Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Nepal News

Golden Retriever with Newspaper in Its Mouth by Jim McGuire
Golden Retriever with Newspaper in Its Mouth

This month has been full of “exciting” events here in Nepal. I've had several people ask about some of these happenings and so I will try to update you here.

First of all, on May 4th, the Maoist Prime Minister suddenly stepped down from office; upset with how negotiations had been going about integrating his former rebel fighters into the Nepali army. This brought a lot of tension and uncertainty as to what this would trigger. As you may know, Nepal has gone through a long period of civil war and political upheavals. They have enjoyed only a year of peace and now it seemed as if that was going to end quickly. We are praising the Lord though that things have remained relatively calm and businesses have resumed as usual.

Just this week a new Prime Minister was elected into office and he is from the Marxist-Lenin Communist party. This sounds pretty extreme but they are actually a more benign group than the former. We are not sure what this means but they are pretty set on getting the new constitution written with a year’s time, which is a very important step for this country.

This past Saturday, at 9:30am, a bomb went off at a local Catholic church while they were having services. A 15 year old school girl from India and a 30 year old Nepali woman were killed and dozens others injured. This church is not too far from where we live and because of that, it was decided that our church would move the congregation to another location for services the next day. We met on the lawn of our pastor’s house and it was quite pleasant. We really didn’t expect too many people to show up, but we still had around 200 people there. It has been said that a Hindu extremist group is responsible for the bombing.

So as you can see, there are quite a number of ways that you can pray for us and for our family.

  • Pray for Nepal and the political situation. So far things have been peaceful but we live in a constant “just wait and see” mode.
  • Pray for our safety. We are unsure if this extremist group was just trying to make a point or were angered by this particular church or if they are going to continue with their bombings.
  • Pray also as we live in and maneuver around in this city. This is a daily prayer that we lift up to the Lord as the roads can be very dangerous here. I’ve been knicked by motorcyclists twice while walking and Ben has been pushed off the road by a car while riding his bike back from the store. Just minor incidents but frequent occurrences that could become serious.
  • Pray for our licensing process. It has been a long haul for us, but God has been good. We've not come up against any "walls" per say, but it has just been dragged on for a long time. In the meantime, we continue to learn the language and Stan and Tim continue to visit the various offices making relationships.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Brighten Your Day!

Cupboard Garden
Cupboard Garden

So today I'm faced with a decision...how can I brighten up our days, while living in a temporary and very small apartment (of which I basically own nothing)? What little things can I do to help my family feel more at home here and basically help myself to "relax" a little more?

If you notice on the side bar of my blog, I have a button for the Christian Women magazine. While mulling over this question this afternoon and evening, I decided to read some of the articles and that is when I found "30 Days of Elegance". I am going to try to do some of these things and I challenge each of you to try some also. I'd love to hear about which ones you tried and ...did it work...did it brighten up your day?

Sensibly Chic . . . Thirty Days of Elegance

Surrounding your life with beauty is not just about makeup or the latest trends in style. You can create and discover the essence of elegance in everyday life. The definition of elegance is “tastefully luxurious.” I invite you to create little pockets of pleasure for one month. Whether you are helping a friend out or treating your mom to lunch, it’s the little things in life that make a difference in our attitudes and outlook. Nothing is more “extravagant” than a positive, giving approach to life.

Day 1: Write a note to someone you know in an assisted-living center.
Day 2: Begin a “grateful journal” and write something you are thankful for once a day (keep it at your bedside). When you’re feeling down, be sure to read it.
Day 3: Collect some flowers and place them in your kitchen.
Day 4: Drink your coffee or tea from an antique cup.
Day 5: Learn a French or Italian word for the next thirty days.
Day 6: Read a Jane Austin novel or any classic author.
Day 7: Watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s or GiGi.
Day 8: Use a beaded or silver cup to hold your Q-tips or cotton balls.
Day 9: Donate books or magazines to your local women’s resource center or nursing home.
Day 10: Read some poetry.
Day 11: Write a poem or a song (I used to do this in high school and now have started again).
Day 12: Practice standing up straight; you’ll appear taller and confident.
Day 13: Listen to classical music or an opera. Maybe do a bit of research about the person who wrote the piece.
Day 14: Take out the good china, light some candles, and eat in the dining room tonight.
Day 15: Tame your tongue—no gossiping (we should do this every day, all the time).
Day 16: Book a nail or hair appointment at your local cosmetology school (half the cost if not more than your local salon.
Day 17: Visit your local garden club. Take a book to read while surrounded by the beauty God created. We have Leu Gardens here in Florida; I have a membership and love going there.
Day 18: I love biographies—read about someone that inspires you.
Day 19: Go to a tea room with a friend, mother, sister, or daughter.
Day 20: A museum may be the answer to get away from it all—observe.
Day 21: Frame a scripture or quote that captivates you.
Day 22: Wear your expensive perfume today or make your own.
Day 23: Go to a park and sketch some nature (you don’t have to be a great artist).
Day 24: Book a massage at a salon, or at a massage school for half the price.
Day 25: Wear a cashmere cardigan or scarf. Can’t afford one? Pashmere is wonderful and I bought one for $5.
Day 26: Watch a sunset or sunrise.
Day 27: Name your house. Why should the Biltmore have a name and not yours? Okay, so it has five hundred rooms where some of us have only five. Name it anyway; it is your history. How does the Ballestero Cottage sound?
Day 28: Drink your water from a goblet or enjoy a smoothie in a crystal glass.
Day 29: Draw a bath with essential oils, then soak to the sounds of soothing music and relax by candlelight.
Day 30: Wear your pearls!

True confidence, just like true beauty—comes from knowing that God created you as a uniquely beautiful woman with much more than your face to offer the world!

Excerpted from Beauty by God.

©2009, Shelly Ballestero

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Losing Control & Liking It"

I have been reading through a book lately called "Losing Control & Liking It" by Tim Sanford, M.A. It has to do with parenting your teenager and what that should mean. Many of us (including myself) believe that we need to make sure that our children turn out OK because if they don't...well, let's just say, we are very concerned about what other people think of us (or our children) if we can't control them. Never mind the fact that it hurts us to see our children "go astray" or to fall down some path that could possibly lead to disaster. On the back of the book it says, "You can turn your home from a battleground to a birthplace of freedom for you and your teen. You're about to lose control--and we think you'll like it."

I have always been a "control-freak"...I like things done a certain way and done on schedule (you should see the lists that I can create AND they are all over the house). I like to know that my children are doing well in school, making friends, not embarrassing themselves (or me), and being polite and well-mannered. If you are like me and have a teenager yourself, you must know how frustrating this time can be for both yourself and your teen, who is now trying to become more independent of your "control". This is natural and eventually a desirable goal; however, it can be quite painful if you are both vying for "control" of his/her life. This is a great book for you to read.

In keeping with the theme, not only are my sons growing up and seeking independence from my control, but it seems that lately I can't even control things in my own life. There are many people leaving this summer and the whole dynamics of what I have gotten used to are going to change once again. We really thought that we would be in Pokhara by now, with a plane, and building a hangar. And I really thought that I would be able to speak the Nepali language by now. So, this morning, after a few days of feeling "out of control", and after telling God that He really needed to take control of things because it was just too hard for me,
I opened my Bible and here is what I read...
Psalms 81:6, 7

He says, "I removed the burden from their shoulders;
their hands were set free from the basket.
In your distress you called and I rescued you,
I answered you out of a thundercloud;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah." - Selah

A few weeks ago, I shared with you about how I felt like the Israelites who were wandering in the desert. And now, again, God has used another passage about the Israelites to show me that He is in control and all I need to do is to "lose control" and let Him release those burdens from my shoulders; to "set free my hands from the basket"...and you know what?...I just might "like it".

By they way, I would've loved to have posted the front cover of this book here in this post for you, but I don't know how to do that or know if it is even possible. Can anyone help me with this?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mugu, Northwestern Nepal

A village in the Mugu District of Nepal

We are now going to "trek" on over to the next district east of Humla where we just learned a little bit about Simikot (see previous blog entry). Ground transportation to the Mugu District of Nepal is relatively simple. From Surkhet ( the nearest, sizable town), head north up the Karnali Highway. If it’s the dry season it should take you about 52 hours to cover the 57 miles to Jumla, which lies just south of the Mugu District and is the end of the road. The trail head to Mugu starts from Jumla. You can then trek 4-5 hours a day and within another three to four days you should arrive in Mugu.

Mugu airstrip, named after the Mugu district, lies within the boundary of Rara National Park, and is located near to the district headquarters of Gamgadi. Mugu district was the site of intense combat during the 10 year civil war. Since the country is no longer at war, the 31,000 residents of this district have other struggles. Education, health care and communications are daily challenges. Mugu often faces a food production deficit which has been compounded in recent years due to drought. Literacy rates in the district are among the lowest in Nepal, particularly among women.

Since the government built an airstrip at Mugu, most travelers opt for the 45 minute flight rather than endure the five days of travel by land. While there is another operator that operates aircraft to Mugu, flights are often irregular and passengers, all too often, are bumped. MAF plans to collaborate with like-minded organizations in the Mugu district to improve the lives of the villagers here, aiding in community development projects, health projects, medical emergency flights, and affordable transportation for the local population.

Please pray with us that as we move through the approval process, we would be sensitive to the Lord’s leading and that we would be faithful to take advantage of every opportunity.

This is a Youtube link for another operator landing at Mugu: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhZhfNAgGC8&feature=related