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How Faith-Based Travel Changes Lives

A personal story about the 2015 Nepal Earthquake

Faith-based aid workers make a difference in the lives of people in need. However correct such a broad sentence may be, nothing paints a picture like a very specific personal story as the story of Sean Reynolds. He was in Nepal when an earthquake struck. Along with Christian Aid, he helped the Nepali people in a commendable way.

Faith-Based Travel, A Personal Story

It was noon on the 25th of April 2015 when an 8.1Ms earthquake struck Nepal.  It killed almost 9,000 people and injured nearly 22,000. It was the worst natural disaster ever to strike Nepal since the 1934 Nepal–Bihar earthquake.

Sean Reynolds, a 26-year-old student from Dublin, Ireland, happened to be in Nepal when the earthquake struck. Instead of immediately packing his bags and hopping on a plane back to Ireland, he chose to stay in Nepal and help with the relief efforts.

'I travelled to Nepal to volunteer with a children’s charity. I arrived on April 20th and the earthquake struck on April 25th. I was standing outside. The ground under me suddenly started shaking vigorously and I lost my footing and fell over', Sean writes. At first, he thought it was the heat, but when he saw people running from shaking buildings, he realized it was an earthquake.

Hours later, he drove to Kathmandu and started to see the real scale of the devastation. People lost everything and were distraught. Many couldn’t find their loved ones. 'The Irish Embassy offered to help me return home to Ireland, but I was keen to stay and help in whatever way I could. I emailed Irish-based charities working in Nepal and was soon put in touch with Christian Aid’s Nepal team. It was fast going from that point. I met with the humanitarian manager in Kathmandu and the next day. I was on my way to Sindhupalchok, one of the worst hit and really remote areas.'

'I had no relief work experience', Sean continues about his Faith-Based travel experience. 'I had volunteered in Ireland, but never in a developing country. It was a bit of a baptism with fire. It was tough going at first, but I was lucky to be working with really experienced aid workers. The Christian Aid teams were very impressive and made sure to train me up for what I needed to do.'

Sean was tasked with getting the much needed basic supplies to the most vulnerable. Food, water, and blankets were shipped to the affected area. Medical staff was there to help the injured. It was the help the people needed when the earthquake just hit. But Christian Aid didn't stop there. They moved on to livelihoods, income generation, and rebuilding work. People could now build stronger homes after receiving iron sheets, building toolkits, and training.

'Some families got seeds and fertilizers and planted vegetable gardens. Before I left, their gardens were growing, and hopefully, they will harvest enough to feed their families and a surplus that they can sell', Sean remembers.

It was a faith-based travel experience to remember. 'I was deeply inspired by the resilience and strength of the Nepali people and how they worked together to help each other rebuild back after such destruction. By the time I left three months later, things were still pretty tough. The Nepali people are facing enormous challenges. The rebuilding will take years, but there is a reason to be hopeful. I would love to go back one day.'

Like Sean was inspired by the resilience of the Nepali people, we are inspired by him and other faith-based travelers. Want to learn more about the faith-based work we do for church groups, missionaries, and clergy? Please take a look at our collection of other blog posts with a new addition every day. We are proud to serve these faith-based organizations.