How do you respond when a 7.3 magnitude earthquake shakes the ground under your feet? World Racer William Stupansky of 2015 P Squad shares a real and honest excerpt from his journal describing what he saw, heard, and felt on May 12, 2015 in Nepal.
Wednesday, May 13th, 2015, Sindupalchok, Nepal
Yesterday, the earth shook; literally.
One minute, I was talking with Mason on the side of this small Nepali mountain village; the next, we were holding each other up, not sure what to do.
Having felt several small quakes in the days prior, casually cast aside as aftershocks of the big one on April 25th (though still unnerving to be honest), I knew there was something different about this one: it was bigger; it was stronger. It was a full blown earthquake.
As I looked out over the countryside and at neighboring villages, it looked as though the mountainside had been littered with an array of bombs. Smoke and dust billowed from the ashes of buildings which had fought valiantly against the first quake, but succumbed to this evil follow up.
“No chance,” I thought to myself. The people in those structures had no chance. No chance to escape. No chance to scream. No chance to live.
Screams and cries rent the air. It was nightmarish; it was surreal; it was horrific. It was real life.
Myself and a few of the others raced down the mountain towards the screams, drawing on God’s strength to carry us through the feelings of fear and doubt. From house to house we raced, expecting to see devastation and people in need; yet everyone seemed to be okay.
Our squad leader, Dustin Mick, soon caught up to us, telling us to turn back and pack up camp. We sprinted back and packed our things, still not fully comprehending the magnitude of the situation. Tremors continued to rock the earth as we moved deliberately to “safe ground.”
There was no time to think; no time to process; only time to do.
Upon reaching the top of the mountain, we received our next, truly gut-wrenching charge. A nearby village had been hit hard – 100 hurt, 2 confirmed dead, several missing. They needed help – and after the fastest 10 km hike of my life, we were there.
As I walked toward the impending devastation, the fear set in. Was I prepared to see people hurt? Was I prepared to see the broken tears of those with loved-ones lost? Was I prepared to pull a lifeless body from the rubble? I expected chaos. I expected mass hysteria.
I found silence.
There were no screams of terror. There were no people crying. There was nobody, it seemed, except for the occasional police officer, warning us about the instability of the scene.
We passed crumbled buildings, then a hotel that we knew for sure had collapsed that day, yet not a soul moved about the rubble; “No use,” they said, “everyone is dead.” We continued until finally reaching a pile of rumble where some of our squadmates were hurriedly sorting through the remains of a fallen house.
They were searching for a mother and her two children, who were spotted underneath the fallen house immediately preceding the quake.
But to no avail.
Although I didn’t hear it, a few of my friends heard the cry of a baby underneath the pile of rubble, at which point the police in the area immediately took over. We gathered our group and headed back to the safety of our tents atop the mountain, never knowing the fate of that cry, or his mother and brother.
I took one last, long look at the devastation of the day, and felt the overwhelming helplessness and hopelessness that inevitably accompanies a disaster.
I couldn’t do anything.
I can’t do anything.
End of journal entry.
If you would have told me a year ago, as I sat in a pit of despair and self-pity, that I would be in Nepal, serving our Lord Jesus Christ and bringing the light of His conquering resurrection to a recently devastated nation in desperate need of love, I would have told you that you were crazy.
And I trust even in this moment as I sit and write, simply waiting for the ground to move beneath my feet again, that God has a plan that is eternally glorious. He makes beauty from the ashes.
I do not understand God’s ways. But I believe that He is good, all the time. And “I trust that, all things work together for good, for those who love God, who live according to His purpose.”
Pray for the people of Nepal. Pray for my squad and myself as we face the trials and temptations of the evil in this world.
Praise God no matter what. He is victorious. He is glorious. He is good. He loves you. And so do I. God bless you.