by Robin Nafziger, Vincent Mennonite Church
How extraordinary–or dare we say miraculous?–is it that two people called to serve God on different continents, separated by almost 8,000 miles and twelve time zones, are both supported by Vincent Mennonite Church, and brought together to help one another and the people of Nepal after the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake first struck the region on April 25, 2015. As the aftershocks rise to a magnitude 7.3 quake this past Tuesday, God reminds us He is moving amidst the shaking mountains making connections for His children.
Years ago, God had put in motion His plan to bring aid and comfort to the people of Nepal living in fear with the aftermath and aftershocks from the earthquake. Following God’s call to serve in Nepal many years ago, Dale Nafziger now resides in Kathmandu, the capital city, where he and his family witnessed and experienced the panic of this natural disaster very personally. Meanwhile, halfway around the world in Las Vegas, Nevada, Dave Mansfield followed God’s call to serve over a decade ago and remains in leadership at the YWAM base located there while also serving and leading with RescueNet, an all-volunteer international disaster response team. With approximately 90 volunteers from 16 countries, RescueNet has the capability to deploy a team to the site of a disaster within 24 hours of a request for aid.
Shortly after the earthquake struck Nepal, RescueNet was preparing to assemble a team of responders who were waiting to deploy once help was requested. As Dave Mansfield prepared the way for his team, one of the first calls he made was to Dale Nafziger, a fellow follower of Christ with ties to the same home congregation.
Through this connection, Dale Nafziger and his wife Beth were able to offer a location to Dave and his 16-member RescueNet team at Top of the World Coffee Shop in Kathmandu, which is owned and operated by the Nafzigers. The shop offered a place for the RescueNet team to store equipment, and organize their medics and children’s aid workers before sending them out to the heavily-damaged neighboring villages. Top of the World Coffee Shop also provided an opportunity for the RescueNet team to connect with Dale, Beth and locals seeking refuge and a sense of normalcy. Dale and Beth also gave the team access to people familiar with the language, the area, and the customs in order to allow them to accomplish as much as they could under difficult circumstances. In addition, Beth, a nurse, was able to provide contacts in the Nepal Christian Medical and Dental Association as well.
It is a monumental task to organize the right people, plan logistics and prepare the appropriate equipment to travel thousands of miles to an unfamiliar land to serve people you may not understand. Yet, God’s miraculous design allowed Dave and Dale to come together in Nepal at the time of the earthquake to support and encourage each other as they assist God’s children in a time of need, comforting the people of Nepal, building on the common bond of congregation, and the call of God.
Please continue to pray for the people of Nepal as they continue to recover from the original earthquake and repeated devastating aftershocks.