Saturday, February 21, 2009

Nepali Sunday School

Today I had the joy of visiting a Nepali Church and helping in their children's Sunday School class. One thing that I should explain first is Nepal's holy day is Saturday NOT Sunday. So today is Saturday and yet Sunday School is still called "Sunday School". Anyways, there were about 40 children of all ages. Many of them come from the local Children's Home and have no parents. It was interesting to watch because they lined the children up by age/height and made them stand in completely straight lines on little cushions. The children then had to make sure that they were arm's length away from the person in front of them.
After that, if anyone got out of his or her line, they were quickly put back in order and there was absolutely no messing around. I have to tell you, it was a stark difference than in Indonesia. I was a bit surprised. But the children were all so polite and happy.

When you pray in a Nepali Church, everyone prays outloud, at the same time. It can be a bit confusing at times, but it made my heart happy to think that each one of these people here are FREE! Free from chains that the other religions have bound around their followers. They do not have to live in fear of forgetting a particular god or fear that a particular god will demand more appeasement and sacrifice. My prayer is that many more Nepali's will experience this freedom and have complete joy in being a part of the Family of God.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 20, 2009

Gokarna Forest Resort

Welcome to Gokarna Forest Resort! This past Thursday started the boy's mid-term break. We decided that it was time to take a day and head out of the smog and city and just get a little rejuvenation. There is a Norwegian family here that we've gotten to know over the past 6 months and they suggested that we try Gokarna Forest Resort. They made the bookings for us and all of us met up there. It's about an hours drive from our house and takes you through all sorts of places I didn't know existed here (good and bad).
This is the last of the great forests in the Kathmandu Valley and used to be the old hunting grounds of the kings of Nepal. There are several temples located here including the second oldest (built in th 1500s). I'm sorry I can't tell you much more about it...temples are really not "my thing".

There are no horns blaring, no dogs barking, relatively clean air, trees that are said to be over 200 years old (see picture below), and was a marvelous time for us. The boys enjoyed having two friends with them; Mattias and Kaja, Norwegian brother and sister. They swam in the indoor pool, tried their hand at hitting golf balls at the driving range, took a jungle walk, and just ran around in the openess of the grounds.
Here's David...future Tiger Woods!
Not sure if you can see them, but they are all here in the picture. Stan is standing on a cut piece of wood to the left of the tree (gives it a little perspective). Ben is in the middle and Nathan, David, Egil, and Kaja are peaking out here and there.

Now that we know this place is here and so close and so peaceful, we just may have to go back.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 16, 2009

Trekking Through the Desert

Nahal Zin, Negev Desert, Israel by Jon Arnold
Nahal Zin, Negev Desert, Israel

Have you ever been weighed down by "writer's block"? Well, as most of you have noticed, it's been awhile since I last updated this blog and I apologize for that. My biggest reason has been that Stan took the camera to London and Turkey with him for his meetings. During that time, most of my time was spent with the boys or in language study. However, after Stan returned (with the camera) I ran out of excuses and basically had..."writer's block".

If I could describe to you what the last couple of weeks have been like for us, I would say a desert. We came here 6 months ago fully expecting to have most of our permissions in hand and our new airplane on its way by now. However, God has had other plans (What?! My plans are not His plans???). Yes, we've been able to spend more time in language study than we would've had things progressed as we wanted. But other than that, it just seems that we hit one wall after another. Not that we've heard anything negative...we just haven't heard...anything.

It's during these times that all of a sudden life just isn't easy anymore. The pollution becomes thicker, the dust more dustier (I realize that isn't correct grammar but it sure describes how we feel), the traffic more insane, the language harder, our living arrangements confusing, and so on and so forth...

I have been reading through the book of Exodus lately, and have been reading to the boys in the evenings, the first of Francine River's 5 book series "Sons of Encouragement"; "The Priest". It is about Aaron and how God used him mightily as Moses' right-hand man. It's been funny to hear the boy's reactions to the Israelites when they would quickly forget about God's constant and daily provisions, powerful displays of His glory, and perfect means of discipline. I know my reaction is, "OK, guys! God just rolled back the mighty sea for us, allowed us to walk through on dry land, and then killed all the Egyptians who dared follow us into the sea. He did this all right in front of our eyes. How can you forget that?!! It's not like we see this kind of miracle everyday." And then I would never EVER grumble against God. I mean, how could you forget something like that? That's pretty intense.

So tonight, after a few weeks of grumbling and complaining because of nothing happening, I read in Francine River's book (this is about Aaron);

"He was all too aware of the pattern of faith. He would witness a miracle and follow God in abject sorrow and repentance. God would seem to hide for a time and the doubts would begin. The people would start grumbling. Skepticism would spread. It seemed faith was strong when it suited the people's purposes, but waned quickly under the stress of hardship. God's divine presence was overhead in the cloud by day and pillar of fire by night, promising to carry them through defeat to victory, but the people grew angry because it wasn't soon enough to suit them."..."It was not the war ahead that threatened to defeat Aaron, but the daily step-by-step journey in the wilderness. Every day had its challenges. Every day had its tedium. We've been this way before, Lord. Will we ever get it right?" (pg. 100)

I guess I'm more like the Israelites than I care to think about. It's actually quite humbling as I think about it more. I am no better than what they were...Please forgive me, Lord. I am weak. Make me strong and help me to remember Your calling on my family and to prepare for when You next reveal Yourself to me.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Grass is Greener and Where are Your Feet?

The Bow of a Rowboat Slices Through the Marsh Grass by Skip Brown
The Bow of a Rowboat Slices Through the Marsh Grass

The last two Sundays have been amazing at church. First of all, I need to explain that for the past 11 years, we have been attending Indonesian churches and so being "fed by the Word" in our own heart language was very hard unless we really made an effort to do something about it. Ok, back to Nepal... In Kathmandu, there are many expatriates that live here and over the years an International church has been formed. The pastor is from Scotland and will even wear a kilt at times (it's very cool!). Each week there are always several guests from all over the world. For awhile there it seemed that the Dutch were migrating here in droves. Then all of a sudden, one week, we had everyone from Northern Ireland come to visit. It has been a treat to be a part of this international group of believers and to see who God is calling to work for Him in Nepal.

Two weeks ago, we had a speaker who got up and spoke about Jesus walking on the water and how Peter stepped out of the boat and began to walk on the water also. I've heard this and have read about it many times in the past but this speaker presented it in a fresh new way for me. He compared the boat to a place of safety during the storm. Jesus was walking by (and it seems had no intentions of stopping at the boat) but His disciples were panicing and in the midst of their fear they did not recognize Jesus and so He began to speak to them. In the middle of the storm, the disciples were scared, didn't recognize help when it was upon them, and it was only Peter who dared to step out on faith...until he lost focus again.

The speaker asked us, if you are going through a rough time, where are your feet? Are you straining against the storm in a "safe place", not recognizing that Jesus wants to help you through this time? Are you willing to step out with BOTH feet and trust Jesus to take care of the storm for you? Or are you stradling the boat. Believing that Christ is out there and willing to help but not quite ready to fully trust Him to calm the whole storm...not willing to step away from that seemingly place of safety? Hmmm?

Then this last Sunday night, I finally heard the second part of the phrase, "The grass is greener on the other side". I don't know how many times I have looked back in time and have compared my present situation with "back then" and thought about that phrase. Or now, while we are in a waiting game for what seems to be an eternity, I think to myself, "if only I could be...". Here is what should be the second half of that famous statement. Have you heard this... "The grass is greener where you water it." ? Wow! Think about that one for a little bit. I am!