A mission group from Biddeford, Maine, is safe after surviving a devastating earthquake in Nepal.
The group 360 Maine, which is sponsored by the New Life Church in Biddeford, traveled to Nepal about two months ago to help build schools in impoverished towns. It is made up of five teenagers who are taking a gap year between high school and college, and two adult staff members. At least one is from Maine, and one is from New Hampshire.
The teenagers signed up for the trip hoping to see the world and make a difference- but they never could have imagined how much they would be needed in Nepal.
"Right place, wrong time -- at the right time? I don't know where to put it, but I do think that we can have the most significant impact that we've ever had in Nepal at this time," said 360 Maine Director Josh Lebel.
Lebel left Nepal just days before the earthquake. He was able to make contact with the mission group hours later to confirm that they were alright.
The group was supposed to fly out of Nepal by mid-Maine, but now they aren't sure when a flight will be available. Until then, they want to stay in Nepal and help the survivors.
"We have a great opportunity to bless the nation of Nepal and help in their darkest hour, so we feel like this is an opportunity, not just a problem," said Lebel.
The teens are in the Pokhara region of Nepal, and have access to Gurkha. They say most of the aid is going, and staying in, the Kathmandu area- and there are people in other places who need help.
"They're getting phone calls by the hour saying we need help, we need people, we need resources, so it's very dire," said Lebel.
They have set up a Go Fund Me page to collect donations for food, water, and vehicles. For more information, visit the 360 Maine fundraising page.