Be Not Afraid: Strength in the Aftermath
Editor’s Note: Missioner Cindy Mizes reflects on the Nepalese earthquake in 2015 and how she was able to move past her fear for her own security in order to serve and assist in the relief efforts.
When I read the headlines on April 25, 2015, describing the major earthquake that struck Nepal, fear immediately welled up inside me.
My son Michael and I had planned a two week trekking adventure near Nepal, in the Mount Everest region. However, I soon learned that the earthquake triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, flattening many villages in the regions near Everest and leaving thousands homeless. In the end, approximately 9,000 were killed from the earthquake with over 22,000 injured.
Despite grim reports from the media and ever-increasing numbers of reported deaths, Michael and I decided to go forward with our plans to travel to Nepal, but with one slight change – our purpose would be to assist with the earthquake relief in whatever way we could. In the days that followed, I would have some lingering doubts about our decision.
On May 12, while in route to Nepal, a major aftershock hit the area, causing even more serious devastation and triggering thousands of landslides. My trepidation and uncertainty about this trip continued to plague me, but this trip had become our mission.
Before our plane landed in Kathmandu (capital city of Nepal), I wrote in my journal: “Lord, I put my faith and trust in you and you alone, even if it means giving my life, for there is no greater gift than to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.”
It was then that I realized it was all in God’s hands now, and this thought alone gave me comfort and courage.
We spent three incredible weeks in Nepal assisting as we could in the earthquake relief efforts, mainly through a ministry of presence. While there, we witnessed extreme poverty, devastation, and the grief of the Nepalese people. But we also witnessed the unfettered faith and incredible resilience of a community that worked together to rebuild homes and lives. Hindu, Buddhists, and Christians – they shared the same struggles, sorrows, and hopes.
At Ghat, the small village near Everest where we stayed, we visited some of the villagers who were living in makeshift shacks, brought them tarps for protection, and helped clear a walking path that was buried by a landslide. We also shared stories and laughter, broke bread together, drank chai, and munched on butter crackers together. Before leaving, we threw a party for the villagers where we celebrated our newfound friendships and blessings.
Had I allowed my fears to take over and not placed my faith and trust in God, this transformative experience would have never happened, and I would not be the person I am today.
After returning to the US, God placed on my heart this idea of becoming an overseas missioner. While on this new journey, I will likely experience new challenges, struggles, and doubts, but, similar to my experience in Nepal, I will also be witness to incredible stories of survival which will strengthen and inspire me.
And I am assured that in the midst of uncertainty and trepidation, God will always be with me, giving me the strength and courage to face my fears and be transformed by his everlasting light.
Reflection Question: how can you celebrate a time in the past you moved past fear and experienced strength, and be inspired to grow deeper in trust for the future?