The severe earthquake that shook the Himalayan country of Nepal on April 25 also sent shock waves through the family of Wybe Bylsma, 77, a member of Grace Christian Reformed Church in Cobourg, Ontario. Bylsma, who has been traveling through several Asian countries since late March, had recently told family members that he was lodging at a cheap hotel in Kathmandu.
“Of course we wanted to speak with Dad when we heard about the earthquake,” said his daughter Christy Stover, a member of Living Hope CRC in Peterborough. “We tried to call him, but the cell phone number we had for him wouldn’t work. We contacted the Canadian consulate, which confirmed that he was in Nepal but could not locate him. We knew that he would contact us if he was able to. It was important to have people praying for Dad, so I posted about it on Facebook.”
Stover’s Facebook post traveled quickly. Churches across Classis Quinte (the regional group of churches) and beyond prayed for the Nepalese people and for Wybe Bylsma at their Sunday services on April 26. A CBC news crew also interviewed Wybe’s wife, Jean, and daughter for a story broadcast across Canada on Sunday evening.
Very early on Monday morning, April 27, Jean Bylsma got the call she had been waiting for. Wybe was calling from outside the American embassy in Kathmandu, where he was finally able to find a working telephone. Jean reported, “He said he was fine, but the buildings in the city were not safe right now. He and the friends he was visiting were sleeping outdoors. It was so great to hear his voice, and to know that he is safe!”