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Nepalese Baptist pastor in U.S. aids homeland

BUFFALO, N.Y. (BP) — As Nepal works to recover from two massive earthquakes within 17 days, a Nepalese Southern Baptist church planter in Buffalo, N.Y. is readying to travel to his homeland to help those in need, including his three sisters left homeless.

Purna “John” Tamang, pastor of Saransthan International Fellowship, said his sisters are living in tents in Kathmandu and other communities. Tamang described them as Christians telling others of Jesus Christ.

“They are sharing their faith,” Tamang told Baptist Press. “[Nepal] is in need of Jesus along with physical healing and financial support for clothing and food.”

Southern Baptists can help by praying and fasting for Nepal, pleading for an end to the earthquakes and numerous aftershocks, Tamang told Baptist Press, and they can help by sending funds to help survivors rebuild their lives.

Tamang and his wife Ganga, or “Martha,” for example, are raising support to cover travel to Nepal in June to help victims and provide leadership training for ministers in South Asia.

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal April 25, killing more than 8,000 people and destroying thousands of homes. Officials were still surveying damage from the first quake when a 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck May 12, killing several dozen more people, including victims in India and Chinese Tibet.

Tamang, a church planter and leader of the nonprofit “Love the Lost, Inc.” Gospel outreach, has planted 18 churches in the past four years, including U.S. congregations in Kentucky, North Carolina, California, Ohio and New Hampshire, and in Nepal, Bhutan and India. One of his sisters helped plant a church in Bihar, northern India, where 100 people were killed in the first quake. All of the pastors survived both earthquakes, Tamang said May 12.

Nepal’s National Emergency Operations Center has estimated that nearly 300,000 homes were destroyed and about 270,000 others were damaged in the first earthquake alone. Many survivors are living in tents.

Born in Bhutan in 1979, Tamang was educated while living in refugee camps in Nepal for more than 15 years. During a life-threatening illness in 1993, Tamang said, he accepted Jesus, “a great healer,” as his Savior and was called as a church planter. When opportunity arose, he traveled to the U.S., first to Atlanta and then to New York, where his church is a member of the Frontier Baptist Association of the Baptist Convention of New York. Tamang’s mother church is Amherst Baptist Church in Amherst, N.Y., under the pastorate of Scott Gillette.

Baptist Global Response Nepal is coordinating Southern Baptist humanitarian relief efforts in Nepal, providing basic survival needs including water, shelter, food and healthcare. More information is available at gobgr.org.

Tamang may be reached at [email protected].