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Do I Help or Stay Safe?

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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

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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?”

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