A Christian group including Langley residents Alistair Turkington and Chrissy Kline have heavy hearts after the country they visited on a mission trip was rocked by a deadly earthquake on April 25.
Nepal was hit by a 7.8 magnitude quake that has killed more than 7,500 and left countless others injured or missing.
â€œObviously our team has been greatly affected by this tragedy as we stood on many of the places where the devastation happened,â€ said Turkington, the B.C. regional director of Awana Canada, a global, non-profit ministry.
The trip came about when the group was approached by a childrenâ€™s ministry that had just completed a new facility called the Hope Center.
It is located in one of the poorer areas of Kathmandu in the midst of 10 brick factories, Turkington shared.
â€œThere are more than 700 kids in the neighborhood who have little to no education, hygiene, or social programs,â€ Turkington said. â€œSo the Hope Center was built to provide these things for them.â€
The local group including adults Turkington and Adam and Veronica Verigin (from Victoria), along with teenagers Kline, Job Lee (Richmond), and Daniel Webster (Victoria) delivered more than 535 backpacks filled with shoes, socks, and educational and hygienic supplies to the facility.
When they went to Nepal, the group was able to stock the Hope Center â€œso they can reach the needs of the children holistically,â€ Turkington said, adding that the team of six â€œhad a fantastic time serving the children there and in other of Kathmanduâ€™s slums. We do plan to take a follow-up trip shortly to help finish off some last details of the Hope Center, and also to train more leaders to serve the kids properly there.â€
After the earthquake, relief for the local group came with the news that apparently all those they helped are safe and accounted for.
â€œFortunately, the people and Hope Center we went to serve are all safe and are now orchestrating to the best of their abilities to help in the rescue operations,â€ Turkington reported.
He added that â€œmany people have been affected in Nepal. We are planning to help them with food, water, tents, and blankets through local churches and other partners. Right now money is the best way to send help. We have set up an emergency â€˜Help Nepalâ€™ fund for this purpose.â€
To make a donation online through www.awanacanada.ca, click here, then choose â€œInternational Missionaries and Projectsâ€ and type â€œNepalâ€ under â€œProject Name.â€
To donate online through the Red Cross, click here.
People can also phone the office (1-877-422-6292 ext. 4) and donate by credit card.
As well cheques can be made payable to Awana Canada with â€œHelp Nepalâ€ in the memo and sent to: 101 â€“ 2430 King George Blvd., Surrey, BC V4P 1H5.
US donations can go to awana.org/helpnepal.
â€œWe have been thankful for all the support that has already come in,â€ Turkington said. â€œWe are asking people to pass this on to their friends and help us support them in this time of great trial.â€
Turkington said there is a â€œgood possibility some of us may be going back shortly to help, but we are waiting to receive the details.â€