Kidstown International

Shaken and Unshakable

P1000468 We live in a world of uncertainties. Uncertain political situations. Uncertain economics. Uncertainties in the natural realm, such as the earthquakes in Nepal. Life is full of uncertainties. And yet, in the midst of all these, there is One who is certain.

P1000742 Yesterday, while sitting in a church in Western Romania, we witnessed two of our orphans declare publicly their commitment to follow Jesus by way of baptism. And as they did, they took a step in the direction of Him who is unshakable.

I think there is a lesson for all of us here: to realize that the world we live in is very unstable, very uncertain; yet the God we serve is very stable and very certain! Psalm 62:6 says, “He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.”

P1000745 May we all be encouraged and challenged to, like our Romanian orphans, put our trust and faith in the One who will never fail us, never falter, never shift or shake. If He is our Center, our Foundation, our Fortress, then no matter what storm or trial comes our way we can say, along with David, “I shall not be shaken”!

Saved by a Ladder

Dear Kidstown Friends,

It was about 11:00 pm. I had just fallen asleep after travelling from the Middle-East to Nepal when I was roused from my slumber by a magnitude 5.0 tremor which had set my room to rocking. I grabbed my shoes, glasses, and passport and bolted for the door…what a great welcome to Nepal!

This tremor, however, was only one of over 270 aftershocks* that have plagued this small Himalayan country since the big 7.8 Gorkha earthquake hit on April 25th. Most of you have read the reports and seen the news coverage and know that the damage was extensive and the impact on the people traumatic.

P1000430 Yesterday we had the opportunity to visit two areas in Kathmandu which were especially affected by the quake. Old buildings and shoddy construction seem to be common denominators. Newer buildings which have been built with rebar and cement seem to have held up far better.

As we strolled through one of these areas, snapping photos of the rubble, a man stopped and informed us that THAT pile of rubble was his house. He was inside, up on the third floor, when the big shaker occurred.
P1000425 The age of his home and its substandard construction was bad enough up against such a large earthquake. But what made things worse was the seven-story building next door that kept banging up his home as it swayed to and fro with the quake. Finally his home gave way, a place where likely he grew up, where his parents lived, and maybe even his grandparents lived. It simply collapsed into a pile of rubble.

P1000543 Remember that I told you the owner was inside, up on the third floor? He recounted how it felt like he was in an elevator. As the building collapsed he dropped 20 feet straight down with it! He surely would have been crushed to death save a strong wooden ladder under which somehow he managed to squirm as the building moved and swayed. That ladder took the brunt of the falling bricks and timber, and although temporarily buried alive, this man lives today because of that ladder.

This is only one story among the thousands of incredible, heart-wrenching, or extremely sad stories. Questions abound. Why did this happen? What do these people do now? Many have lost their homes, some have lost family or friends, others have lost part or all of their means to earn a living. Few have home-owners insurance, or a robust savings account from which to begin again. What do they do?

Another man we met pointed out his house…a ruined, unfixable mess of brick, wood, and rubble. It was only afternoon, yet he had already begun drinking, perhaps unable to cope with the memory of what was, the reality of what now is, and what in the world he is supposed to do now.

P1000552 And then there is fear. Just as lethal as the swaying and bumping of an earthquake is the trauma it causes and the fear it instills. The real culprit behind the fear that is running rampant in Kathmandu was not the 26th of April quake, but the 7.3 earthquake which hit on the 12th of May. It is that 2nd quake that has instilled fear deep inside, so much so that people have (and continue to) live in tents outside their homes or in open fields, some with what appears no real desire to move back inside even though their building stood up fine to the quakes. How do you combat fear? My little taste of the 5.0 tremor the other night was enough to validate that the emotion of fear is a very real thing!

So – what is our response to this foundation-shaking event here in Nepal? I think that the best, most effective, and greatest way we can help the Nepali people is to continue to pray for them. God reveals Himself as a rock, as a fortress. He is unshakable, even if the ground here in Nepal is not. May the Nepali people turn to Him and find in Him the safety and peace they so desperately seek.

Thanks to all for praying and for caring.


Headed to Nepal

Dear Kidstown Friends,

Many of you have followed the recent tragic events in Nepal, have expressed concern, have lifted this country and its people up in prayer, and have generously given so that we can assist in the relief and reconstruction efforts. Sincerest thanks to each of you.

I am writing to you from seat 22A on a KLM flight headed to Amsterdam, then Dubai, with final destination Kathmandu. The visit in Nepal will be brief. The primary objectives: assess structural damage to the orphanage facilities, and encourage the orphanage leaders. Kidstown is partnering with seven orphanages that were affected by the earthquakes, and even now, according to a report received yesterday from one of the orphanage leaders, the kids are sleeping in tents outside the building due to the on-going after-shocks that continue to ripple through the Kathmandu valley.

Thanks to you, we have already sent a financial relief package to all of our partner Nepal orphanages as a way of helping them to compensate for increased costs of food and fuel caused by the earthquake. We also will be distributing water filters and medical supplies to help in the present as well as in readiness for any future tremors. And, as we gain a better idea these next few days of damages to facilities, we will aim to dial in relief funds to assist in the reconstruction efforts.

God has given all of us the opportunity to play a part in the Nepal earthquake story. Our part may be small, but let’s just be faithful and do our part well.

Will try to send an update from Nepal soon. Please continue to pray for Nepal, its leaders, the general population, the orphanages, and all the aid workers. Thanks.



7.3 Aftershock Hits Nepal

According to news sources as well as our on-the-ground source in Kathmandu, this
small Himalayan country is once again scurrying into the streets in a state of panic
after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal at about 12pm local (Nepal) time today (12 May)
(means about 3am EDT). The epicenter was about 50 miles east of Kathmandu (whereas
the April 25th quake was about 50 miles west).

According to the BBC at least 54 people in Nepal and India have died and 1,000 have
been injured; a four-story building also reportedly collapsed in Kathmandu (likely
due to having been structurally weakened by the April 25th tremor).

No reports from any of our orphanages.

Will you please pray for Nepal?

1. For God’s presence and peace for the Nepali people.
2. For a settling of the seismic movement that has plagued this country over the
last few weeks.
3. For protection for our orphanages.
4. For God’s purposes to be advanced amidst this difficult time.

To read more:

Thanks for your interest and for praying.

Nepal after 12 days

Dear Kidstown Friends,

Ashish Home relief tent It has been nearly 12 days since the devastating earthquake rocked the small Himalayan nation of Nepal. Its effects have been widespread and have greatly affected life, and will continue to do so for months (and even years) to come. According to one source, the death-toll has now surpassed 9,000 and another 16,000 injured. 200,000 homes have been fully destroyed and another 200,000 have sustained significant structural damage and must be rebuilt. About 35% of Nepal’s population have been affected, either directly or indirectly. Many lost family members, homes, properties, businesses, and savings. Some remote villages have yet to receive food, water, and medical help.

April 25th was truly an epic disaster that none of us can fully comprehend.

Ashish Home Support for Nepal in the immediate wake was impressive. Media coverage as well as international and local relief efforts displayed a solidarity of concern and purpose. Nepal’s Army and Police are to be given much credit, having mobilized most (if not all) of their units to assist their people.

But as the dust settles and the rest of the world begins to forget about Nepal, what does Nepal do to get back on its feet again?

Nepal had a weak economy before the earthquake (Nepal’s GDP-per capita ranked 197 out of 230 countries, according to The World Factbook) and struggled with its economic development, infrastructure, and communications. This earthquake has added injury to insult, dealing an economic blow that may take decades from which to recover. The tourism sector, for example, has taken a big hit with visitors cancelling travel plans as far out as October and November. And Kathmandu, Nepal’s hub of commerce and industry, experienced a mass-exodus of up to 50% of its inhabitants due to fears of recurring earthquakes, health hazards, and due to folks simply having no other place to live.

Socially, Nepal also will suffer. Already we have received reports of hundreds of children that have been left without parents due to the quake. Malnutrition, waterborne illnesses, and exposure (a special concern with the oncoming monsoon season) are (and will) take their toll.

Seems overwhelming. And it is. But we aren’t called to respond to all of these needs; we are called to respond to some of them. And that’s what all of us here at Kidstown (including you) are trying to do. Many of you have been faithfully praying and faithfully giving.

Navigating these troubled waters, our plan is three-fold:

1. Near-term relief: we plan to give to each orphanage affected by the earthquake a basic relief package including finances (to help offset increased cost of food and commodities), water filters, and some other basic relief supplies.

2. Long-term reconstruction: we aim to help in the reconstruction effort of orphanages which have sustained significant structural damage. A Kidstown team will be on-site later this month to do a damage assessment of each orphanage affected by the earthquake.

3. On-going prayer for the orphanage leaders, our kids, and the Nepali people in-general.

May not seem like alot, but its something. And if we all do something, then it adds up to alot.

So – we thank all of you for your interest and concern for Nepal, its people, and our orphanages. For those who have prayed: thanks, and please keep it up. For those who have given financially: thanks, and we will try to apply those funds in strategic and wise ways which will help our Nepali orphanages. For those who have not yet engaged in some way: I encourage you to do so. Just because CNN is not showing the dust and rubble anymore does not mean that everything is back to normal over there. You can pray. You can give ( – “Nepal relief”), or you can engage in some other way. The main thing is that each of us do our part to help our family in Nepal that at this hour needs our help. Who knows, next year it might be us needing their help.

Nepal Quake: “Now what?”

Dear Kidstown Friends,

Most of us cannot identify with a natural disaster which literally and figuratively rocks our entire world. It’s likely that most Nepalis, before last Saturday, didn’t either. But today they woke up once again to the grim reality of what was, and now what is. The question that surely looms in their mind’s eye is: now what? Now what?

Nepal - marginalized peoples 3 Nepal, this beautiful and somewhat romanticized Himalayan country, has more than its share of struggles. A civil war that tore the nation to shreds, and from which it has yet to recover. Ongoing political infighting. Economic stagnation. Widespread poverty. Harsh living conditions and high mortality rates among children in outlying areas. An underdeveloped infrastructure, including roads, medical facilities, and communication. Not to mention the laundry list of social needs: child trafficking, abandoned & destitute children, prevalent sickness caused by contaminated water, and literal starvation in some of the remote mountain regions of the far West. Add to this social, political, and economic melee the hopelessness experinced by most Nepalis due to the widely embraced Hindu worldview and one can see why a 7.8 earthquake can (in almost a realistic sense) be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

According to BBC, the latest figures are over 5,500 dead, 11,000 injured, 70,000 homes destroyed, and 8 million affected (this means that almost 30% of Nepal’s population has been impacted by this quake). These numbers are significant, especially when placed into the context of Nepal’s already-challenging existence.

Chitwan home So, what do we do with all of this? Is there a way that we can help Nepal during this time, or will we just raise our eyebrows, shake our heads, and move on to reading the next news article? From our vantage point, I would encourage us to do (continue to do) the following:

1. PRAY – This is the greatest way we can help Nepal. God is there already: in Kathmandu, under the rubble, in the remote villages which have yet to see a rescue vehicle, with the children who have lost a parent, with the family which has lost their home. God is there: actively working FOR the Nepali people, endeavoring to bring them practical help and hope through the compassion of others. God is there: actively working IN the Nepali people, urging them to ask the right questions that ultimately will lead them to Him, the source of hope and true life. God is there: actively working THROUGH the Nepali people that are called by His Name – sending them out as His ambassadors of love, care, and concern to those who are at the end of their rope. Back to us: since God is there, why not join Him in what He is already doing? When we pray, we do just that, and our prayers increase His involvement on behalf of the Nepali people.

2. GIVE – Helping others in practical ways is a way to substantiate our concern. Its a long way to Nepal and chances are if you did fly over there you’d probably get stuck in holding pattern over the airport due to the logjam of planes on the ground. But, we have an infrastructure of people already on the ground. People that are already engaged in helping some of the neediest of Nepal’s people: its orphans. We are committed to supporting and helping those particular endeavors and now, in the wake of this earthquake, surely these orphanages will need a helping hand to get up & get going again. We have not yet received in-depth damage assessments from the orphanages, but as the dust settles a bit we hope to. Having some financial resources in the wings, however, will enable us to respond quickly when the needs to become apparent. Will you join us in this? For those who have already done so, many thanks.

If you would like to give: Please designate “Nepal earthquake”.

On a GREAT note: this morning I received word in regards to the last and final orphanage, and according to our regional director “the kids are absolutely well”. This means that of our seven orphanages in the quake zone, ALL seven (except for some structural damage to the facilities) came through the earthquake unscathed! No kids were injured, no leaders were injured! Thank you, Lord.

So, to all the Kidstown family: thanks for your great concern for Nepal and our orphanages. Thanks for praying. Thanks for giving. Thanks for being a family to our family in Nepal.

Nepal Earthquake

Dear Kidstown Friends,

The situation in Nepal continues to be desperate. According to the BBC the death toll has surpassed 5,000, with an additional 10,000 injured, 500,000 displaced, and 8,000,000 affected. There continue to be shortages of food, water, and electricity and the government fears outbreaks of disease. Aid efforts are underway – some on the ground, some inbound – but logjams at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport is creating challenges. For example, four Indian Air Force planes carrying relief supplies returned to Delhi due to the congestion, according to the BBC.

“Life has come to halt here” writes a Kidstown co-worker. “Transportation is minimum. Stores are closed.”

So – the need persists for us to PRAY – that God will be near to the Nepali people during this time; that He will give grace and help; wisdom to the leaders; and that through this tragedy that His purposes will prevail.

Also – if you are inclined to give a financial gift to help the orphanages get back on their feet, please do so by clicking on the big, yellow “DONATE” button at the top-right of this screen and designating, “Earthquake relief”. Many thanks.

DSC02910 On the Kidstown front: we have heard from yet another of our orphanages. All are fine, yet the building has sustained some minor damage (left). We are still trying to establish contact with three additional orphanage leaders.

HoH 2 Another of our homes sustained significant damage to their boundary wall, however the main building escaped damage (above).

DSC02897 Fears of aftershocks drove many people, including our orphans, out-of-doors. This photo shows the temporary living quarters established for the kids at one of our orphanages.

DSC02886-1 HoH And yet, even in tough times, kids have a resiliency that allows them to flow with things, and even make the best of them.

So – a sincere thanks to each of you for caring so much for praying for Nepal and its people, and in a special way thanks for your love and concern for our Nepali orphans.

The Widow’s Mite

Dear Kidstown Friends,

Many of you are familiar with the account of the “widow’s mite”, recorded in Luke 21:1-4. Yesterday this took on new meaning for me.

This last Sunday our pastor spoke on Biblical stewardship: the reasoning, rationale, and Biblical basis for the giving of tithes and offerings and their uses within the context of the church. He spoke of God’s blessing of, and provision for, His children. He handled the topic well.

As he spoke, however, I felt something shift uneasily deep within my heart. I believe the promises found in Psalm 34:8-10 that the Lord is good, that those who fear Him lack nothing, and that those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. I have experienced the fulfillment of these promises personally. Here’s my tension, however: I often travel to places like India, Nepal, or Romania – and I know of many situations where Christians barely have enough to survive…sometimes not enough to even keep their children, thus they send them to an orphanage to live. I’m not saying that God is unfaithful to His Word, but I just don’t understand how it all really works. Why does my family have sufficient but they don’t?

That was Sunday when our pastor spoke on this topic. Fast forward two days: Tuesday. I’m sitting at the dinner table with my family. Conversation shifts to this topic and my wife and I struggle with it. My daughter, now 11, sits quietly by as she listens to us discuss something which she (and we!) cannot understand.

So – I come home yesterday and notice an envelope sitting on my desk. Curious, I pick it up and begin reading the hand-written script pencilled onto a couple of sticky-notes attached to the front. What these notes conveyed was that, inside that envelope, was some money to be given to a missionary or poor Christian family in India. I discovered moments later that this offering was given by my daughter. I further came to find out that she had deposited into that envelope all of her savings that she had accumulated over the last nine years. She retained none of it for herself. And it that were not enough, later in the evening, with a tear rolling down her cheek, she asked me if she should give more because she knew there are people who have nothing.

Dear friends – this is the widow’s mite that Jesus spoke of in Luke 21. Compared to the budgets of many churches and corporations its nothing…but to Jesus, its everything. She gave everything she had, and I guarantee that Jesus will multiply those dollars like he did the loaves & fishes; using her little to do great things.

Why is it that an 11-year-old is teaching me such a profound lesson? Her generosity and her faith have surely surpassed mine. They likewise point to God at work in a young and responsive heart, and He will surely reward her for what she has done.

And He (Jesus) said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.”

May this be a challenge to all of us today. There are lots of people all around us and all around the world that are in need: physically, emotionally, spiritually. God calls us to be generous, the type of generosity that is fueled by faith; faith that believes that God can take the little we offer and can do GREAT things with it to bring help, give hope, and ultimately advance His Kingdom.

A Mother’s Prayer

Dear Kidstown Friends,

In 1 Samuel 1:9-11 it says “So Hannah arose…and prayed to the Lord…and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you …will give your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life.”

Yesterday we left behind the urban sprawl of Hyderabad, India’s fourth largest city of nearly 9 million inhabitants. A leader in the area of technology, Hyderabad occupies center stage in what has become known as the “Silicon Valley” of India. Western tech firms, modern hotels, wide expressways, and a world-class international airport all greet those inbound to Hyderabad. But our journey left all this behind, in favor of a more out-of-the-way destination. Centered in a small village of predominantly Muslim and Hindu families, the Divine Children Home is unassuming, yet is being used by God in great ways. A small, family-style orphanage, the Divine Children Home is “home” to nine abandoned or destitute children; a place where they receive love, care, an education, the Gospel, and a 2nd chance at life.

As we spent time with the children, the leaders, and a few native missionaries (which had come to meet us), a theme began to form. Listening to the missionaries as they related their backgrounds and how they became involved in ministry, I found it interesting that two of them (David and Rama) made mention of their mother’s prayers. Both mothers prayed, in one fashion or another, for their sons to be used by God in ministry. And God heard those prayers and has indeed deployed these men as His witnesses, using them powerfully to shine His light among unreached peoples.

What’s the theme? Simply this: there is power in a mother’s prayer. Many of you sponsor orphans here in India, or in Nepal, or in Romania. In a sense, these orphans have become part of your family. You help supply much-needed financial resources that provide them with food, clothing, and shelter. You reach out to them in friendship, conveying to them via letters, cards, or small gifts that they are loved. At times you encourage them in their faith, assuring them that what they have in Christ is of utmost value and worth. But, can I ask a question? Do you regularly pray for your orphan?

Think about Samuel’s mom (I Samuel 1), or about David’s mom, or about Rama’s mom. They are no different than you. They loved their sons, just like you love your sponsored orphan. They wanted the best for their sons, just like you want the best for your orphan. They prayed to the Lord for their sons…and God responded by using Samuel in a great way, and is also using David and Rama in great ways. These mother’s prayers proved to be very effective!

So, speaking to all you moms out there: you’ve “adopted” an orphan. You know their name, where they live, and a bit about them. Maybe you have their photo on your fridge or on a corkboard. You are engaged at least to some level in their lives. My challenge to you, however, is this: will you commit to regularly praying for them? Will you pray that God will help them today and give them hope for tomorrow? Will you pray that God will draw them to Christ and grow them in their faith? Will you pray that God will help them to become all that He has planned for them (Jeremiah 29:11)? Will you pray that God will deploy them one day as His witnesses and that they will boldly stand for Christ, no matter what their situation, location, or vocation?

The power of a praying mom cannot be underestimated. Too often it is. It’s time to bring it back to the surface and to request all you praying moms out there to do what Hannah did, to do what David’s mom did, to do what Rama’s mom did, and by so doing unleash God’s power and work in the lives of your sponsored orphans, with the anticipation that God WILL do great things for, in, and through them.

Thanks for praying!