The Power of a Simple Gift in Nepal
By Laurent Trabadello, Regional Director, Samaritan's Purse
Samaritan’s Purse is bringing relief assistance to the country of Nepal, following the devastating earthquakes that hit the region in April and May of 2015. I had the privilege of serving on our DART (Disaster Assistance Response Team) in the Nuwakot district, where many villages experienced large scale devastation. Our team organized distributions of essential relief items such as plastic tarps, kitchen sets, blankets, water containers and chlorine tablets in some of the most severely affected communities like Phalante.
That day, the distribution was taking place in one of the town’s schools with the help of local Christians. Members of the church’s youth group were assisting the elderly, carrying their relief items for them. I was impressed. I spoke with Tom* to find out more about my Nepalese brothers and sisters. I introduced myself, and when I said I worked for Samaritan’s Purse there was a big smile on his face. He seemed to know the name. As I enquired further, he explained that when he was fourteen years old, he had received a gift from Operation Christmas Child (OCC). I was blown away. Here I was in the middle of rural Nepal, distributing relief items with the help of a young man who had received a shoebox gift himself.
As I asked Tom to tell me more about himself, I was once more reminded of the impact a small gift packed with love can have. Tom was born in a very poor family. At age seven, he was sent to Kathmandu and had the unique privilege of going to school, thanks to the support of a Christian organization. At fourteen, the OCC gift he received prompted him to further seek to understand the love that motivates someone to give sacrificially. In that process, he realized how Jesus had given His life to save him and became a Christ follower. He was baptized on the sixth day of the eleventh month of 2071—no, that’s not a typo; that’s the date of this important life-changing event according to the Nepalese calendar!
I was impressed and humbled by Tom’s servant heart and attitude. He is a youth leader and teaches computer science at a local school, all while looking forward to graduate from grade twelve. He speaks very good English and wants to study Business Administration. But his heart’s desire is to bless others as he himself has been blessed. When he looks back at his childhood, Tom says that Jesus was looking after him. Now he wants to care for others and share the hope that he himself received. There are many people without hope in his country, especially in this trying time. But when I look at Tom, I know that God is at work, pursuing hearts and changing lives, and that He can begin this work through the power of a simple gift.
*Name has been changed to protect his identity.