Well, now that we have a day of no set plans I will take a few minutes to let everyone know how things are going. I have been majorly slacking on writing on here.
Right now we are in Kathmandu taking a day of rest/being touristy. I stayed back at the house because I want to rest and build some strength up so that I can hopefully be well enough to hike, teach, and keep up with the rest of the group. I got sick about 4 or 5 days ago and I've probably lost at least 10 pounds. The last few days have been hard on me physically and spiritually because I've been finding it difficult to keep a good attitude when my health is not the best. I sometimes catch myself wondering why God sent me here if I was going to feel sick and miserable for so much of the time spent here. But then I remember that if I helped even one person to come to know and believe in Jesus Christ that my trip here was not in vain.
Before I got sick, I did have a great time. It was amazing to go into villages where the people were so welcoming and grateful to have us. Listening to the kids sing songs of praise and play instruments was very cool. It's so interesting to experience this different culture and knowing that even though we are so different, we can all have one thing in common, which is faith. Yesterday when we got to a church, there were about 150-200 kids outside jumping up and down, clapping, and chanting WEL-COME WEL-COME! It was really cool and I felt really honored to be there. They put necklaces with real flowers around our necks before we walked inside and then we all piled into the church to talk about the Gospel. I didn't teach because I wasn't feeling well enough to stand and use enthusiasm in the heat but I was glad I could still at least make it there. Afterwords, they gave us food and gifts. The fresh pineapple they gave us was really really good even though I couldn't stomach many things.
Another new experience for me was being in a vehicle that was completely packed to the brim with people. We rode in the back of a truck to one of the villages and I counted 41 people in there. I literally could not move for the majority of the ride because I probably would have had to hurt myself or someone else to do so. There were a couple times when other people moved around that I barely had room to breathe. A little girl fell asleep on me and people you don't know don't have a problem using your body like it's an inanimate object for support. Let me tell you, getting out of that truck and walking the rest of the way was definitely ok with me.
We had to take another packed ride but it was only with our team instead of a bunch of strangers. We fit 9 people into the back of this small truck and two more people were standing on the back bumper holding on for the ride. The other part of the team crammed into the cab of the truck. When I got out of there my entire body was drenched in my own sweat and probably a little bit of other peoples' too. My shorts were soaked all the way through! It was hot in there!
My team and I "walked" up a "hill" about 5 or 6 days ago. It was really a hike up a mountain if you ask me, but to the locals it's just an everyday thing. It took us about 3 hours to reach our destination at the top. The way back down was much quicker. At the bottom there is a river and we all took off our shoes and backpacks and laid down in the water in our clothes. I think it was the best, most refreshing thing I have ever done in my life. The water was cold but it felt so so amazing. I tried to scrub myself off a little bit while in there because I sweat buckets during our hike. Just thinking of lying down in that river is nice. It also makes me really thirsty for an ice cold glass of water!!
I'm very thankful for our guides/translators. They are awesome. They make everything run smoothly and are always upbeat and ready to go. We went to their house for supper one night and had the most amazing mangoes ever on the face of the earth. Turns out I'm a natural at mango eating, which is actually quite an accomplishment because they can get pretty messy.
We rode elephants the other day. By that time I had already been sick a whole day. I felt better when I woke up so I thought I should go because I felt up to it and I didn't want to miss out. I think I would have really liked it if the ride had only lasted about 15 min but it was probably an hour and a half long. Disclaimer: riding an elephant is not a good idea when you are having stomach problems. While we were riding through the jungle on the elephant, we saw monkeys and deer and hogs with babies and a LOT of different bugs. A spider landed on me at one point and I thought I was maybe going to have a heart attack. After the ride was over, the rest of the team got into a boat and went to an elephant breeding site where they spent time with little elephants and learned about elephant breeding. I would have loved to go but it just wasn't happening with how I felt. Someone else was sick too so we took a ride back to the hotel to rest.
Traffic is awesome here. Kind of scary, but very entertaining. There aren't really rules on the road. You just kind of do whatever you want. Everyone honks all the time and swerves around people and it's a great time. Crossing the street is a little scary too because you just have to start walking and hope that everyone stops or swerves around you. It's great. And I'm being completely serious! You don't just share the road with other vehicles either. There are bikes, goats, chickens, water buffalo, ducks, dogs, and many more! It never gets boring! I am going to be so bored during car rides back home now! Sleeping in a vehicle was hard for me before this trip but now I think I'll be able to sleep like a baby in the car.
This is getting super long so I will wrap it up but I just wanted to try to give a recap of my time here since I haven't written on the blog yet.
I want to let everyone know that I am feeling quite a bit better. It's just going to take awhile to gain my strength and my weight back. I know that all your prayers has been what is getting me through this trip. If I was doing this for any other reason than to teach the Gospel, I don't think I would have had the will to make it this far. But God is good and he is pushing me through this and helping me get better!
Jaye Meshi! (Christian greeting/farewell in Nepali)