Wednesday, May 27, 2015

"Our Home Is Gone, But We Are Happy"

We met Yak on our trip to Nepal.  He is a member of the Kathmandu branch. Yak Adhikari (no relation to Bishnu Adhikari) was born in a remote village in Nepal. His father was disabled and his mother was not able to support him any longer.  When he was about 8 years old, his mother dropped him off in the bigger city of Kathmandu for him to seek his fortune and his survival.  Yak did what he could to survive.  He took in odd jobs and lived on the street as one of the many street kids.  Sometimes he wouldn’t get paid for the work he did, or would get beaten. He only had a 4thgrade education before he had to drop out of school entirely.

Eventually he got a job as a rickshaw driver.  One of his customers was a wealthy Danish business man who took a liking to Yak.  The man was also a Latter-day Saint. He took Yak under his wing, hired him for translation services and other jobs, and stayed in touch with him in between business trips.  In the process, he also taught Yak the Gospel, and eventually Yak joined the Church.  Later, he was privileged to serve a mission to New Delhi, India, all because of the kindness of his Danish benefactor. 

Following his mission, he wanted to continue his schooling.  Again, his Danish friend helped with the expenses.  Yak started back to school with 8 and 9 year olds, picking up where he left off from the 4th grade, in his ambitious goal to someday become a doctor.  He studied and studied.  In 1 ½ years he made it to the 10thgrade.  Today he is 24 years old and is continuing his studies through the generosity of his Danish friend.

Yak also takes care of his two younger siblings.  His 14 year old sister, Ramila, and 12 year old brother, Janak, are pictured above with Yak in the center.  He also is raising his 3 year old nephew.  They live in a one room windowless hostel while they go to school.  He loves his mother, who still lives in the village, and is very close to her. He stays in touch with her as he works hard to raise this little sibling-family with an education.

When the 7.8 earthquake hit on April 25th, they were at church with the rest of the Kathmandu Branch. They ran outside the building like everyone else and stayed for a while with the saints, until people began to filter off to their individual homes or to the villages to see how their families were.  Yak and his sibling-family returned to the nearly empty, damaged, hostel.  No one wanted to stay indoors. The aftershocks kept going, unnerving everyone. 

Members of the branch huddle outside the Church immediately following the first earthquake.

Someone then approached him and said, “I know you.”  Yak replied, “I don’t think I know who you are.”  But the man said, “I know you.  I think you need a tarp,” and handed him a large tarp. 

That night, while so many others were without any kind of shelter, he and his sibling-family were under cover from the elements because of the kindness of someone he didn’t know.

When he later visited his mother in the village, he saw the devastation and all the ruined homes.  He took his tarp and gave it away to those in greater need than he.

Back in Kathmandu, the Church began to receive relief supplies and gave him a tarp since he no longer had one.  He went right back to the village and shared his tarp with his family.

Elder Funk of the Asia Area Presidency visited Nepal recently to meet with the saints and strengthen and encourage them.  Elder Funk spoke to Yak and asked how he was.  “My family is safe,” he said.  “Our home is gone, but we are happy.”

Members of the Kathmandu Branch, several weeks after the earthquakes.

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