Nepal Pastor's Last Words: God Will Grant Power to Continue Ministry
KATHMANDU, Nepal -- The earthquake devastated members of Nepal's tiny Christian community, many of whom were attending church services when the quake hit. As many as 600 Christians may have been killed.
It was about two minutes before noon when the quake hit. Sixty-two Christians were gathered on the fourth floor of a building for their Saturday morning worship service. The ground started shaking; the fourth floor collapsed on top of the other floors below it, killing 17 Christians, including the Senior Pastor Elija Gahle.
Jacob Tamang, assistant pastor of Vision Salvation Church, told CBN News about Pastor Elija.
"He was in the British Gorka Army, and he retired from there. He got citizenship from Britain and he was settled over there and because of the glory of God, he had great vision to serve God and he came back to Nepal," he recalled.
And as a result of that vision, Pastor Gahle planted 60 churches in western Nepal. And four years ago he started Vision Salvation Church in Kathmandu.
Santi Oli was among the 44 church members who survived the earthquake. Her 16-year-old daughter, Manisha, did not.
"She was a servant of God, always encouraging and helping others," her mother told CBN News.
Tamang told of his senior pastor's last words before he went to be with the Lord.
"After 39 hours, one brother got rescued through the Turkish armed forces. They were here to rescue him. He's alive now in the hospital," Tamang explained.
The surviving brother's name is Vikram. When he met the 23-year-old at the hospital, he said he was buried beneath a pile of bricks, trapped beside Pastor Elija.
"He said, 'Death is near for me, but you will be rescued and the Holy Spirit will give you power to continue your ministry,'" Vikram said. "After he passed, I felt like Jonah trapped in the body of the whale. I prayed to God, 'If You get me out of this, I will serve You for the rest of my life."'
Six other church members were hospitalized, including the widow of a popular church elder who died in the quake.
The Vision Salvation Church will now hold worship services in a new, unfinished church building.
And with Pastor Elija's passing, Pastor Jacob will now lead the church in its goal of planting 777 churches in the Hindu nation.
"I hope that because of this incident, because of this great disaster, God will do miraculous things in this land of Nepal," he said.