Nischal Shrestha, a freshman studying communication, grew up in Kathmandu, the capitol of Nepal.
He lived in Nepal for 22 years before serving a mission in Minnesota and attending BYU–I.
Shrestha said that after he heard about the earthquake, he was able to confirm his family in Nepal was safe.
“They are very scared because of the aftershocks,” he said. “I don’t think our country, or even the capitol city, was prepared for this earthquake at all.”
Shrestha said there is only one branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Nepal, with about 130 members.
“Last thing I heard was that all members of the Church are safe and fine,” he said.
In Nepal, church meetings are held on Saturdays, and when the earthquake struck, the members were in church.
“Most of the members who go to church were together when the earthquake happened,” Shrestha said.
The government of Nepal does not recognize The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as an official religious organization, so members do not meet in a chapel.
Shrestha said the building church is held in is like other buildings in Nepal; it is made from bricks and concrete.
He said the building was not damaged, and the members stayed there after the earthquake because it was a safe place.
“The Lord is watching over us, and everybody was there,” Shrestha said. “It was like perfect timing: all the members were in church when the earthquake happened, and they were all together. So I don’t know — God works in mysterious ways.”
Shrestha also said the service missionaries are safe.
“They are just staying in the U.S. Embassy, and they are planning to fly back to Bangalore, India, where they are going to be for two weeks until the whole thing settles down and they can come back and help the people.”
For now, Shrestha said he asked his friends to fast and pray for Nepal. He said if he could be in Nepal right now, he would be.
“I would definitely help people in the community,” he said. “Then I would try to help other people in need because I think that’s what Nepal needs right now — that support from each other.”