News Release

Gratitude in Nepal

"We are OK" say the Church members in Nepal.

Elder Jim and Sister Chris Valentine, serving in Nepal as Humanitarian missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were separated at the time the devastating earthquake hit. Sister Valentine had returned to their flat a few blocks from the church in preparation for the Young Men and Young Women who were joining them for a luncheon activity.  The Valentines told of several “tender mercies” from the Lord as they recounted the harrowing experience. 

Elder Valentine said, “The ground gave a jolt and the members gasped.  I jumped and headed to the door to find Chris.  I fell once but got outside; most of the others stayed in the chapel.  I knelt on the ground and the quake must have lasted about 100 seconds before I could stand.”  Elder Valentine ran, along with a returned missionary who joined him, to find his wife, praying that he would find the high rise building still standing.  

Sister Valentine felt the severity of the quake and made the quick decision to exit her 7th floor apartment by the stairwell.  She was tossed about and barefoot in the broken glass but made it down safely with only bruises. The couple was reunited in the street with tears of gratitude and returned quickly to the church.   

The members had moved outside for safety.  They spent the afternoon together singing hymns, praying and trying to contact loved ones. The music gave comfort to troubled hearts of others who joined the group.. Branch President Chandra, Brother Bishnu Adhikari and other priesthood leaders contacted those who were not at church to make sure everyone was safe.  As the tremors continued throughout the afternoon, they were grateful for the protecting hand of the Lord.  Despite the damaged streets and the broken buildings, eventually the members made their way back to their homes and families.  

Elder and Sister Valentine were without a home and spent the night inside the gates of the church under a tree in the rain.  The next morning with tremors as strong as 6.7 they walked to the US Embassy, a safe seismic building and eventually made it safely to Thailand.  
“The people of Nepal are survivors, no one is complaining” said Sister Valentine with love and admiration.  “They are used to hardships” she continued.  The Valentines love the people of Nepal and the courageous members of the church.  “We are OK, we are OK” the members bravely say. Brother Bishnu said "It's a difficult situation but I am not discouraged. There are so many things to be grateful for."

 Emergency funds have been provided for local leaders to purchase needed supplies for members and a detailed assessment of each member’s needs is underway.  Communication is improving. Supplies such as tents, water, food and materials, blankets and tarps have been sourced along with clean water filtration.  Transportation and delivery is scheduled.  The Valentines are hoping to return to continue to give love, support and aid to the beautiful people of Nepal. 

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