By Chris Johnson,
Director of Communications

A wonderful month of April took a tragic turn toward the end of the month as a massive earthquake struck the exotic country of Nepal, where we built our first international houses.

We've since found out that the homes we've built in the Trishuli village just 30 miles from the quake's center are all safe and sound, as are our partner families in the community. But there is now even more work to be done in Trishuli and all across the nation. If you would like to contribute to our disaster recovery fund, please click here.

Here's a quick look at some of the other events and news around The Fuller Center for Housing from the past month:

The Fuller Center's Director of International Field Operations, Ryan Iafigliola, visited Nepal in April 2012, where we was inspired by the beauty of the land and the determination of the Nepalese people.

Next month, he planned to return to Nepal to build Fuller Center homes, including what would have been our 1,000th international home. It was part of how he and his recent bride wanted to celebrate their marriage. They even asked people to give to our work in Nepal in lieu of wedding gifts.

That trip is not canceled, but it certainly is in jeopardy for the time being because of the devastation in Nepal. It's the first country outside the United States where we worked, and we will be there for many more years helping the Nepalese people rebuild. It will be a lot like our work in Haiti now, which keeps growing long after the spotlight has faded from its 2010 disaster. We don't work in disaster response but in disaster recovery. We will be there for the long haul.

Meanwhile, Ryan has asked that people do something very important in response to the disaster: Pray. He has allowed us to share a note he wrote to friends and family yesterday:

Please pray for Nepal. Here's how you can pray for Nepal:

By David Snell,
President, The Fuller Center for Housing

I first traveled to Nepal in September of 2005.  This was one of the two places that set The Fuller Center for Housing on the path to becoming a worldwide housing ministry.  (The other was post-Katrina Shreveport.)  I had been fascinated by that part of the world from my earliest memories, and visiting Kathmandu was a dream come true.

Nepal is a mystical place.  From the moment you land, with Pampas grass fronds waving their greeting, you know that adventure awaits.  Kathmandu is an ancient city with Hindu temples and shrines at every corner.  The Chinese destruction of Tibet has brought many Buddhists into the country, bringing their temples and customs as well.  Visiting Nepal is like stepping back in time.   Way back.

Nepal has changed since my first visit there.  Just ten years ago the civil war with the Maoists was taking lives, the king was on his throne, and any Nepali who converted to Christianity was in violation of constitutional prohibitions.  Today the war is over, the king has been deposed, and new laws allow for religious freedom.  Nepal is a country with one foot in the Middle Ages and the other cautiously stepping into the 21st century.

It is one of the world’s poorest countries.  In the midst of ancient splendor can be found some of the worst housing conditions I’ve encountered.  A quarter of the population lives below the poverty line and the need for decent housing was great before the earthquake struck.  Samuel Tamang, our man on the ground there, reports that up to 90% of the houses in the central hill country have been destroyed.  Trishuli, where we are working now and which was going to be the site of our 1,000th international house next month, is in the heart of the hill country or, as they call it there, the ‘hilly’ country.

By David Snell,

It’s springtime in South Georgia.  The flowering trees are bursting with color and everywhere you look it’s green or greening.  Millard used to say that the Northeast has its colorful autumn and California has nice weather almost anytime, but here in Americus we have April.  And it is magnificent.  Once again we’re awed by the earth’s great cycle of rebirth.

There’s eloquence in the fact that Easter comes during this season of new beginnings.   Easter marks the celebration that defines Christianity.  While many religions teach kindness and call on their believers to care for one another, only Christianity can claim the redemption that comes through Jesus' death and the promise of salvation that comes through His resurrection.

Those two miraculous events define our belief system, and we will most appreciate them when we come to the end of this life.  In the meantime, though, it's what He taught during the three years before His death and resurrection that should guide how we behave before we get to the end.

His message was a simple one—love one another. He walked us through a number of ways of doing that, but the basic message was always the same—love one another.  When Jesus was asked to name the greatest commandment He replied, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

By Chris Johnson,
Director of Communications

On February 2, Groundhog Punxsutawny Phil emerged from his house and saw his shadow, guaranteeing six more weeks of winter. In an unpreceented move, The Fuller Center for Housing has since seized his home and given it to a more deserving family of opossums — at least until Phil decides to reconsider whether he actually saw his shadow.