21 December 2012

Christmas Trip 2012

Every year, we need to collect materials for our sponsorship program. We need new photos of the children, progress reports with information updated and we try to get each child to write a letter  or draw a picture for the sponsor. As the program grows, the  annual  "admin"  task become more difficult and time consuming as well.  I used to do this alone,  then with  Tamara along  to do the photography.  But this year, we decided to form a little team to go along with us and help. We scheduled the trip for December so to pack and give the Christmas packages at the same time. What an exciting time it was to see poor children, who rarely get anything new, as they opened their bags. We took a few small things to add into the bags,  but most of it was collected and packaged by the Nepali partner for each  program and  funded from our Christmas giving.  We needed to visit every children's home and every church sponsorship program  during the two weeks  planned for this team.  At each stop, we prepared the gift bags. We gathered the children ( and the parents in the case of the church sponsorship programs) and taught from the Christmas story.  If the child had  entered our program within the last year, s/he might be hearing this  Story for the very first time. It is good to stop and ponder that even tasks that seem  familiar and ordinary to us-- such as telling the Christmas  Story, might be profoundly new to someone else.  Most of us in the US do not even know when or remember how we heard it for the first time. It might be part of our faith, but it is also part of our culture. The women on the team were a huge help as we continued with the work-- taking photos, filling in  progress report sheets, distributing pens  for letters and crayons for pictures,  making sure the names and ID codes are correct on each one.  We gave each child his gift. We processed some new children into the program   and updated the list as we heard of some who had "graduated" out. There is a lot of administrative work involved in a sponsorship program.  But it is very satisfying to look around a room and see children who could never have attended school without the help.  We saw children receive new Bibles and jackets, school tablets and candy. Widows and pastors are encouraged as they know that an American sponsor cares about them personally-- just as the Lord cares for each of us personally--and that sponsor is helping to meet their child's needs. As we sat with children in our children's homes, it is a little scary to think of the responsibility on the this little ministry as the  full support of orphans and abandoned children rest upon us. But-- it is the work the Lord has given to us.  We trust Him in it.  And  I do love the job.....
    The women on this team received an excellent overview of our ministry in  Nepal. They visited most of the areas where we work and experienced a little bit of what life is like in   Nepal-- such as  the food, the  rough mountain roads, the unheated buildings and the lack of hot water in the shower.  One of the places we  worked was Trisuli-- a village up in the mountains, where-- as far as  I know-- no foreigner has ever gone, except those with  Allow  The Children. The little church in   Trisuli  rests on a ledge of ground carved out of the side of the mountain.  One is wise to avoid walking too close to the edge,  where the drop is too far to see all the way down. The space between the drop off and the side of the church building, is perhaps not as wide as I would choose.  I often wonder about the children getting too close to the edge. Why do  they not put up some kind of fence or safety barrier.  But  I suppose if they did, the whole world of these people would need to be fenced. They would probably wonder how we can live with busy streets coming right up against our property and no protective fence. In Trisuli, we slept all together on  the floor in one room.  The toilet required a short hike, which was no problem, except for the cliff edge which was still there in the dark and the leopards which were also there- somewhere in the dark.  No I am not kidding. This was a missionary trip, not a tourist experience. Yes.  I love it.