05 August 2010
"I have four more missions," my soldier son, in Iraq, told me. He is expecting to return to the US soon, but the exact date cannot be known. One thing he does know is that he has four more special assignments to complete. Four more times, he needs to do-- whatever it is that he does-and then his part of the plan is finished. Hopefully, he and the others in his unit will start packing up and preparing for the trip home. I wonder how many more "missions" I have? This summer, I had one-- to Guatemala and Nicaragua. As a result, our team did some things that we hope left blessing and encouragement for some people who need it. Now, I am preparing for another mission-- this one to Nepal. It is going to be a busy time. We have plans that we hope will influence eternity. How many more "missions" will I have? I hope the answer is a LOT. I hope there are many, many more assignments for me where I can be the hands and feet and voice of my God and He uses me to move yet another piece of His plan into place.
12 July 2010
In Nicaragua, we visited the island where we have started a sponsorship program for children of pastors. While waiting for the ferry, one member of our group leaned over a brick wall at the water's edge and spotted a colony of ants on a mission trip. Soon, all four of us were bending over to watch the ants. There must have been hundreds of them rushing horizontally along the wall, each carrying a bright green piece of leaf. A roughly equal number moved quickly in the opposite direction, presumably on a search for a leaf load. They walked in an organized line at a steady pace for quite a distance along the wall before they disappeared from sight. The bright green pieces of leaf fluttered so slightly as they moved and-- well, the whole picture of their project was impressive. Since I have not studied ants very thoroughly, I am not sure whether they intended to eat the leaves or build a nest with it, but whatever their intention they were purposefully and passionately pursuing the goal and they were working together. I felt a strange desire to help them-- perhaps (for example) by moving the plant they wanted closer. I wonder how one goes about communicating and motivating hundreds of ants with this plan for the day? And how does one do the same thing with human beings?
03 July 2010
Americans come on a mission trip to Guatemala in order to have a good time. Maybe the good time is being in another country or traveling with friends or just doing something different. Maybe they want to be part of a building project or feeding poor village kids or developing a relationship with a child in the orphanage. But underlying it all is (or should be)love for the Lord, a desire to serve Him, a longing to DO something to promote His kingdom and a deep sense of following Him with a special project. My favorite part might have been hearing "How Great thou art" in the Spanish church or watching a hungry child lifting his plastic container to receive a scoop of good food from a member of our team at the feeding center. I also loved the motorbike. Up and down the mountain I went, to fetch forgotten items, bring water, check on the sick, move people from one work site to another. For liability reasons, I am the only one allowed to ride it, but this trip, I begged permission for my Nepali partner as well. It would be a little bit nuts for me to do all the driving when his experience was so far beyond mine. His help was a blessing with such a big group. We completed a greenhouse which will provide vegetables for the orphanage, the elder home and the feeding centers. It is a joy to know that the project will continue giving long after we are gone. May the Lord multitply it and use it. Tomorrow, we will be attending church in the village where we did a project last March. we will be presenting a guitar and a box of Bibles to the church and sharing the worship with them.
25 June 2010
The summer team trip to Guatemala and Nicaragua was planned about a year ago. We have been working through deadlines for deposits, ticket purchase, project planning for the last few months, long before the decision was made to bring a Nepali partner back for the summer. I had no plans to take him to Central America, mostly because of the cost, but it was also nice to have someone to "man" the office while Tamara and I are both traveling. New information and tasks come into the office regularly, but the volume of work that we had at the end of May has been divided and conquered. We are not just caught up, but comfortably ahead with everything that is vitally important. Another worker in the office makes an amazing difference. I do not even want to think about the time when he will be gone. Anyway-- I digressed from the story.... Two of our Guatemala trip participants were compelled to cancel due to a medical situation. They welcomed us to use the funds already committed for someone else. The cancellation meant that there was no adult with the group of teens on two of the flights. Our organization had one ( Nepali) adult who could be added to the team to supervise the kids. The financial issue was solved, and the need for work to continue in the office was not urgent,but a visa problem remained. With an American passport, one can enter Guatemala without a visa. Another group of nationalities need a visa, but can apply by mail. Nepal is not in that category. Application in person is required and the Guatemala consulate is not in Lynchburg. But-- thankfully, it is not in the heart of the nation's capital, either. A trip to Silver Spring, Maryland, on a little side street that can be found only by GPS was necessary. We presented the required items: passport pictures, color photo copy of the passport and multiple entry visa to the United States, $25 fee. He was given a short form to fill in-- mostly contact information here and in Guatemala. We were finished. No interview. No questions. No problems. We were promised the passport would begin its journey back to us,in the envelope we provided within 48 hours. The next day, I should not have been surprised when it became possible(schedule wise) for him to continue with us for Nicaragua as well. However-- he would need a Nicaragua visa. Would that mean another trip north? I called the consulate. Does he have a tourist visa or a resident visa for the United States? Answer: tourist visa. Resident visa would have been easier. With a tourist visa, they needed a police report, a health record, among other documents and process time was twenty days minimum. And, so the trip to Nicaragua seemed impossible, until as the conversation was ending, the girl asked one more question. "Are you going to any other Central American countries? Does he have a Guatemalan visa? He can go into Nicaragua on a Guatemalan visa." Who would have thought? Does the God of heaven want this Nepali servant of His in Central America? Yes. Why? I don't really know yet. Can God move His people, even those who have no money at all, to the place where He wants them to be? Yes, He can.
11 June 2010
I arrived in the United States about two weeks ago. Sometimes it take me a while to make the adjustment back to this way of life. My surroundings seem familar, but with an odd sensation that I do not really belong here. This time I brought one of my Nepali partners back with me to spend the summer. He seems to be handling the lifestyle differences well. He can drink water from the tap and ice for drinks is always available. We keep the indoor temperature at a constant level of our choice. We wash clothes and dishes by machine. He has his own bedroom and bathroom for perhaps the first time in his life. But-he is struggling with the fact of so much meat at every meal, even though he does like chicken and fish. He has no intention of becoming a "cow eater" while in America-- which for him is a cultural and personal preference, not a religious reason. This man is not on his "first time out of the mountains." He has traveled before-to India, to Singapore, to Holland. But still, there is no place on earth like America. We go through a "drive through" and get a chicken sandwich (handed to us through the window) for lunch and then on the same day, I give him some chicken dish for dinner as well. Too much. But it is what we do here in America. I bought a rice cooker and a big bag of rice because I know that a huge plate of it for dinner every night is common in Nepal-- with a few cooked vegetables on the side. But we do not do that in America and I just cannot think about rice every day. We've only used it once. He does not ask many questions, but he seemed confused when I entered the driveway only partially, then backed up and aligned the car with the mailbox. "I am getting the mail without getting out from my comfortable seat and air-conditioned car," I told him and he smiled. I showed him what we call, "mountains," and he smiled again. I think he enjoys having his own computer and work station. He has helped us a lot with the office work on that computer and also freely communicates with his family and co-workers back in Nepal. He understands that he can take something from the refrigerator whenever he wants it and just a plug into the wall will have some boiling water within a few minutes. There are many things to enjoy here in America. But I miss the life in Nepal and before long, I think he will as well. We do not have the closeness of families or the interdependency of the Asian group dynamics. We love our independence and probably have more choices, but our relationships are completely different-- both with one another and probably with our God as well. This past Sunday, he was asked to give the closing prayer in the church. With hands raised, he addresses the Lord on behalf of the congregation in his own language. I understood a few words. The rhythm and tone of the words were beautiful and familar. I miss Nepal. And while my friend and partner is seeing a whole new world and I am enjoying it from his eyes, I long to return to his world-- a place where life is not so easy as here, but it is rich in many ways that are just too difficult to explain.
26 May 2010
On 25 May,we made the drive to Chitwan and back in the same day for the important occasion of groundbreaking for the new Maranatha Home. The trip is six hours on a good day, and this was not a good day. We suffered a traffic jam on the return that left us trapped among exhaust belching trucks on one side and an unprotected mountain drop on the other side. Even without the jam, road trips in Nepal are never simple sitting and riding. Driving always means hard stops and starts, constant horn blowing, twisting and curving around narrow mountains roads, close calls with oncoming vehicles, heat and dust. I actually love the road travel in Nepal, but they are not easy days. However, this note is about the groundbreaking, which I suppose should really be called a "rock laying." In actual fact, ground was already broken for the new children's home. Fencing, about 12 feet high, already surrounded the property. Work on a well was already started in one corner. In preparation for today's event, large rectangular holes were dug for the pillars that would support the foundation of the building. As we gathered, I counted nineteen men in attendance and I, the only woman. About half were pastors or Maranatha committee members. The construction contractor was among us. The others were day laborers, the guys who had already built the fence and dug the holes. It was so hot and only one small tree provided any shade. We all huddled under it until time to begin. I have participated in these events in the past for other buildings we have funded, such as the village churches. The holes are usually a couple feet deep and equally wide. THESE holes were deeper than I am tall and about five feet square. There were two of them across and four down each side. It is going to be a huge building. Praise the Lord! The plan was to put me into one of the holes to lay the first foundation stone. I could do that, but a conversation began (in Nepali, but I understood most of it)about how to get me back out of the hole. I wondered about that myself and had no suggestion to contribute. Rapture might be the only way I could get out. Arjun Dai thought there were too many loose clods of dirt in the hole, so directed one of the construction laborers to go down and throw them out. As discussion for the plans for our ceremony continued, the boy hopped into the hole and threw out the clods. When he finished, he stretched his reach, placing fingertips on the edge and nimbly pulled himself out. My own return to the surface, if it happened at all, was not going to be that easy. There was nothing I could do about it. In just a few minutes, if the men told me to go down into the hole, that is what I was going to have to do. I was not the one in charge of this. It happened that someone arrived with small handmade wooden ladder taken from a nearby home. Into the hole it went, increasing my chances of doing this thing, but still did not completely resolve the athletic challenge. To my relief, it was decided that Anand, with the pastor and three other men with leadership roles in the project would go into the hole. My honor was to hand each of them a stone which would be the beginning of the foundation. This was a good idea and I was happy. However, the stones were about 18 inches long and I cannot estimate the weight. I was to lift each one and bend over to hand it WAY DOWN to a man who would definitely prefer that it not fall on his bare feet. I did it-- then watched as they held the stones and prayed for this building and this ministy. Anand balanced his stone with one arm, while slapping very recently mixed concrete in the place where it was to go, then he carefully set it. The beginning of this building was accomplished in that moment. So much had gone on before--and so much yet to be done, but we twenty people witnessed and invested this special moment together. May the Lord multiply His work. More concrete was dropped for the next stone until all five were placed. The men, still in the hole, held hands in a circle and voices raised to the Lord once again. The unsaved contractor and all but one laborer(one who was a believer)stood silently and waited as we prayed and praised for quite a few minutes. The mixture of Christian and Hindu seemed appropriate. Everything done at Maranatha will be in the midst and under they eyes of the village people. One laborer praising among the silent ones seemed symbolic of the job we face. I cannot describe the blessing of being present for this simple event and the worth of giving the day and the hard travel to be there. Thank you Lord for this beautiful blessing. As we turned to leave, the laborers began throwing concrete and rocks into our hole with amazing speed. They knew what to do and they gave their whole strength in the blazing sun to the task. May we do the same with the work of speaking the gospel to this village and those that surround it. May the light shine from Maranatha Children's Home and Training Center. We pray for a church on these grounds in the coming days and for many, many lives changed for eternity.
21 May 2010
About one year ago, we received a new little boy into one of our children's homes. Bidham's mother had abandoned the family years earlier, and his father was severely mentally ill-- so much so that he could not even feed himself and was given to bouts of violence. Bidham was small for his stated age, certainly under nourished and emotionally withdrawn. He spoke a tribal language that no one in the home could speak or understand. Over the summer of 2009, he learned a working knowledge of Nepali and was showing good interest in the Bible and worship time which happens twice daily. In September, he was killed when a delivery trucked backed over him, crushing his skull and spreading brains for more than 2 feet. I arrived within a half hour of his death and sat in the road by the body as the villagers gathered. They were preparing to riot and attempt to take the driver to beat him to death or as an alternative, burn him alive in the vehicle. The police surrounded the truck, but could not move him to safety because of the bonfires planted by the villagers fore and aft the truck and it was certain death to try to walk him out. I was caught in the tear gas as police tried to control the angry crowd. Today, when I visited the home, I looked into a near duplicate of Bidham's face as I met his younger sister, Asha. She had been living with a grandmother, who could no longer care for her. Like him, when he first came, she cannot speak Nepali. And like many village kids, she was afraid of the foreigner who wanted to take her photo. Petrified, she stood against the wall, tolerating the procedure. An older girl held each of her hands as they oriented her to her new home and environment. I slept in a corner bedroom on the third floor. I was comfortable and safe. So was Asha. I'd had a good dinner. So did Asha. I had taught the devotion time for the children. I began by asking for favorite Bible verses. Child after child stood to recite in English. Asha will learn here-- learn things that can make an eternity difference for her. Asha-- her name is the Nepali word for HOPE.
It is a known phenomenon that we always have the choice of whether to look at the good or the bad in any given situation. Negativity breeds more of the same--and our God does give joy in the work, if we are not too blind and stupid to experience it. I think I love Bangladesh almost as much as Nepal. I do not have as MUCH to love there and we have not been working with them for nearly as long. One little children's home and a small sponsorship program for children of pastors is the total of Allow's presence in Bangladesh. I had three days planned for Bangladesh, not counting travel days on each end. I lost one day when my flight was finally canceled after two(long)delays. Shanti,wife of my main partner in Nepal, traveled with me. I introduced her as my "boss's wife" to which she kept responding "No,no" but really is not off the truth. We made a good team. I was good for moving us to the front of lines.(When the foreigner was beckoned forward as often happens, I took her with me.) She was good for communication. To my amazement,she could speak Bengali. She said she could not, but she did talk to them (children in the program, taxi drivers, store keepers, passersby) and they responded, often moving us along in whatever our purpose. As I write this note, all of the negative things flood my mind. I could describe the suffocating heat, the horrible hotel provided by the airline after the last cancellation, the annoyance of going through the extensive security procedures twice for one flight-- and these things pale as I remember the nightmare of the return travel-- probably my worst airport experience ever. OR I could choose to share about the two new little girls now under our care in Light and Life Home. They are two precious little lives, now connected with mine, now changed from a life of terrible need to something approaching what childhood should be. I could remember the beautiful Bay of Bengal and my night time solo swim-- something I love to do. We visited the mission hospital and we walked into the steaming jungle to visit a man who needed the Lord-- almost ready to trust, but held back by his devout Muslim wife. I could focus my memory on the new children's home building project in the tribal mountain area. As soon as it opens, it will make an incredible difference in the life of every carefully chosen child to enter it-- and as the ministry progresses, those children will provide openings to new villages and families to be reached. Praise God for what He is doing,and allows us to join it with Him. Yes! I can sleep in dirt and mold, mosquitoes, noise and broken plumbing. Yes! I can spend the days(and nights) soaking wet and sticky from the terrific heat. YES! I can work through all kinds of transportation hassles to see two little girls who are safe, fed, enrolled in school and learning about the Lord Jesus. We did not have a big project for this trip or important objectives that make a good report. It was just a "sponsorship maintenance/management" visit. I hope we encouraged the Bengali partner. I hope this note encourages our Allow family. The work moves on-- in Bangladesh.
12 May 2010
Jeremiah is an interesting fellow. He did not want the job of prophet and did not have an especially successful career at it-- but God ORDAINED him as a prophet for the nations and it does seem that he followed faithfully. I have been studying and praying over Jeremiah and a few other passages for over a week now, as I prepared for the Bible conference that was completed today. Sometimes, when I prepare messages, they just seem to come out of my hands. I read some Scripture and perhaps a commentary to help me start. Then I lay my hands on the keyboard, think of a title, and by that time, my fingers are usually flying to keep up with my thoughts. I did not have that experience this time. The preparation was a struggle and my little brain seemed to be having an off day- every day. Sin can cause that, or excessive stress(probably covered in the sin category) or maybe the Lord just was not going to give me a message from His Word. I couldn't agree more that I am an unlikely vessel, yet here I am. By the grace of God, I am what I am (I Cor 15:10), Paul wrote, and it applies to me as well. I had four messages ready before the start of the conference yesterday. I taught in one of our partner churches in Butwal, then repeated the same material for a village daughter church today. IT WAS SO HOT. It has been a while since I have taught in these conditions and I think I was at least a year younger at the time. No need to worry about any stage fright as I struggled to survive-- breathing, thirst, lethargy, sleepiness (though I'd had a full night's rest)were all factors in my own life and the listeners seemed only slightly better adapted. Now, after the conference ended this afternoon, we drove six hours to Trust Home. They were having their devotion late, but I went straight to the fellowship room from the car and arrived in time to teach. With nothing else prepared, they got a few nuggets from Jeremiah's life and will get a few more tomorrow morning. I love being here-- at Trust Home. I only have two nights, but it is enough to refresh and encourage me.
04 May 2010
Nepal is under a major Maoist bundha, in fact, as I write, we are in the third day of the strike. Schools, businesses, government offices are all closed and no motor vehicles are allowed on the roads. To drive is to disrespect the cause and with thousands of Maoists gathering and marching in the city, that is not a good idea. Only emergency vehicles and tourist buses (which are difficult to get and only from the airport) are allowed to run. Other vehicles pass occasionally, but they take the risk of vandalism or even burning. My group was in a hotel during the last two days of their time in Nepal. We were so grateful that our Nepali friend and leader found it for us. The crucial characteristic was that the location was within walking distance of the airport and that was very handy on the day of their departure. However, I was not leaving Nepal and I had no desire and also no reservation to stay in this hotel. After the noon check out time, which had actually already passed, I was going to be homeless. Actually, I do have a home, but no way to get there during a bundha. It was Indian-run hotel and mainly served Indian people coming for a pilgrimage to the big Hindu temple just across the street. No one was really rude to us, but personally,I did not feel very welcome or comfortable in the environment. This was an unusual experience for me, because I am usually happily satisfied anywhere in Nepal and poor standards are not a problem for me. If I had Nepali friends with me, my attitude would probably have been better, but circumstances as they were, I wanted to go somewhere (almost anywhere) else. I asked the Lord to find me another place to live after the group left and waited to see how He would do it-- having no idea myself. When I went downstairs to pay the hotel bill, one of my Nepali partners was waiting at the desk. (Sent in answer to my prayer?) He was on foot, come to meet some Korean guests at the airport but first stopped by to see me. He planned to hire a tourist van for them and invited me to come along with him. Within the hour of my prayer, I was on the other side of the huge city of Kathmandu, in familiar surroundings and with Nepali people I knew and loved. Now a variety of housing options and invitations were available to me, but I was not surprised when the Lord showed a way that I could get home-- that is to Godawari, the place where I have a room with a Nepali family. I wish that I could explain to Americans what a miracle it is that I slept in my own bed last night-- but it is just one small thing that the Lord does here in Nepal.
30 April 2010
Jomson is NOT the top of the world, but it seemed so to me as I stood on a small plateau surrounded by and in the midst of the spectacular Himalaya. The beauty and majesty of this piece of creation is indescribable and moving to any heart. I do not know exactly how high these mountains are, but high enough that several members of our group had headaches. I did not have any problem. I had the medicine for altitude sickness, but kept forgetting to take it. By the time I remembered, I was having no symptoms and it seemed unnecessary. Few people come here and those who do are intent on trekking or climbing the mountains. But--our group of ten Americans, eleven Tibetans, one Nepali came to bring the gospel to the people who live here. The first village we visited was reached by bus. We packed into the rattletrap vehicle and proceeded onto some terrain that would not be good for those who embrace safety and security over adventure and challenge. The roads were unpaved and gently defined around steep cliffs with barely enough space for the 4 wheels. We looked over the unprotected drops and hoped the brakes were in better condition than the rest of the bus. The possibility that on some occasions two vehicles might need to pass did not seem to be considered by the folks who built the road. We gathered together to pray before Dolma asked permission from a school master to share the gospel with the children. We should not have been surprised that he said, yes. Our kids sang gospel songs in Tibetan and Dolma shared for a few minutes. Each child received tracts which will certainly be taken into the homes. In most cases, the Americans were observers to the actual outreach as we walked along speaking to those who showed interest and offering tracts to almost everyone we passed. It is best for Tibetans to be approached by Tibetans to lessen the perception of Christianity as a western religion. But the Americans were a part of it. We helped train these kids. We funded. We prayed. Our God led. It was a precious blessing to see the fruit in the lives of our kids as Trust Home reaches out and begins to plant the seeds in the remote areas.
Weddings are always special occasions in the lives of the participants and their families. But this Tibetan/Nepali wedding with American pastor officiating and gospel message presented was unique to everyone in attendance. Among the 500-550 people were a group of Tibetan Buddhists who may never have heard the gospel before-- and may never again. The bride is a Tibetan, but she is not a Buddhist. She is one of the very few Tibetan Christ followers in the world. Her new Nepali husband is also a committed Christian believer, but a number of friends and relatives who attended are Hindu. And so the American pastor had a challenging task in the presentation of the gospel to these diverse groups and to make the wedding special for the couple as well. He did an outstanding job, with mannerisms that fit the Asian cultures before him perfectly. In a gracious voice, as if sitting in a living room, he made a clear picture with words to show the gospel for people with no Christian foundation or experience. There was no invitation or request for a response by lifting hands. This audience would not have understood any of that and even I (with my traditional church background)cringe at the thought of asking a newly decided believer to be public immediately. The goal was to feed just a small bite of food, to draw the heart, to create an atmosphere where another step could be taken. The wedding was a mixture of cultures and languages. Both of the young man's parents walked with him to the platform. I did not know until a few minutes before the fact, that I would be escorting the bride, along with Dolma and the girl's birth mother. Hymns were sung in Nepali and Tibetan. Tibetan dances were performed. Testimonies were spoken. Rings were exchanged. An important part of a wedding in Asia is the signing of the wedding certificate. The parents and pastors involved all signed. Dolma and Arjun signed. I was also included and then the certificate presented to the couple as a proof (I suppose) of their marriage with the blessing of all these documented. My special memory of the ceremony came after Arjun signed the certificate. He put his hand on the girl's head and leaned over to whisper something to her. It made her cry and Arjun was also crying as he left the platform- a tender moment between a daughter and the father who raised her.
23 April 2010
Broken things--whether it is an object, a relationship, an appointment, or bone need immediate attention for the best chance of restoration. I actually use my little finger (right hand) more than I would have thought. Only one example is that it has a significant role in typing on a keyboard which is something I do a lot. However, back in early March, when I tried to use it to break my fall on a slippery, sloped surface, it was not up to the task and indeed in the effort, itself was broken. Now I do not have medical confirmation about that-- but as a professional nurse registered in the state of Virginia with a history of emergency department practice AND the one directly experiencing the symptoms, I am certain it is broken. I did not seek a medical evaluation when it first occurred because I was in GUATEMALA with a group. I was BUSY with lots of logistics to keep running smoothly and what will they do for a finger anyway, except splint it? I could do that myself--but I didn't. After Guatemala, my life did not slow and has not yet. I am in Nepal now, with trips to two other countries in between Guatemala and Nepal, and I am working on plans to go to Bangladesh in another week or so. Anyway, it has been 6 weeks and the finger is still painful and swollen and crooked. It might never be the same again. If I had taken proper care of it, it would probably be straight and painfree by now. Broken lives of children are all around me. The children have been damaged, but have the chance to be whole if we deal with their needs now. If we don't, things will continue to be painful for them as they face the future. They may grow up crooked. They may not ever be what they could have been, if only for a little intervention now. I was too busy to do what my little finger needed. Other priorities flooded my day and demanded my time. I thought it would be all right. But now, it might be too late.
22 April 2010
I arrived at Trust Home late last night, the place where we shelter, feed and educate 84 children who are also discipled daily. Today, we had the worst hail storm of my lifetime. Warning came as for any summer storm. The skies grew dark quickly, the wind picked up and the lightening flashed. Then, like a bucket spilling its contents, chunks of hail began battering the roof. Most were the size of a golf ball, but some approached the size of tennis balls. The sheer force and quantity of them was amazing. The sound was so loud, we could not talk with one another. Open "shutter" windows meant a soaking for whatever was on the inside of them and trying to shut them once the storm was in progress was actually dangerous. The assault continued for at least 30 minutes by most estimates. When it was over, ice chunks lay everywhere, completely covering the ground and accumulated into piles in some places. The crops in the adjoining lot were flat on the ground. The potted flowers all around Trust Home were bent and broken, all blooms gone. And--one more thing happened-- the puppy died. He was left out in the storm and the poor thing was literally stoned to death. I would have gone out for him if I had known. But I did not know. I just stayed safe and warm and dry in my room. He was unable to find shelter and no one helped him. The small boys cried for him. One cried all through the devotion time, as I held him in my arms. I cried a little bit too. I did not even know the puppy, but what a horrible thing to happen, and he could have been protected and saved so easily. But now it is too late to do anything-- too late for him. But maybe something else that I do can be significant, can make a difference-- before a hail storm comes and makes it too late.
19 April 2010
Today, I stood on the land which will be the new home for Maranatha Children's Home in Nepal. They always told me it was BIG, in fact they told me exactly how big, but it was too hard for my little brain to compare Nepali ropani to American acres. I saw the land when we first bought it, but crops were growing and the boundaries were impossible to identify. But this time was different. The crops have been harvested and the perimeter wall has been built. WOW. The land is completely flat, which is difficult to find in Nepal. It is in a quiet village, a little far from the main road-- which makes transportation inconvenient, but everything else-- such as noise, safety, etc is better. The well is the next step and it is in progress. They want to make a "deep bore" well, rather than the less expensive, but more common hand dug variety.The main advantage is that the deep bore water is drinkable. The partner shared the plans for the place to put the house. Much of the land will still be in crops-- used for important training for these kids who will need to survive back in their villages and also important for providing a lot of their own food. The dream that we have dreamed for the past few years is starting too happen. Please pray for this important ministry. We hope to have space for 50 children and a training center for pastors and Village Evangelism gatherings--medical clinics, literacy training, sewing. We also want to plant a church on the property. The children will be "interns" in the outreach programs and in the life of the church. Maranatha! O Lord Come!
16 April 2010
Timothy Home has increased one to make a total of seven boys,living in the city of Kathmandu, Nepal. Somaj is very small for the eleven years of life he claims and certainly undernourished. He has spent those eleven years in a village, a far different life from the busy city. CLASS THREE was stated as his education, but the local school here tested him and assigned class one. It is not likely that he had ever seen a foreigner before and certainly never been close to one, never been photographed by one-- but we have to do that to prepare for a --yet unknown-- sponsor who will join us to provide for his needs. He has no idea what is about to happen to him, what his life will be like or how to grasp so many new experiences. He is wearing clothing that belongs to the other boys. But-- he has a clean bed in a safe place and a full stomach, just since last night. If he will study faithfully, he will get a good education and he will be fully involved in the strong children's program of one of our partner churches, only a short walk away. Please pray for Somaj as he faces this adjustment period.
07 April 2010
I seem to spend my life these days confused about whether I am in "recovery from trip" mode or "preparing for trip" mode. People are asking me if I am really busy (YES), when I am leaving again (12 APRIL), if they can still get a letter in for their sponsored child (YES, but QUICKLY PLEASE). On Monday evening,I will be enduring the hours once again that are necessary for travel to Nepal, but once I arrive, my life will shift to a completely different kind of busy-- and I long for that to come. Please pray for the decisions that must be made-some that will effect a child's life for years to come. My own part in this will be small. One of our pastors or children's home partners will have already evaluated a situation before it come to me. Please pray for the teaching/presenting of God's Word. I am already scheduled for the third day after I arrive in the country. With so many small issues filling my mind and time, I cannot focus on preparation here, but the pressure will be fully upon me soon. And finally, please pray that whatever comes, however Allow is impacting the beloved in Nepal that it will fully please our Lord.
01 April 2010
Hello Everyone, I am just starting with the concept of blog. I appreciate your patience and suggestions as I am learning this new communication tool. The following notes are working "backwards" from the most recent ministry trip. Actually all of these are pretty recent. I have had a heavy travel schedule in the past few months. Holy land..... I left the land of the Bible only a few days ago, full of anticipation for the future. Our Allow The Children involvement is small here, but opportunities abound to be a blessing to believers in need and a part of bringing the lost to the Savior. We are working with a small children's home for boys in Ramallah. This city is the capital for the Palestinians. Crime level among the residents is low. It is safe for a woman to walk alone on the streets in the night. But these people know violence-- all of them. The pain of the past and the present living conditions is in their eyes and not far from their conversations. Americans or any kind of foreigner are not common guests, but they made me feel welcome and accepted among them. We are working with this partner ministry to disciple boys to be come godly men. One boy at a time-- to make a difference in the Holy Land. Nicaragua....I had a "layover" in the US of less than 48 hours between return from Nicaragua and departure to Israel. Nicaragua was a sweet break as we shared some time with the children of Hagar de Ninos Belen in the city of Managua. We also launched a new pastor's children program, as we have in several of the other countries. We screened one child from each pastor's family for sponsorship. This blesses the pastor as well as his child and gives the opportunity for some prayer support between the American sponsor and the pastor in the field. Guatemala... We had a wonderful ministry trip with the senior class of Timberlake Christian Schools. The students funded a home for a pastor and did some painting and other work on the church. They visited homes in the village and successfully drew the people, filling the little church, to hear the Word of God on Sunday. They fed poor children gathered in the community dump. They played with orphanage kids and developed relationships that blessed both ways. We are looking forward to our next group going to Guatemala at the end of June. Nepal... I will be leaving for Nepal on 12 April. This is my usual twice yearly ministry time, with certainly some definite objectives, but the Lord generously fills all of the time once I am on the ground. I will be taking new pictures and updates of children in our program, screening some new children that our partners request for the program. I will be teaching Bible to adults in churches and a small Bible college and children's devotions in the homes. We have a group coming in at the end of April for about a week of outreach in the high mountain area of Jomson. And... somewhere within the seven weeks that I will be out, I need to schedule some time with our Bangladesh ministry. I will return to the US at the end of May. I am grateful for those of you who pray so faithfully.