Editor's note: one year has passed since a serious earthquake affected Nepal and reconstruction of the destroyed area is underway. Now in this area, the construction of Bethel Assembly Church has completed with the aid of the Amity Foundation and the Jiangsu Christian Charitable Foundation. On Apr. 13, an inauguration ceremony was held. It is the first project which the Jiangsu Christian Charitable Foundation supported.
Located in a community in Bhaktapur County, the new church provides not only a place for Christians to worship God, but also a playroom for kids in the community.
In order to learn more about the Amity Foundation and the Jiangsu Christian Charitable Foundation's aid program, an interview to Ms. Du Ying from the Amity Foundation, the leader of this project has been made by CCD. During the interview, MS. Du Ying told CCD about the situation of the church before construction, how the Jiangsu Christian Charitable Foundation and the Amity Foundation supported the construction of the church, some impressive stories in the construction process and the significance of this overseas project.
CCD: Hello Ms. Du! I have read a report about the Amity Foundation and the Jiangsu Christian Charitable Foundation's aid program of constructing a church in the earthquake-affected area in Nepal. It's said that it is the first overseas project the Amity Foundation has ever taken part in. Would you please briefly tell us about the situation of this church?
Du Ying: Bethel Assembly Church is situated in Madhyapur Thimi Community, Bhaktapur County. There are about 450 Christians in the community, 150 to 200 of whom are regular members of the church.
Before the earthquake, the church actually used a rented basement of a five- storey building as its assembly place, which was able to accommodate only about 100 people. The place was crowded when believers assembled.
The building was damaged in the earthquake to some extent. Since the basement was thought to be no more a safe place, many church members did not want to go back there any more and only 50 members remained in the church. Minister Mkanda of the church started to seek for a safe place for church members to assemble without worries about security problems.
CCD: How did the Amity Foundation and Jiangsu Christian Charitable Foundation support the construction of the church?
Du Ying: After hearing the news about the earthquake in Nepal, the Amity Foundation immediately sent an emergency rescue team to Nepal to join the relief work. It also worked closely with the Transformation Nepal (TFN), a development organization launched by local churches, to help earthquake-affected people in Nepal.
During the process of cooperating with TFN, the Amity Foundation paid special attention to the development of the church and its' damage in the earthquake. When learning that the church's rented assembly place was damaged, the number of its regular members dropped sharply and the church was weakened, the Amity Foundation determined to collect donations through the Jiangsu Christian Charitable Foundation. With love and strength from Chinese Christians and churches, it aimed to help Nepali brothers and sisters bridge over their difficulties. Chinese Christians responded to the Amity Foundation's appealing very quickly and the Amity Foundation was selected as the governing body for the construction of the church.
Then, the Amity Foundation and churches in Nepal reached an agreement on the location of the church, a detailed design scheme, a construction budget and the construction cycle. They also signed an agreement to guarantee that each task in the process of construction was carried out as required. Even during the crisis of fuel oil the construction did not stop. With the efforts of all parties, the church launched on Apr. 13, 2016, just the New Year's Day of Nepal. Church members sang and danced joyously to celebrate the happy event.
CCD: Now a year has passed since the earthquake hit Nepal and it took a long time to construct the church with the aid of Amity Foundation. As a person in charge of the project, would you please tell us some impressive stories happened during the construction process?
Du Ying: In the second week after the earthquake, Minister Mkanda invited us to join the church's worship, where we met a volunteer working as a drummer and singer in the church. He lived in Madhyapur Thimi community. He told us that he loved the atmosphere of worship very much and felt very happy that people liked his singing and were often comforted by his singing.
"In spite of continuous aftershocks, we stick fast to our posts as long as brothers and sisters attend the worship. Although many believers don't dare to come to this basement due to aftershocks, I still believe we will make it through." I saw he played his drum earnestly and thought that as a volunteer in the church, he cherished the chance of serving everyone and was willing to reduce the damages to the church caused by the earthquake with his own efforts.
At the day of project completion, I met him again. He still did his best to serve everyone, but this time he was in the spacious and bright new church instead of that basement. We felt that through our help, they were really been supported and encouraged.
Du Ying: I think the project is a beautiful witness of Jesus Christ's teachings.
First, love transcends national boundaries. Through this sacred work, Chinese Christians and Nepali Christians have got a chance to pray for each other and remember each other.
Second, the project has improved charitable and nonprofit foundations' ability of launching overseas projects. While guaranteeing the smooth process of the project, we must respect local customers and traditions. We have accumulated precious relative experiences.
Finally, the project has promoted the exchanges between the two countries' Christian communities. We have established a closely relationship with Nepali churches during the process of cooperation and had some insight into the characteristics of church development in Nepal. We have also invited Nepali ministers to come to China to learn more about Chinese culture and the development of Chinese churches.
Translated by: Jasimine HE