marked the background of this walk.

Indescribably beautiful snow-capped mountains, a wildly flowing river with crystal clear water, and structures depicting traditional architecture steeped in core beliefs juxtapose the grave reality of what happened here on April 25, 2015.

Langtang valley, Nepal

Samaritan’s Purse worked to help the people of Langtang rebuild their home.

As I spent time in Langtang, my gaze shifted from looking at nature’s majestic presence to the most beautiful part of the valley—its people. This is their home. This is where they find a sense of belonging and where their identities have been shaped. I soon realized that Langtang isn’t an experience. It’s a community. And Samaritan’s Purse is coming alongside this community to help rebuild their home in every sense of the word.

The perseverance of the Langtang community to surge forward in restoring their home is inspiring. Yes, there is much sorrow and pain that resides in the hearts of the people of Langtang. It will probably never go away. There is a permanent reminder of their loved ones’ deaths in the remains of the avalanche that they must wake up to every day. The graveyard of their family members isn’t some compound that they visit once a year. It’s part of their homes. I can’t process what that must feel like.

But the people of Langtang aren’t just enduring this reality. They take inspiration from the desire to honor their loved ones and display full ownership of restoring their home. A great unity within the community is evident from their willingness to share personal as well as natural resources that exist all along the Langtang valley in order to help empower each other, especially the most vulnerable—children, people with disabilities, and the elderly.

The character of the people of Langtang is grounded in a community-centered, not self-centered, hope. This strong character of the people of Langtang is what makes them so proactive in their endeavor to not just rebuild but to restore. It has resulted in a hope that is not passively expectant but actively pursued.

I feel privileged to have been so warmly and genuinely accepted into this community not just as a guest but as a participant in the restoration of their home.

“ …  but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3b-4, NKJV).

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