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Do I Help or Stay Safe?

Our team of World Racers were scheduled to fly from India to Nepal and missed the earthquake by a day. World Race staff and parents were relieved – they were safe!  But then came the news from our partners – people were in desperate need of help. And we had a decision to make. Do we …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Our team of World Racers were scheduled to fly from India to Nepal and missed the earthquake by a day. World Race staff and parents were relieved – they were safe! 

But then came the news from our partners – people were in desperate need of help. And we had a decision to make. Do we hang onto safety or do we venture into a dangerous place in an effort to help?

We put it to the racers. WWJD? What would Jesus do indeed? 

Their answer? “Let’s go!”

They flew to Kathmandu and drove up a narrow one-land road into the Himalayas near Mount Everest to help those who’d not received help yet.

In the morning, they hiked down the side of the mountain and pitched their tents on a terrace. They spent the morning working and suddenly, the earth began to rumble and sway. Perched high on a mountain, they were near the epicenter of a 7.4 earthquake.

Emily Trudell described it: “I have never seen the ground shake the way that it did that day. I have also never seen dust come up from the village down below from collapsing houses and screams coming from bellow.”

Sally Zylstra gave this perspective:

The dust clouds grew and widen and the screams continued to shake my core and turn my insides.

A squad mate, near by me, fell to her knees and began to weep and sob. I wanted to do the exact same thing, but my body wouldn’t let me. I listened to the screams and stood looking out, taking me deeper into the reality that people are currently buried under the rubble.

William Stupansky filed this report:

Screams and cries could be heard from below. It was nightmarish; it was surreal; but it was real life.

We had to do something. Myself and a few of the others raced down the mountain towards the screams.

A nearby village had been hit hard – 100 hurt, 2 confirmed dead, several missing. They needed help.

As I walked toward the impending devastation, the fear truly set in. Am I prepared to see people hurt? Am I prepared to see the broken tears of those with loved-ones lost? Am I prepared to pull a lifeless body from the rubble? 

We passed a hotel that we knew for sure had collapsed that day, yet not a soul moved about the rumble; “No use,” they said, “everyone is dead.”

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 the scene. 

How do you process all this? What is the prudent response? What is the Christian response?

Crystal Avery saw the response:

Christians from around the world have joined together for relief efforts. The group of Koreans from the Red Cross were Christians. I meet a group from a church in India that were Christians. Another group from Russia and Japan that were Christians were being sent into another village for relief work.

Jennie McMullen summed up what God is doing in the hearts of the racers, “I am sickened by my own wealth and selfishness. I am deeply bothered that I was the one that got to leave, and they fear for their lives daily. They have to stay. Their world has literally crumbled, and my world is still in one piece.”

She’s grasped the tension God wants to live us in. Our lives are comfortable, yet the world’s pain cries out to us. We can’t be complacent. God is deeply bothered by the world’s pain. We’re told he’s “not willing that any should perish.” Shouldn’t we be bothered too?

Is there a cost to responding? Absolutely. We may find the world shifting under our feet. And then what?

In that place of chaos and pain, he wants us to experience his peace and power. We were not called to comfort, but to follow a Lord who hurried from village to village, touching those who reached out to him.

He’s continuing to touch the world as we choose to abandon our safety and follow him. His question to us is, “What motivates you more, your comfort or the world’s need?”

Comments (20)

  • “Is there a cost to responding? Absolutely. We may find the world shifting under our feet.”

    Good word.

    Reminds me of all those who came with Adventures to Haiti to serve after the earthquake and when aftershocks were still occurring.

    • Those were harrowing days, Melinda. You do so well in responding to the invitation to care for those who are in dire straits.

      I love how Jesus calls us as his disciples to pick up our cross and die daily. He tells us “you may be killed” and yet with all that, we struggle so with risk.

  • From Sandra McCracken’s Sweet Comfort
    “Whatever my God ordains is right, to Him I leave it all.”
    As a P squad parent, I can only trust in God and whatever happens —whether in living or in dying—-He is my hope. He loves my daughter more than I do. She is serving Him, and I leave it all in His hands.
    Kathryn Nobles

  • Although I am not a P squad parent, I am a racer parent so I know how I have felt for the past 11 months as my son has ventured into each country with many unknowns ahead. Nepal was his first country back in July. I am awed by the courage of P squad as they ran toward needs revealed to them, not away to safety. Trusting their God is bigger than a 7.4 earthquake, showing that their love was also bigger! Their impact will have an eternal affect of many of those their helped…and someday they will again meet those who turned their hearts to Jesus because of their courage. Truly a Kingdom Journey!

    • P squad shows the rest of us Jesus’ response to the need of the world – running to us to save us.

  • Hi, I’m Emily Trudell’s father. I totally agree. Called has called us to live a life of adventure. and that, if we are truly following God, will take us into dangerous places. Good words Seth!

  • I am the blessed one who gets to be Cole Bruners dad. It was not easy watching the reports of the 7.4 quake come in knowing the squad was right in the middle of it. It was difficult knowing what the squad had already been through with the sorrow of a teammate already wounded now back home. I began thinking about all of the emotions and challenges my son and his squad mates had already faced and now again. Yet when finally getting to communicate with Cole he remind me, educated in construction science, licensed in paramedic medicine, and burdened by a deep passion for mission work, dad ” I was made for a time such as this”. With that in mind I truly believe God knew what squad needed to be in Nepal at this moment in time.

    Our family has been a family that has missioned in many places throughout the world. Each time one of us goes abroad we as a family gather together the day or week before and spend time loving, praying, laughing and being together. We know when God has summoned one of us we must go, but we do not necessarily have to come back. It is far easier for me to go then to have my children go. Yet again as Cole said it, it is his time. Now we can only do one thing, “Pray”, hope, and wait for there return.

    At the end of our family time together, right before our family member sets out on their calling we always say, we will see you on the other side. Either of the journey they are on, or in glory. “Greater love has no man than this, that he be willing to lay down his life for his friends…”

    Now as noble as all of that sounds, I still am a father who deeply loves and misses his son, and honestly would love to see him out of there. But never would I want my own selfish desires to stand in the way of what God needs my son to fulfill for Him. I would also never want to stand in the way of my son walking so close to our Lord. Cole is now teaching his dad new things of faith, worship, sacrifice and trust. All for Gods glory and the worlds good… All I can say is, run Cole, run the race God has set before you.

    • Jay – I love the maturity I see in Cole. I love his recent blog, “Praise Like Your Life Depends On It, Because It Does.”

      Thanks for setting a high standard in the way you’ve fathered him. I checked out your church’s website and can see the depth of faith there – very encouraging.

  • Do I help or stay safe? My daughter is the Racer, not I, and it is she who, after prayerful consideration, must make this call. As a parent I am called to respond in faith as Abraham in Genesis 22, when God commanded Abraham, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the moutains of which I will tell you.” I am her prayer warrior, covering her, the rest of her squad, the parents, and staff, relying on this very same God for safety and provision for my one and only daugter on the World Race, committing her to His care and trusting Him in faith, alone, which He seems intent on increasing through the very affliction He visits on my daughter. She feels called to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19) She chose the World Race as a way in which to reach the lost who are to hear the gospel “before the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) Almost from the first month, this squad has found itself tossed on a sea of affliction of all variety, all well known to the Racers or their parents, and I am reminded of Paul: imprisoned, exiled, beaten, stoned, tossed on the sea and shipwrecked on an island, and starved, yet he ran stayed the course and ran the race to the finish line (1 Corinthians 9). We have arrived at a time where we find our Racer’s mid-stride (and parents) and amidst great turmoil, perhaps even, confusion. It is the last that is upsetting to me because our God is not a God of confusion, but One of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33) and there has not been much peace, especially recently. At times like these, I feel we are called to: I Peter 5:8, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” and at the same time observe and apply Psalm 119: 169, “Let my cry come before You, O Lord; give me understanding according to Your word.” By means of modern day communication, of which God was fully aware would be available, Racers and parents have had differing dgrees of terror struck in their hearts recently. All are being stretched, all are in different places with their faith, all need the grace to process. As the brethren – no matter the age or relationship, we must treat one another with love, compassion, tenderness, mercy, and grace which results in peace, patience, and understanding. In obedience, I thank God for creating this very situation and I look with great anticipation at His perfect resolution of a situation too complex for man but as a means of displaying what a holy and perfect God we serve.

    • Thanking God for tough situations is a hard assignment. Thank you Meg for this perspective and the Scriptures you reference. We walk by faith, not by sight.

  • “Seize eternity – why settle for a day?” – Stephan Beacham 1954-2005

    My prayers are with the P squad…and with you, Adventures leadership.

  • I am Lauryn Gondek’s mom. My love for my daughter of one that many of you can imagine. She is my heart, my sole, my best friend! The thought of anything, anything at all happening to her makes me nauseous, BUT I TRUST the process, I TRUST her in the hands of the all mighty GOD, I TRUST AIM, I TRUST her fellow racers! I must TRUST has been how I get through each day. The unselfishness of these young men and women, our children, is truly a reason for us to smile. Generations are proving to be more and more selfish, but not our children, they are the Lord’s helpers and that is what they are doing. I could go on, but I will not, I will say again “I TRUST” and pray that you do too!

    • Trust can be so hard when we can’t see how things are going to wind up. But at the end of the day, that’s really our only option. We at Adventures will work hard every day to justify this trust of yours. Our stewardship is sacred.

  • that’s why God had me marry this woman:) so many words of wisdom from everyone responding to this blog. God is in charge. Every day is a blessing from Him for each of us, including our children. When He chooses to call us home is His timing, not ours. We lose loved ones at home in america that leave for work one day and don’t come home because of a car accident. What matters is that everyday we do our best to follow to follow Jesus, share the gospel of hope, and trust all outcomes to Him…daily. Our beloved children are living that trust daily. They’re doing what Jesus wants them to do today. Only He knows what our plans are for tomorrow. Praise to Him!

  • As P Squad’s coaches, my wife and are so proud of and impressed by the men and women of P Squad. We know full well what they are experiencing there in Nepal, and love the way they have embraced what God had in store for them. They are showing themselves to be fully devoted followers of Christ, willing to do whatever it takes. We are blessed to walk alongside them on this journey.

    • Matt – you guys have been awesome. I’m so glad that you made it through that ordeal in Nepal and are still smiling and serving! Thank you for all you pour into the squad members. It means the world.

  • Challenging post. Excellent questions. Living in America becomes easier and easier with time. It’s so vital to get out of your comfort zone and join with the work Jesus is doing in the world before comfort makes it too difficult to do so.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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