Wow, what a day! It's Tuesday night, and it's hard to believe we haven't even been in Kathmandu for 24 hours yet. I feel like we've seen and done so much already! After departing Chicago Sunday evening and spending a brief layover in Istanbul, we arrived at the airport in Nepal early Tuesday morning where were *joyfully* greeted by Raju and Rajan. Their ear-to-ear smiles and big bear hugs when we first arrived were priceless!
Our first day was spent resting from the travel, seeing Kathmandu, and meeting Raju and Rajan's family. They've taken such great care of us -- making sure we have enough food, supplies, and rest. We met up with their family in the afternoon at their home which also serves as the orphanage for 10 school-aged children. Soon after we arrived, Raju gave us a lesson on the how to eat a mango without peeling or cutting it up! Impressive! It actually wasn't that difficult...it involved biting off the top end of the mango and sucking out the juice and flesh. Yummm! I love mangoes -- so sweet and juicy! The family then served us a delicious (and colorful) meal of chicken, rice, beans, spicy vegetables, and "fish sauce," and treated us with ice cream afterward -- my favorite food! It was made from buffalo milk, but it was so creamy and sweet, I never would have guessed. :) I really enjoyed visiting with their parents during lunch and learning new Nepalese phrases from them. They have such kind and generous hearts -- it was truly an honor to spend time with them.
From their home we all hopped back in the "tour van" (it fits all 12 of us, plus Raju, Rajan, and our driver), and made the brief jaunt over to the church. It's a nice building with stone (cement?) walls, glass-panes in the windows, and a roof. (These things aren't always the norm in our overseas churches....) Inside we sat on the floor the traditional way that the Nepalis sit during church -- ladies on one side, gentlemen on the other -- and Raju and his father told us about how their worship style is different from US services (lots of clapping, music, guitars), what their village congregations are like, and what is happening in the Nepali government and society these days and how it affects the church. Please pray for the government leaders in Nepal, and specifically for wisdom as they create the country's constitution--that they would *not* make Hinduism the national religion. This could hinder the efforts that are being done to spread the Gospel in Nepal.
At the end of the day, we organized and divided the crafts and gifts that we will be giving to the children at the evangelism presentations. We are hoping to reach about 1500 children! That's a whole lot of cross necklaces, "Jesus is King" crowns, crayons, and lollipops (4 full suitcases)! We're all *very* tired after the full day, and are looking forward to a good night's sleep so we have energy for our hike tomorrow. Our first child evangelism will be Thursday morning in a village northwest (I think) of Kathmandu. (That's Wednesday evening back in the US.)
Thank you for all your support and prayers!
Here are a couple specific prayer requests, if you're interested:
- for the Nepal government leaders (mentioned above)
- for good health and safety for the mission helpers
- for energy and endurance for the hikes, particularly for the group going on the long hike to the west on Thursday
- that the gospel would be heard and well-received by many, many people during our trip