Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Kayaking, Part III

And here are some more...this is me (Ronda) entering a set of rapids...not sure if I made it through or not. I flipped a few times during our whole trip. Amazingly and surprisingly I made it through a hole 2 out of 3 times...both times I made it, I was backwards, unintentional of course, but the one time I thought I had it under control...I flipped! I wonder if I could make that into a spiritual, life lesson?

And here is ...Ben, I think, being rescued by one of our guides. These guys were GOOD! And they were so fun to watch. Once they crawled into their kayaks it was like they "became the kayak". By the way, once you are flipped like this there are several options you have in order to be saved. There is a self-rescue where you pull your cord on the skirt and then swim out from underneath. Or, once you are under (like Ben is below) you can put your hands on either side of the kayak and swipe them back and forth until you feel the nose of your guides kayak and then grab the front hook and right yourself by using a bit of "hip movement", called the T-rescue. Or you can learn how to do an Eskimo roll or a guitar roll. I only figured out the first 2 methods. The later 2 take a bit of coordination and more time to learn than I had.

Everyone having fun on a calm spot.

And this was the mystery... why did we often times flip on relatively calm water? This is me in the forefront and I think Stan under the water.
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Kayaking, Part II

Here are some more pictures from our kayaking trip this week.

This is a portion of the river, in front of our camp/resort. The water level is way down because we haven't had any rain for over 2 months now and the snow obviously isn't melting up in the mountains at this time. However, this made for some interesting maneuvering in some spots.

Here is Ben putting on his wetsuit in the morning. It took a lot of mental willpower to put them on in the mornings. Once you got them on, it wasn't so bad. He does look a litte stunned though. :-)

And here is our group photo. Tim and Karen Chase are in the back; Karen with the helmet on and Tim next to her. Ben is standing with the paddle next to Tim. Then standing below, left to right, are Stan, me, Nathan, and David.

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Kayaking the Kote Bosi River

Here are some pictures from our latest adventure in Nepal. Two days after Christmas we packed our backpacks and headed 3 hours northeast of Kathmandu...ahhh, clean air again!! This time we decided to try a 4 day kayaking adventure. The days were surprisingly warm but the temps quickly dropped at night. Fortunately, we wore wetsuits and a few other layers so we didn't freeze. I would definitely recommend Equator Expeditions to anyone out there who might be interested in rafting, trekking, mountain climbing, or kayaking here in Nepal.

These are the tents we stayed in. Each of us had a cot and a VERY warm blanket and pillow.

Here we are getting fitted for our kayak and other gear. Karen Chase is taking a coffee break. :-)

And Tim (left) and Stan (right) deciding if the "fit is right".
These four guys; (from L to R) David, Nathan, Tim, and Ben were playing with their kayaking skirts.
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Overcoming Fear

What are some things that you have a "fear" of? For me, it's losing one of my children, or my husband being in an accident, or snakes (thanks to growing up in Arizona and then living in the jungles of Indonesia). All of these things are very valid fears. These are things that I've seen other people have to live through and I don't ever desire to experience myself. However, some of us also fear other things like heights (still a very valid fear)...and that was our youngest son, David. About 3 years ago, while in Arizona on July 4th, the boys wanted to try some simple wall climbing while waiting for the fireworks display to begin. It was cheap and they had never had the chance to do something like that, so we obliged. Both Ben and Nathan shimmied right on up the wall and then came David. Poor kid, he climbed up to about my shoulder height and began to "freak out"! The poor kid began to shake and cry and then he was unconsolable. A few weeks later, we went to visit some friends of ours who owned some horses. She let the boys ride them; however, when David got up on the horse, he froze. Our friend had to ride with him and even then it was very scary for be up on a horse! And then that same furlough, we went to Nebraska, to Stan's uncle's farm and the guys pulled out the repelling gear (this was something that Stan and I used to do in our younger and more insane years). Stan and Elroy just had to go repelling off the silo again and the boys wanted to be right up there with them. Ben and Nathan, once again, shimmied right on up to the top. They felt like conquerors! David, really, REALLY wanted to be up there too but couldn't do it on his own. So I told him I would climb right behind him and help him. He agreed but it was the longest climb of my life (and his, I'm sure!) He cried and shook the whole entire way up, but he was determined and he did it. And then about a year ago, while in Bali, we took the boys rock climbing again and David was able to make it up half way...
And now, three years later, I'd like to share with you that David has completely overcome his fear of heights AND has probably found his "calling" in life...
We found the most awesome rock climbing and bouldering recreation site here in Kathmandu (shouldn 't surprise me seeing that the world's largest mountain is located here in Nepal). We took the 3 boys and one of their friends to check it out and it was non-stop fun for the boys once we got there. David took one look at all the different options and took a deep breathe and said, "well, I hope I can do this." Not only did he make it up...he did it at least 5 times!! And he was probably the most graceful and most relaxed I've ever seen him. He slipped once when on the big climb but he was able to hold onto the hand-holds, swing himself back to the wall and proceed on up. It was amazing and he LOVED it. Here is the proof...

This looks like it is straight up but it's not! There is quite an overhang.
Can you see the smile on David's face?
This is Ben heading to the top...this picture also shows you a bit of the angle when climbing up. All the boys did an awesome job and we are especially proud of David for not giving up and eventually overcoming his fear of heights.
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pictures from Immanuel Crafts

Here is my friend, Karen Chase, at work with 3 of the ladies from Immanuel Crafts. I learned today that there are 17 ladies who work here making all kinds of beaded jewelry.
Here is the room where the ladies are making the jewelry. Not an ideal situation but they do their best and do not complain.
And here is Karen again in the "stock" room/office. I had fun sifting through all the different beads and things here. You can find all kinds of treasures in here.
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bazaars and Beads

One of the fun things about being in Nepal during the Christmas season is all the "bazaars" that the various hotels have been hosting. Kathmandu has many expatriates and because of that there are many activities throughout the year that cater to them. There are many organizations here that are helping the hurting and the needy people of Nepal. Many of these needy people are girls and women who have been taken and sold into slavery either by a stranger or by their own family. The organizations help rescue these girls and women and then offer them counseling, education, teach them life skills, and then teach them some kind of a handicraft so that they can make a living for themselves. Many of these ladies (with the help of expats) will then begin a business and hire other hurting women to help make their product(s). They then take these products/handicrafts and sell them at the Christmas Bazaars (and other events) and any money they make goes 100% to helping them survive.

Today I had the opportunity to go to Immanuel Crafts, one of these special businesses. It hires about 10 women who come and make beaded jewelry and special holiday cards. There are several ladies in America and in England who buy their jewelry and then sell them in the States or in Europe and whatever profit they make goes to these women, 100%. I have never really been "into" beads and things of that sort but I found myself totally enjoying being with these women and finding a little creativity within me. I bought a few pieces for my personal outfit and am wondering now how I can help these women out more. My friend, Karen Chase, works with them 4 or 5 days a week for several hours and she absolutely loves it! However, God has blessed her with a creative mind and she comes up with many new creations for these women to learn. Sorry I have no pictures this time, but I promise that the next time I go, I will bring my camera and share the pictures with you.
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Sunday, December 14, 2008

The North Face socks

Ok, so some of you may be wondering why I have posted a picture of a pair of North Face socks. I needed some new socks and so I went and bought what I thought were original North Face and after I got home I read the back of the package and realized these are not originals. If you've ever lived in a country where English is not the first language you've probably been humored by the brave attempts of the locals writing English. Here is what was written on the back of this sock packet.

"This product is made by a kind of Hi-Tech, lead the multi-functionalartifical silk of sweat nature high. Combine the socks made with the textile fibre. Have good arranging the sweat, so the characteristic rapidly. Make you feel more soft while wearing, dry and confortable and comfortable.

Thicken dealing with to the toe and heel position, get better protection in the outdoor exercises.

It explains to wash: Don't bleach, warm water is it wash to look through make sure not with apt to fade clothes is it wash to mix."

I kid you not! This is what it really says. :-)
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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Little Bumpy Road and an Oak Tree...

Sorry for not updating our blog recently; however, the past 2 weeks have been a littly "bumpy" to be honest. Language class has not been something that I look forward to and just when I think I finally remember something or begin to understand a concept, another is thrown out there in front of me. At the same time, as the Christmas season is right around the corner now, I think I hit a bit of culture shock (we're not in Indonesia anymore!). And then, just as I was realizing that, I was almost run down by a crazy motorcyclist. For some reason, that one small event pulled me deeper into self-pity. No, I wasn't hurt...only my left hand was clipped by the motorcyclist but even that didn't really hurt. It was more of an emotional bump that took its toll.

I opened up a book called "Principles of Spiritual Growth" by Miles J. Stanford and read a chapter titled, "Time". Here are a few excerpts from his book that I'm no stranger to but seem to forget on various occasions.

"It seems that most believers have difficulty in realizing and facing up to the inexorable fact that God does not hurry in His development of our Christian life. He is working for eternity!... God Himself will modify the pace." "John Darby makes it plain that 'it is God's way to set people aside after their first start, that self-confidence may die down. Thus Moses was forty years. On his first start he had to run away. Paul was three years also, after his first testimony... We must get to know ourselves and that we have no strength. Thus we must learn, and then leaning on the Lord we can with more maturity, and more experientially, deal with souls."
This means that there will be much time involved and "unless we see and acquiesce to this, there is bound to be constant frustration, to say nothing of resistance to our Father's development processes for us... When God wants to make an oak, He takes a hundred years, but when He wants to make a squash, He takes six months... In that the Husbandman's method for true spiritual growth involves pain as well as joy, suffering as well as happiness, failure as well as success, inactivity as well as service, death as well as life, the temptation to shortcut is especially strong unless we see the value of, and submit to, the necessity of the time element. In simple trust we must rest in His hands, 'being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ' (Phil. 1:6)"

As my family "waits" here in Nepal for our licenses and approvals, it can sometimes be overwhelming. As Stan and I struggle with learning this language and wish that there was some easier way, we (mainly me) need to learn to just "submit" to what God is trying to teach us and to what He is molding us into. Ultimately, it is as Miles J. Stanford said, we are dealing with souls and I want to be ready for that be fully prepared when the time comes.

Ok, enough of that. Here are some fun pictures of the kids...

Here is Nathan next to our "Charlie Brown" Christmas tree. We have a nice (fake) Christmas tree in our crate so we didn't want to spend money on another tree.
This last Friday was the secondary's, in-school "football" tournament. Here is Ben playing as goalie for his team. He did an awesome job! High schoolers played against eachother (they have been divided into 3 "houses" and all year long have competitions against eachother) and the middle school does the same. The boys had a great time and we enjoyed watching them play.

And here is our youngest, David! He is pretending to be sick and on oxygen! :-) This contraption used to be a pair of glo-light plastic glasses that he took apart and made into "this". I was making dinner and turned around to see him pretending to be sick and breathing hard. Gotta hand it to him...It made me laugh and grossed out his brothers all at the same time. Guaranteed, Ben and Nathan will never try to play with his stuff again.
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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Blessings From Above

When you think of Thanksgiving, what are the things that make Thanksgiving...Thanksgiving for you? For me, it has always been a turkey and lots of friends or family (or both). This year, we were unable to justify paying $90 for a 12 lb turkey, so we found a place that makes rottisorie chickens. David was so bummed about not having a turkey that he went to his savings and pulled it all out and offered to help pay for it. Of course, we couldn't take his savings for something that was going to disappear in 10 minutes.

We celebrated with Tim and Karen Chase, our co-workers, and then another person, Paul Seavers. Paul is a single-young man, freshly landed in Nepal and has ties to a second cousin of Stan's. He is living with a Nepali family and eats daal-bhat (lentils and rice) twice a day, so we thought he would appreciate a nice, western dinner. Needless to say, he accepted without hesitation. :-)

Between Karen and I, we were able to make quite a feast, minus the turkey. Karen was bemoaning the fact that we couldn't find any cranberry sauce. Thanksgiving, for Karen, must have cranberries. Above is the flower arrangement I made with the help of Karen's fall decorations.

We didn't grumble or complain...we did miss our friends from Kalimantan and our individual families, but we enjoyed the company that we had and the food was great. Because of that, I think the Lord blessed us amazingly through another American woman here in Kathmandu. This lady works with US Aid, a government agency. A few weeks ago, she had invited us over for dinner and we accepted. So last night, Friday after Thanksgiving, we went to her house and were absolutely spoiled. She had overheard us at church talking about how expensive turkeys were and so had her cook bake up a turkey AND a pork roast with all the trimmings...that included cranberry sauce! We were totally amazed and humbled at how God had, in the end, blessed us with two wonderful Thanksgiving Dinners and wonderful fellowship with friends in Nepal. Oh, if you are wondering where she was able to get cranberry sauce, it was from the American commissary that is here in Kathmandu. There is an American Club here and because she works for the government she can do shopping there without having to pay the high membership fees. Lord, we are so thankful for your many wonderful blessings and how You continually amaze us with your love and care.
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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Crazy to ...bizarre!

This morning I woke up as usual, around 6am or so :-) and everything seemed "normal". We got the boys off to school and then Stan and I proceeded to study Nepali for a few hours before we needed to head off to school ourselves. Our language school is just a 10 minute walk from our house but that usually means having to navigate narrow one-lane neighborhood roads with bikes, cars, and motorcycles barreling through as fast as they possibly can...and did I mention, they always honk right as they come up behind you! I will have no hearing by the time I turn 50.

We arrived at school and our teacher asked if the boys were in school today. We were a bit curious and told him "yes". He then proceeded to tell us that today a "bhand" had been called. A bhand is when a particular group decides to protest something and they go out and block traffic in a certain area in hopes that someone will listen to them and they will get their way. Well, today's bhand was a valley-wide bhand and it closed down all traffic in Kathmandu. The only vehicles on the road were bicycles, a few motorcycles just going short distances, and a few diplomatic vehicles that displayed the correct color of license plate. Any other vehicles were stopped and most shops were closed.

Karen, my co-worker and friend, and I wanted to go out and do some material shopping and it ended up being a time of exercise. I have never seen a city of over a million people come to a complete stop...until today. It was very bizarre! On one of the main roads, some of the stores were "partially" open; meaning, they had their iron doors open just a little bit so that if a group of people came by that were causing the city-wide bhand, they could quickly close shop. We ended up walking most of the back roads and then circled back around so that we could just go home.

It is very sad to see things like this happen. Today many people did not make any money. Most Nepali schools were closed. Tomorrow, our boy's school will most likely be closed because they cannot run the vans/buses to pick up the children. This normally "crazy" paced city became "bizarre" and quite erie. Please pray for the Nepali people. Today's bhand was called because 2 bodies were found that had gone missing over a month ago. They belonged to one political party and that party is accusing the other of murdering them. Normally a bhand will only last for part of a day or so. This one could very well last several days if negotiations go sour or someone else gets hurt when emotions get out of control. If you remember, please pray for the Nepali people and this time of critical transition in the government. They have gone through too many years of unrest and war and it deeply affects the people.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Still in Control

Isn't it great to know that no matter what happens, our God is still in control? Ever since the election, I have kind of been living in a state of "now what?" Will our country fall even further in its spiral of liberal and "modern" ways of thinking? How many more babies will be sacrificed for the sake of our not wanting to live with the consequences of our actions? We do not have a television in our apartment here in Nepal so we check the news online daily and it has come to a point where I cannot pull up certain stories when related to our President-Elect. If I do, I find myself becoming frustrated and angry to a point where it puts me in a slump that is hard to get out of for the rest of the day. That is not God honoring...and so I step back from the "thing" that causes those emotions to boil over and strive to find ways that would honor God.

A few days after the election, I received an email from a friend who had received the email from her father and it convicted me to the core. All of my questions were "taken care of" when after reading this...


1. The Bible will still have all the answers.
2. Prayer will still work.
3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.
5. There will still be God-anointed teaching and healing.
6. There will still be singing of praise to God.
7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
8. There will still be room at the Cross.
9. Jesus will still love you.

10. Jesus will still save the lost.

Yesterday, Stan and I were walking to the grocery store and just around the corner from our house, we ran elephant!! It was just walking down the street like it owned the it totally belonged there. It didn't have a load on its back at the time so we were a little mystified as to what was going on. When I finished my shopping and was on my way back home, there was the elephant, in the same spot, but this time with a load of "groceries" on his back too. I just so happened to have the heaviest load of groceries ever in my backpack (38.2 lbs to be exact) and was wishing for a little reprieve when I saw how big his load was. I didn't complain anymore (but it would've been nice if the elephant offered to help me out a little bit). Only in Kathmandu!

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The boy in the front of the elephant is Nathan! His 7th grade class took a trip down to southern Nepal to a place called Royal Chitwan National Park. Here they learned about the specific people group in that area, passed out candy and school pencils to the children, rode elephants, washed elephants, took a jeep safari through the "savannah" and saw wild rhinos, deer, and peacocks. Nathan said it was like being in Africa, Australia, and Indonesia all at once because of the diverse flora and fauna just in this one park area. What a cool class trip!
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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pokhara Valley with the Annapurna Range in the background.
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Nepal is such a vast and amazing country with so many variations in climate and flora and fauna. What is amazing about this is that this country is so small! Where, or should I say "how", does God fit it all in?
Once again, this weekend, I was struck by God's omnipotence and creative power! With the few remaining days left of our "holiday" before school begins again, we bought some bus tickets and took a "survey" trip to Pokhara. Pokhara is where we are hoping to move next year sometime and begin a flight program.
The bus ride normally takes 7 hours; however, there were at least 5 broken down buses and trucks on the way into Kathmandu that were blocking traffic BOTH ways. We inched along for about 2 miles and finally over 2 hours later were able to proceed again. So much for our 7 hour bus ride! On the way, we saw many more buses and trucks that had either flipped over or had been in some kind of "smashing" incident. It wasn't very encouraging to us; however, it was amazing because this road was in so much better shape than the road we took to Langtang.
We found Pokhara to be a nice change from Kathmandu. It was much cleaner and there doesn't seem to be a fuel shortage in Pokhara like there is in Kathmandu. We rented two motorcycles and were able to drive right up and fill the tanks. In Kathmandu, we would've waited at least a half a day IF there was fuel at the pumps. We did figure it out though that it costs $6/gallon to fill your vehicle. I have no idea how the Nepali people can afford that.
We stayed in the touristy, Lakeside part of Pokhara and were so happy to leave that part for our outings. It was beautiful and kept clean for the tourists but that was not why we were there. We visited the little school that David will attend, which happens to be located on the same grounds as the Leprosy Hospital that is run by INF. We were able to take an informal tour of the hospital (for our friends from Indonesia, it really reminded me of Serukam) and met one of the former leprosy patients who is now a believer and is a counselor to the patients who are there now. He has such a neat testimony and it is very visible that he has suffered much but he is filled with peace and joy!
We were able to drive around and look at houses and what some of our options might be plus we found 2 nice "supermarkets". We were able to meet with and talk to some of other expats who live and work there in Pokhara and they had a lot of good information for us.
And on the fun side, we drove part of the way up Sarangkot and then hiked the rest of the way up (this is a large hill overlooking the Pokhara Valley). In the picture below, you can see the awesome view we had up there!

We then drove up to see the Bat Cave. It isn't that big but there are a lot of bats, and then, if you have a guide (which we did), you will climb out in a manner that you will NEVER be able to do if you don't have a guide.
Here I am exiting out of the was NOT easy but I did it!! David started to get a bit claustrophobic but he did it too. I had no idea it would be like this when I first entered the cave. If I had, I probably wouldn't have followed our guide!
Some of the other things we were able to see was the Mountaineering Museum, an absolute must if you ever come visit us in Pokhara. Very well done and put together! The Seti River don't want to fall in! And of course, the beautiful Fewa Tal lake. There are many other things to do and see but we figured "another time". Now it's back to the "grind" in the morning and I think that we are all actually looking forward to it. Taking these trips has actually renewed my spirit for learning this language. We were able to interact with the Nepali people more on these trips then living here in Kathmandu, amazingly. I look forward to sharing more with you on our "trek" here in Nepal.

Waiting on Him,
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Monday, October 13, 2008

The Langtang Trek

Just this past week, we went on a literal trek to the Himalayan Mountains just north of us. Nepal was in the midst of celebrating one of their biggest festivals, Dasain, and so while everything shut down for the week, we took advantage of the time and decided to explore a tiny corner of this magnificent country.
This was a perfect time to step away from our language studies and try to use a little of what we've learned out in "the real world". It was also a time of renewal for us, especially for me. I have been missing old friends and our ministries in Indonesia AND basically had hit a plateau in language learning. God used this trip to remind me that the trail will be hard and you will hurt a bit, but the end results are amazing and you won't be disappointed. Just looking at this picture should give you a "taste" of what I am talking about. If you are interested in seeing more of our trip here is a link to our web album.

This is my family (5 on the right) and our co-workers, Tim and Karen Chase (on the left).
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Ben's farewell at Dalat

This is Ben's dorm. Some of the kids are new but they really accepted Ben as if he had been there from the beginning of this year. Pray for Ben as he continues to adjust to life in Kathmandu away from his friends in Malaysia. He is making new friends but he still compares many things to Dalat (which is quite normal at this stage).

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Ben's farewell at Dalat

At the end of September, I had the opportunity to take Ben back to Dalat International School so that he could say his good-byes and pick up his belongings that were left behind in anticipation of returning this school year. It was a great time for him and his dorm even gave him a great farewell party. Here are some pictures of Ben at Dalat and with some of his friends. We just praise the Lord for the time that Ben had there at Dalat. Dalat is a wonderful school and we were very blessed being a part of it the past several years.

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