A lifelong Latter-day Saint, Joel Maycock has attended countless Sabbath services. But the sacrament meeting he participated in on April 25 will be one he’ll forever remember.
Brother Maycock and his sister, Jane Packer, were attending weekly branch services in Kathmandu when a 7.8-magnitude quake struck the Nepalese capital.
“There was a whole lot of rumbling and the power went out,” he said.
Despite the violent shaking, the congregation of about 75 people moved calmly out of the single-story, brick building and huddled together out in the street away from tall structures.
There they waited out a series of strong aftershocks that left the group of Latter-day Saints on edge. They found comfort in one another’s company and shared faith.
“We sang hymns, visited together and prayed,” said Brother Maycock, an Atlanta attorney who was traveling in southern Asia with a tour group that included several other Latter-day Saints. (See May 3, 2015, Church News, page 14.)
The branch president in Kathmandu began making an accounting of the members following what is being called Nepal’s worst seismic disaster in almost a century. The earthquake reportedly claimed over 7,000 lives and injured more than 14,500 more.
No members were harmed.
Brother Maycock and Sister Packer were able to make it safely back to their tour group thanks largely to the kindness of the Nepalese people. Despite the difficult circumstances, many stepped forward and offered assistance to the visiting Church members and their travel mates.
“The people were calm,” he said. “There was no looting or rioting and no widespread panic.”
Brother Maycock’s tour group was able to leave the country two days after the earthquake. While heartsick at the damage caused by the disaster, he found comfort knowing that the Church and many other groups were working together to offer relief.
Jeff Foy, the Church’s emergency response manager, said Church relief funds have been approved “and we are working with our implementing partners.”
The initial Church contribution was used in Nepal to purchase food, tents and other provisions.
Brother Foy said members worldwide may assist those affected by the Nepal quake by donating to the Church’s humanitarian aid fund at ldsphilanthropies.org.
[email protected] @JNSwensen