Miriam awoke from her Saturday nap on April 25 with a start. Since she was up, the elderly Nepali woman decided to begin her daily noontime prayer 15 minutes early.
She lifted her normal requests heavenward – asking God to give her husband health; watching over her adult son; tidbits from people requesting her intercession; and asking for her neighbors and her country of Nepal to know Jesus.
IMB photo by Susie Rain
Miriam, an elderly leper in Nepal, reads from Romans 8:28, one of the verses that sustained her through the 7.8-magnitude earthquake April 25 as she remained on the second floor of her mud-brick home. “I knew that if I died, I would be with my Savior,” Miriam said, “but if they died, they would never have the chance to hear about Him. So, I prayed for the protection of the masses.”
Eleven minutes into her conversation with God, a loud noise cracked throughout the mud-brick home.
“I thought it was a car,” Miriam said with a giggle one week after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake. “But then the house started shaking and everyone was screaming, ‘EARTHQUAKE! EARTHQUAKE!’”
Her husband came to get her out of the second-story bedroom but she refused to move and refused to stop praying.
Miriam knew that she, a leper with no fingers or legs, could do more good by praying to God for her country’s protection than going outside to safety. Her husband only argued once, then sat on the floor and joined her.
“I wasn’t scared. Even when people yelled for me to go downstairs, I told them I was staying,” Miriam said, emphatically thumping her well-worn Bible. “God knows what He is doing.”
And He wanted her to pray, so she shouted scripture to the heavens above the loud rumbling of the earthquake and the aftershocks that shook the nation for hours.
Miriam opened her Bible and shuffled through the pages with her paddle-like hands. She stopped in Romans and pointed at chapter 8, verse 28: “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose” (HCSB).
IMB photo by Susie Rain
With paddle-like hands from leprosy, Miriam moves through her Bible to scriptures she is praying for Nepal as her homeland begins its arduous recovery from the 7.8-magnitude earthquake April 25.
The verse spurred Miriam on to pray over and over – not just during the quake, but since. It assured her that God had a plan for her, even in the crisis.
The elderly woman’s face crinkled up and she took a deep breath, wiping tears away as she explained, “I’m not scared. Other people do not have a house. They do not have food. I’m sad for them.”
Tears still flowing, Miriam said, “I knew that if I died, I would be with my Savior, but if they died, they would never have the chance to hear about Him. So, I prayed for the protection of the masses.
“People lost their house. Family members died. They have no peace,” she said, thumping her heart. “They have no eternal hope … so I pray.”
Aid workers join Miriam in praying for Nepal and the survivors of the earthquake. Among their requests:
Pray for those who have lost their homes. Officials estimate that nearly 80 percent of homes built in Nepal are not “earthquake ready.” They are made of mud bricks and many crumbled, especially in the mountain villages. Miriam prays that these people will not only rebuild but also find a new home in heaven.
Pray for the farmers. It’s planting season. If they can’t get crops planted now, the entire country will suffer with a food shortage next year. Thank God for the sacrificial giving in providing immediate food to make up for what was lost. Miriam prays that the farmers will be able to take care of their homes, families and still get their crops planted in time.
Pray for the people of Nepal to know Jesus as their Savior. Only 1 percent of Nepal’s 28.8 million are followers of Christ; the rest adhere mostly to Hinduism. Following this disaster, doors are open for local Christians and international Christian volunteers to provide aid and to share their faith. Miriam prays for boldness of the local believers. She also prays for eyes and hearts to open as they see and hear the love of Jesus.
Baptist Global Response, a Southern Baptist humanitarian organization with which International Mission Board partners, released $50,000 for initial relief efforts in the aftermath of Nepal’s earthquake, providing basic survival needs like water, shelter, food and healthcare to survivors yet to receive aid. Visit gobgr.org/nepal to find continuing updates, prayer points, opportunities to donate and volunteer requests for the Nepal earthquake response.
See Miriam tell her story:
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Susie Rain is an IMB writer living in Asia.)