On April 12, Kinita Schripsema, Kristyn DeNooyer, and Sharon Featherly left for a women’s conference in Nepal. The three women, members of Madison Square Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., work with an organization that buys slaves in Nepal their freedom. The women were in a church service when the Nepal earthquake occurred.
“[The pastor] was about halfway through [the sermon] when the power went out. Since that isn’t unusual in Nepal, he kept preaching and we stayed focused. Within seconds, the room began to shake and we immediately knew it was an earthquake” said Schripsema.
Once the earthquake began, church members held on to each other and prayed. Chairs moved around the building and cracks formed on Cross-Way Community Church’s walls. The three women left the building for an outdoor clearing.
“We grabbed our shoes and while on the clearing, another 6.9 scale tremor hit,” said Schripsema. “We once again huddled together and prayed for God’s hand to hold us.”
DeNooyer, Featherly, and Schripsema spent the night with blankets outside a Nepal home. The next morning they went to the U.S embassy. While DeNooyer and Featherly had U.S passports, Schripsema faced another barrier. As a Canadian citizen, she carried only a permanent resident green card for the U.S. She sang and prayed for help. A guard later notified her that she was allowed access to the embassy.
They had spent their last rupees and prayed for a way to the airport. “We left on free embassy shuttles at noon for our 7:30 p.m flight,” said Schripsema.
“We had an amazing two weeks of conferences with the women of Nepal, encouraging them to grow in their faith. In fact, my talks this year were [about] identity in Christ, spiritual armor, and prayer, said Schripsema. “Little did I know that all those words I shared with the women would be tested in my own life in those 72 hours following the first quake.”