Helicopters, Miracle Connections, and More Help for the Nepali Earthquake Victims

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Blessings from Nepal in the name of Jesus! It’s been a whirlwind since we hit the ground in Kathmandu, Nepal. Many things are happening, so it is time for an update!

This marvelous nation was recently rocked with a massive 7.8 earthquake, leaving thousands dead and hundreds of thousands displaced. Since day one, we’ve been working remotely with our Nepali friends, helping them plan and deliver much-needed supplies to remote and destroyed villages in the northern part of the province of Dhading.

While in the USA, I asked the Lord, “Should we go to Nepal?”

The answer was simple. “They are your family, and they are hurting. Of course, you need to go.”

And so, after a short round of fundraising coupled with powerful ministry in the USA, we booked two tickets. We landed in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, a few days ago.

Once on the ground, one of our first meetings was follow up with a very impressive young man that recently came to the Lord. He has heard the calling now to reach where he grew up (a slum area in Kathmandu) with the Gospel. He has some preparation to do, but in the future he will be vital to the Kingdom! The rest of that day was spent meeting people, loving them, comforting them, and praying for them in the name of Jesus! Not a bad way to get started.

After only one day in Kathmandu, we headed to the airport to catch a flight to meet our partners in Pokhara. These are the Nepali partners that have been getting the things we’ve sent into the villages. On the way to the airport, we passed two guys wearing MAF (Missionary Aviation Fellowship) shirts. We passed them with a greeting, but once we were inside the Lord spoke to my heart, “GO and meet those men.” So before we checked in, we walked back out of the airport to where they had been sitting. When we returned they were gone. Still, the peace of the Lord was on us, so we sat down where they had been and waited on our flight. Around twenty minutes later the two walked back by and we met.

They were pilots, team members of MAF. One lives in Indonesia, the other Uganda, and they were both here to help. As we talked, I shared about how hard it has been to get to the village because of the distance and mudslides. They told me that our team should most definitely contact MAF, as they were providing subsidized flights for small NGOs that were aiding Nepal in the earthquake. We shook hands, prayed together, and parted ways. We hopped on our flight to Pokhara, and that was that.

In Pokhara we met with the Nepali team we partner with and got started making plans. By now, much supplies has been delivered by helicopter and by some very strong and brave Nepali porters (they traveled for days carrying these things). Now, however, monsoon is upon us. The rains are scheduled to start by the end of this week. Currently, everyone is living in Makeshift tents. The scramble is on to get dry shelters and safe bathrooms before Monsoon hits.

The more we talked and planned, the more our hearts sank. The journey to the village has just gotten much harder because of landslides. Our mountain-grown Nepali friends looked at us with some very tired eyes and told us that the journey has become extremely difficult, even for them with their superhero level trekking abilities.

“We will go by truck and foot if we must, but let us try to price a helicopter.”

I sat and thought. For me, there was no peace yet concerning a helicopter, and I’d rather hike for a horrible week than go anywhere where I do not have peace. But there was no harm in pricing the flight, so our good friend, Lako, dialed up a few reputable companies to get the full price of the flight. As he listened to the answer, his faced dropped.

“Each hour is at cheapest $1,500 for a small helicopter.”

Yikes. We had to book multiple flights for the evacuation of sick, delivery of goods, drop off and pickup. And we honestly needed to carry more people than the small helicopter could carry. The large chopper cost around $2500 per hour (one roundtrip from Kathmandu).

“Dustan,” said Lako, “let us call MAF, the people you met in Kathmandu.”

And so we did, and a very kind lady answered. The were indeed subsidizing flights for earthquake relief and aid, but there were regulations on who they could help because of some very generous UKAID funding. As she told me the required documents, I started to turn off. We had all these documents, we are indeed a legit organization, but in our rush to leave the USA I left the file in Tennessee. I had no proof with me whatsoever and no way to get to those papers.

With much gratitude for what MAF was doing for Nepal, we hung up and started putting together the expedition plan for the long trip in. Days of travel, bad timing, rain, and a climb that was not to be looked forward to. We had done the trip once before, and it was hard for us then. On our last trip, the Nepali walked and smiled the whole way up and up and up. Now, we were being told that even the Nepali were having a terrible time making it.

Oh boy.

But hey, you have to do what you have to do to help those in need. So we carried on. We ordered another shipment of battery powered lights for some nearby villages, some plastic to help keep the villagerd dry during monsoon, and we reserved a Land Rover to get us in. We would leave Saturday after church and make it there by Monday. After the long day of planning was over, we went to sleep, looking forward to buying our trekking gear in the morning.

At 5:45am, I woke up in the middle of the peace of God.

In my heart there was pure peace about taking a helicopter, and in my mind was the online location of every document we needed. I had totally forgotten that I made a secure online copy of each and every required document. I knew exactly which ones I needed to send and where it was located in our secure cloud drive. Without even thinking, I reached over, grabbed by laptop, and started writing an email to MAF, explaining our organization and needs, and attaching all needed documents. Then (once everyone else was up) we prayed and asked our partners to pray. Now that I had peace and direction, it was time for faith!

A few hours later I received the email.

If you are the Dustan Stanley listed in these documents, everything should be approved for registration once you come in the office.

That’s all we needed to hear. Instantly, we booked travel back to Kathmandu, including our teammates from the village, and after an amazing church service Saturday morning we took off for the MAF offices in Kathmandu. The entire team was full of peace and faith. The Lord was leading, and no matter where he leads, we go!

When we arrived at the MAF offices it was thirty minutes before closing. We sat down with the MAF team (a cheerful group of experienced missionaries assembled from all over the world. Imagine the Avengers for Jesus, with airplanes). Honestly, I was a little star-struck. I’ve met movie stars and famous singers, and that was amazing, but when I meet veterans who are changing the world in missions and ministry through true humility and action, I’m like a kid. The team walked us through the application process, asked many very straight questions, verifying we were indeed there for earthquake relief.

At the end, the team leader looked at me and said. “We at MAF will add to the UKAID subsidy an additional 40%, so you will only have to pay 10% of the flight cost. That’s around $250 per roundtrip flight for your cargo and your team.”

Wow. I think I started glowing.

$250 from $2,500! MAF and UKAID just made it possible for us to not only continue to help, but to help much more than we first thought we could! This subsidized flight saves us nearly one week of travel each trip, and it spares us the days and days of being so sore we could hardly walk. On top of that, instead of having to rest for an entire day once we finally made it, we would arrive fresh and ready to do the work needed. Our minds would be clear to help the villagers recover from such a disaster. Even more, when we signed the paperwork, we included our Nepali team leader, Lako Lama, as our National Leader. This way he will be able to continue to book flights, even after we are gone, until the government stops all foreign NGOs from operating (late July).

Praise God!

So today, we booked our first two flights, organized three loads of supplies (they really need to run water to the new village and get better toilets before monsoon). We will be dropped off in the village on Monday, along with the first load of relief supplies. We will also airlift some sick and injured villagers and bring them to get care in Kathmandu. On Wednesday, we will be picked up again (and another load of supplies will be dropped off).

The Lord was working this out for months now. From the moment I saved the documents online, to us seeing those two pilots at the airport. Every step of the way is being ordered, and we are thrilled to be in the perfect will of God. Your prayers and giving are making this VERY crooked mountain path straight. Thank you! Know that you are indeed touching many lives in Nepal during their time of need!

If you are not already, will you consider becoming a monthly partner with our relief work here in Nepal, our ministry work in the media, and our goal of training new laborers up in the USA? It’s super easy, just go to the link at the bottom of this email, sign up for an account, and choose SCHEDULED giving. Also, one-time gifts are greatly appreciated! After these next few loads, our current funding will be used and we will need to fundraise for rebuilding after Monsoon.

Keep us in prayer, as we do you!

All in for the Gospel,

Dustan (& Darlene) Stanley

To give, go here www.hasten.tv/hastennations-com/give

For more information about MAF, visit their website here.