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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