Category Archives: Featured

Morning Glories surround a building destroyed by the earthquake in Nepal

Beauty in the Brokenness

I never imagined my first visit to Nepal would be to lead the communication efforts during the aftermath of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. But here I am.

Morning Glories surround a building destroyed by the earthquake in Nepal

I’m here in the middle of a disaster zone grabbing breakfast with the rest of our emergency response team (ERT), thinking about what I’ve seen so far since I arrived.

Getting up in the mornings after several aftershocks throughout the night is hard. I spent the first few nights in Kathmandu half asleep and half awake. And that’s me—I wasn’t here for the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that shattered the lives of millions in Nepal and surrounding countries. The locals were still very terrified. Even if their homes were still intact, they have been sleeping outdoors for fear that the next time they wouldn’t be so lucky.

The first couple of days, I was in a haze. Jetlag and the rigorous work schedule had me so tired that I was on autopilot getting from the guesthouse to the office.

But although I was exhausted, my heart was (and still is) broken. People are suffering immensely. Most lost their homes; many lost their loved ones.

One morning, our group was unusually quiet during our commute to the ADRA Nepal office. As I walked with a heavy heart I thought, “I don’t think I can bear another story from this earthquake. It’s too sad. My heart is too heavy.”

In that moment, one of our colleagues stopped and gasped in awe. What I saw when I looked up completely took my breath away.

“Beauty in the brokenness,” said Britt Celine, from ADRA Norway as she took a photo of beautiful Morning Glories blooming over what was left of a house destroyed by the quake.

I couldn’t agree with her more.

Beauty in the brokenness.

Until then, I had been focusing on the sadness and desperation of the brokenness. But I wasn’t thinking about how brave our ADRA Nepal staff had been.

Though they had been greatly affected like most, they are our very own Nepali heroes, serving people impacted by the earthquake despite their own needs.

I hadn’t been thinking about how the Nepalese were caring for one another, offering each other food, clearing the rubble, and sharing tarps and tents with their neighbors during the rain.

Then there is the flood of international support. Humanitarian workers from all over the world have poured in to help the people of Nepal. And those who haven’t been able to come have been praying and sharing words of encouragement and financial support.

The losses are great and unimaginable.

But every time there is a disaster, I see resilience in the human spirit and a spirit of service and compassion toward those who are suffering. It gives me hope that the brokenness will never win.

-Natalia López-Thismón

Tent Distributions in Nepal

Shelter Distribution Begins in Nepal

Response to the earthquake in Nepal continues as ADRA begins to distribute much needed shelter to affected families in Dhading and Kavre districts.

Rainfall has already begun in Kathmandu and other affected areas. Meteorologists have predicted rainfall for the next 10 days, creating difficulty and discomfort for those still forced to sleep outside.

“We are working on responding as quickly as possible,” said Robert Patton, ADRA’s emergency response coordinator. “Trying to help protect these families and those who are most vulnerable—children, the elderly, the disabled—from the elements is one of our top priorities.”

Already, ADRA has distributed 1,710 tarps—1,360 in Kavre, where homes have been completely flattened, 345 in Dhading and five in Lalitpur.

Mai Ogawa, a program manager at ADRA Nepal visited Dhading district yesterday in anticipation of another distribution there in coming days.

“I felt helpless when I learned that it takes seven days to walk to the most affected areas. Helicopters have been prioritized for referring injured people and thousands are sleeping in open farming areas with what little they have left,” she explained. “Transportation is our biggest challenge right now.”

How to help

Aid agencies are asking that those who want to help the people of Nepal give cash donations.

“Cash donations enable organizations to respond to urgent needs as they change, which happens frequently in early stages of response,” said Thierry Van Bignoot, ADRA’s Director for Emergency Management. “They are the most efficient and allow us to purchase good locally, ensuring that everything we get is culturally and environmentally appropriate.”
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A cramped street in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Pray for Victims of Earthquake in Nepal

ADRA Emergency Director: “Pray for Victims of Earthquake in Nepal”

Updated on April 25 at 3:44 p.m.

KATHMANDU, NEPAL— A 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook Nepal about 50 miles from its capital, Kathmandu, on Saturday, leveling buildings and killing hundreds. News sources are reporting 1,400 deaths so far, with the death toll rising.

The earthquake hit around midday local time, flattening buildings while locals and tourists scrambled to get outside into open spaces. Tremors have been felt as far from the epicenter as New Delhi.

“First reports suggest that the destruction is widespread and devastating,” said Thierry Van Bignoot, ADRA’s Director for Emergency Management. “At this time, we ask for your prayers for the people of Nepal and for our team on the ground. We are in the process of finding out more about what’s happened there.”

All ADRA staff has been accounted for and are safe.

“I praise God that the ADRA staff is all safe, however, they need our prayers, as do the people of Nepal at this sad time,” said Robert Patton, ADRA’s Emergency Management Advisor in an email communication today. “At this time we know that up to 80 percent of houses closest to the epicenter of the earthquake are damaged or destroyed.”

More information to come as the story develops.

About ADRA

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency International is the humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Its work empowers communities and changes lives around the globe by providing sustainable community development and disaster relief. For more information, visit

From Here to There

Welcome to ADRA’s new blog! We are very excited to have this outlet where we can share not only what we do, but also how and why we do it.

Whether your contribution is a prayer from your heart or a donation from your pocket, we want you to see how your action here changes lives there.

You might be asking where, exactly, is “there?” ADRA currently works in more than 130 countries around the world. In the next few weeks alone, Here & There will take you to Nepal, Mozambique, and Lebanon to see God’s love in action and meet those who have been touched by this ministry.

We’ll also be bringing in our technical experts, not only those based in Silver Spring, but also the local ADRA field staff worldwide, to answer your questions about how wells are dug, how goat banks work, and maybe even teach you a thing or two about gardening ADRA-style.

In the meantime, let me introduce you to the blog team:



Ashley Eisele,
Content Manager

I’m a lifelong writer and the lucky editor of this new blog. Born in Tennessee, but also a citizen of Australia, I answer to both “howdy” and “g’day” if you need to get in touch:



 Erykah St. Louis,
Digital Strategy Associate

  Erykah may not be familiar to you (yet), but
our new website is the product of her artistic
brain and stylish eye. She’s a one-woman digital powerhouse from Canada and a people magnet when she travels.



NataliaNatalia Lopez-Thismon,
Associate Director for Communication

Our communication and PR maven, Natalia, left the Miami Heat to join ADRA. Producing our TV show, this Venezuela native saw more of the world in 6 months than many will get to see in a lifetime.



Lauren Lombard,
Marketing Specialist

An ambassador for ADRA, Lauren travels the country sharing our story at events. She loves being the bridge between the amazing people who make our work possible and those who inspire us.


Michael wall

Michael Rohm, Content Intern

An intern only in title (and pay), Michael is a vital member of our team. This Oregonian is a natural storyteller, a masterful copywriter, and a champion of following every goat trail wherever it may lead.


ADRA Liberia to distribute Christmas Packs to Ebola survivors

MONROVIA, LIBERIA – ADRA Liberia is distributing 800 Christmas Packs to Ebola survivors and their families in five counties in Liberia, including Margibi and Montserrado, the two hardest hit by the virus.

The Christmas Packs—also called solidarity kits—contain disinfectant, laundry and bath soap, one set of bedding, basic clothing, a mattress and pillow and cooking pots. The packs also have food for approximately two months including beans, rice, canned fish, powdered milk, cooking oil and sugar.

Christmas Pack distribution, which will be completed by the end of December, will help meet the basic needs of Ebola survivors and their households during the holiday season. Some households will also receive psychosocial counseling services. Several faith-based partners are supporting this project.

“Though survivors may have lost love ones, come close to death, face stigma in society and have lost livelihood, there is still a community of people who care about them and is ready to support them as they rebuild their lives,” said Annette Witherspoon, Emergency Coordinator at ADRA Liberia.

The Ebola virus has infected a reported 19,340 individuals in West Africa since the outbreak began in March. This includes 7,830 cases in Liberia that led to 3,376 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

In response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa, ADRA has also distributed personal protective equipment (PPE), disinfectants and emergency food supplies. ADRA has been providing educational materials and engaging congregations and communities in awareness activities.

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Cheryl Shaw at