Your grace has found me just as I am

It’s hard to believe that we have been here two weeks and that we will leave in only one. We have seen and learned so much in a short time, and we could not be more thankful. On Saturday, it was so good to visit another church. This church was much smaller, but they were so happy we were there! They were all welcoming, and after the service we stayed to chat about their ministry in the church with two men, one being the pastor. It was so sweet and refreshing to see them excited about their ministry. They shared what they were doing currently as well as what they will do in the future. They asked for prayer for their ministry and we have their contact info, so we can perhaps support them long-distance over the next couple years. This was a great opportunity for us to see God at work in Nepal!

On Sunday Jeff walked and explored the local area while I (Jenifer) was at the women’s conference that I was one of the guest speakers for. This was an amazing day! There aren’t many women’s conferences in Kathmandu, so this was quite exciting to be a part of something few and far between. It was encouraging to see so many women involved and attending. We had about 75 women attend from about 5 or 6 different churches. We also had about 6 women involved in leading this conference from leading worship, teaching, translating, making introductions, recognition of leaders, and leading the group throughout the day! I was definitely not the only one out of my comfort zone and leaning on the grace and power of Christ to get me through. I can now officially that I have finished teaching at my first ladies’ conference!

After the ladies’ conference we heading out to the Padechi (or foreigner) Fellowship. This provides a great source of encouragement and fellowship with a small group of other American missionaries to Jenn and Leah. On our way to fellowship we saw the largest Buddhist temple in the world! We also saw a large group of people who walk around the temple in one direction only praying , some of which were Buddhist monks. It was another sad reminder of how lost so many are. I saw a couple bow down to what looked like a stone statue to me, but what was probably an idol to them.

Jeff is at the Pastor’s conference until Wednesday morning, so please pray for him as he teaches as well as the other men attending.

Only one week to go! We are waiting to see and hoping to see as much as we can while we are still here.

A blast from the past…

The past couple of days have indeed been a blast from the past…It feels like we have been stuck in 1992 all over again. Between class, chapels, and small groups we have been reminded of the times we had growing up in the church. Today I had the opportunity to teach the students the game that is so “cleverly” or “cheesily” called “Sword Drills.” Yes, that’s right, I had my students waving their Bible’s in the air anxiously awaiting me to call out the next verse I was to have them look up so that they might be the first to stand and read the verse…all for a piece of candy. I haven’t done a sword drill since, yeah, like 1992. Not only that but many of the worships songs sung in the chapels and in small groups are great little diddy’s like “Thy Word,” “I Am a C-H,” “Humble Thyself in the Sight of the Lord.” Many of these songs I haven’t actually sung for years. It was kind of weird and at the same time refreshing. I had forgotten about many of these choruses, and decided they need to make a comeback in the states. We should turn back the clocks of sorts on worship.

We have been doing more walking around and exploring of the city…it’s definitely a chaotic city…stuff is always happening…on any given day you could have riots or strikes or religious ceremonies. You never know. (Note to parents: we are fine, we have only seen such things at a distance, and have been safe…if you avoid them, they avoid you.) There is very little semblance of order or control, much different than in America. But here, the people are used to unrest, and chaos, it is a part of life and culture. I (Jeff) went for my first run here in Nepal with one of the guys I met here, it was great, difficult but great. Things I learned you must consider when running in Nepal. One, hold on to a rock so if at any time you are attacked by stray dogs you can scare them off between kicking and throwing (Again, note to parents, I was not attacked, just told to do such things as precautionary measures.) two, no amount of training can really effectively prepare your lungs for the terrible air quality, the air is really rather gross, sometimes we would run right through clouds of exhaust from a truck unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Three, watch out for rocks…there is very little even ground here…many roads are dirt and have rocks jutting out all over. It was great to go on a run, I will probably do so again. It is so interesting to have to think about certain things that would never be an issue back home.

As far as teaching is going, it has been really good. The students seem to be understanding that of which is being taught, so that is a plus. I covered transcendence and immanence in detail today (thanks Dr. Willsey!!) It went well and I think they actually understood it, we’ll see when the final comes around. It has been fun and even though it took over a week many of them are much more relaxed then the first couple of days. Jenifer has been working with a number of ladies and is really enjoying getting to know them and pray with them. She will be teaching on sunday so pray for her…it’s her big day to shine! I will be preaching tomorrow morning, I will be at a different church so I will bring the same message I brought last week to the other church. I tell you what if I don’t have Philippians 3 nailed down after this I don’t think I’ll ever get it! Three times preaching the same message gets a little tedious, but that’s ok…the Gospel message never gets old!!

Anyways, God has been good, we are learning a lot and it is difficult to articulate all that we are taking away from this experience, it is definitely invaluable. We are blessed to be here, and blessed to see how the other side of the world lives. What a joy it is to serve the men and women who will impact this nation for Christ…it’s really a cool thing.

On a side note…today I encounter some Rockmanites…scary, if you don’t know who these people are they are a group who believes that the KJV is doubly inspired…it is sad that even here in Nepal the issue of which translation of the Bible to use is evident (the even more sad thing is that it didn’t come out Nepal itself, but the missionaries from the states who brought the fight over). It is interesting to see the things that churches face in the states are some of the same things that happen here as well. Sin is sin, no matter where you are.


What’s the buzz, tell me what’s a-happening…

Quite a bit has happened since we last posted…last time we wrote we were on our way to a Buddhist temple on the top of a hill near our home. Needless to say in classic Nepali fashion, plans changed. Instead we found ourselves at a place called Poshipati (transliterated for English). Very few words could describe this place. Poshipati is a Hindu temple used for cremation.
This place is the main temple in Kathmandu for the worship of Krishna. As you walk into the temple grounds you are overwhelmed with the darkness that surrounds it, all along the river are areas for cremation, a couple of the spots were actually burning pyres of what was once a human body, out in the open for all to see. We were told by the locals that many times people there who are dying or severely injured are burned alive in hopes of being reincarnated as something better. It’s interesting thing when the things you have studied about a religion of hopelessness is there glaringly staring you in the face. Perhaps some of you have experienced such things in other parts of the world. In the US many religions and practices are not ever in your face so much as they are practiced in private. Throughout the temple grounds were many different shrines to various idols all with offerings strewn beneath the idols. As I said, words cannot discuss the feelings of being in a place of such hopelessness and despair. The more we are the more we begin to see a glimpse of Hinduism that no book could ever do justice to. Hinduism is a demonic religion…I am convinced now more than ever that the idols and “gods” worshiped in Hinduism are indeed demons. The pictures and statues of this religion are utterly horrifying. I have never been in a place where oppression seems so tangible and real. It is almost as if you can touch it and feel it. Pray for these people, pray for this area of the world, an area where Hinduism is more than religion, it is a way of life. There is little or no difference between religion and culture here…they are one in the same.

I must say being here has strengthened our faith more than ever. Against a backdrop so drastically different than our own, it is easy to see how true and real our faith is. Against the ritualism of Hinduism and Buddhism a faith so reliant on love and grace and hope is so utterly beautiful and refreshing. Our God reigns as the one true God, the creator of the universe!! Hallelujah! I could write and write and write about our experience at the temple, there are so many things that we saw, from the Hindu priests to the monkeys everywhere, this place had it all…We will more than likely be going to a temple that is the main place for sacrifices in the next couple of days…I am excited yet very disturbed at the thought.

There is much more that has happened, and God has been good, we have met wonderful people here and have had many opportunities to speak to nationals and interact with other missionaries. God is at work in this place, it is amazing to see the Gospel of Christ lived out on a daily basis, and it is so exciting to see the men and women who will be reaching this lost and utterly blinded country learning and growing in their faith. We are blessed to get a glimpse and to be able to be a part of such a work. Our hearts are broken for the people of these hopeless religions. I have learned much talking to one national in particular. His name is Raj. Please pray for him as he is trying to go to the states for a year or so to learn and grow in discipleship. He has an interview with an American counselor on Aug. 4, they will decide whether he is allowed to go or not. He has been my translator for my class and is an amazing man of faith. He shared with me many different aspects of the conflict between Hinduism and Christianity here in Nepal. I am fascinated to see how the Christian faith is looked at in this cultural context. Let me just say it is not viewed fondly. Again I could write a great deal about the way Christianity is viewed, but for now I will leave it as, Christianity is a religion of a weak god and for the lowest caste system here in Nepal. It is quite interesting.

Now for things of less importance but more-so facts. Nepal has terrible drinking water…I am pretty sure it is one of the worst countries in the world as far as water quality is concerned. Many of the nationals themselves often get sick from the water. Perhaps it is because they dump anything and everything in the water…yes even the ashes of cremated bodies. Also, Nepal during the monsoon is suspiciously like Seattle most of the year…rains almost everyday, clouds over almost always, with sun breaks here and there. In that regard its like being at home. I just realized I have to go and get ready to play a little football in like 15 minutes, I must go…

While you were sleeping…


So I am absolutely fascinated by this time change…it boggles the mind that as I type this almost all of you are asleep back in the states…craziness. And as you read it, we will be sleeping. At any rate…I just think back to our plane ride and one of the screens you could look at was a view of where it was daytime and where it was nighttime as we flew…I may or may not have spent significant time watching night fall on different parts of the world as others were waking up as the darkness slowly crept around the globe. With that being said we’ll discuss things that are actually relevant to what we are doing here in Kathmandu.

I preached yesterday morning, it was quite an interesting experience. A good experience, but an interesting one. The service went two and a half hours…which wasn’t so bad, especially as I preached for almost an hour of it. But the tough part is the sitting cross legged on the floor for the entirety of the service. Preaching with a translator is quite difficult, as I have never actually done such a thing, I found it to be quite distracting, and as the Nepali language flip flops the order of their sentences some of my sentences lost a bit of meaning. But God is good, and I know that God’s word is always a blessing, and it was a joy and honor to be able to preach in their service. Within the service there was perhaps an entire hour devoted to singing…mind you it is quite difficult to stay focused on worship for an hour when you don’t know a word of what they are singing. Thank the Lord for the wonderful hymn “How Great Thou Art,” for no matter what the language one can sing along with it. Overall the service was a joy, it was so great to be able to worship alongside of so many Nepali believers.

Yesterday was a Hindu holiday…I believe it was the worship of the rain god…I can’t recall the name but they worship these two towers that look suspiciously like trees so that the rain will come. It is quite interesting as they do this during monsoon season when it rains everyday anyways. There was a huge gathering closer into town which we saw…it brings great sadness to see so many people tied up in the bondage of a lifeless religion.

Another thing of interest here in Kathmandu is that we lose power quite frequently. Last night we didn’t have power from probably 9 at night to about 10:30 this morning…with no power means there is no water…very different than home…this happens quite a bit, there are two planned power outages per week on tuesday and thursday nights…then the rest of the time it is a best guess when there will not be any power. One of the ladies we are staying with seems to think last nights power outage was a result of the festival as the towering idols get paraded around town knocking down anything and everything in their way…including power lines. This place is so interesting and so backwards…there is so much here that is do very very different from our daily lives in the states…and there is a certain beauty to the pace and speed of life here…no hurry, no rush, it’ll happen when it happens.

Please pray for us this week as we continue to teach our classes (apologetics and english). ALso pray that we will continue to get to know the people here and that we may be a blessing to them. Thanks for the support and prayers!

Now we are off to hike up to some Buddhist temple that is on the top of a hill…should take an hour and a half to get there…can’t wait!!

Teaching, Eating, and Reading

God is so good! Our first few days in Kathmandu have been amazing and full of the grace of God. We met many people who are so warm, friendly, and welcoming. Life in many ways is very different here, and our days seem to mainly consist of doing our best to teach, eating delicious food, and relaxing while reading. Jeff has taught his Apologetics class for two days now and so far it is going well. The students have said that it is very interesting. Jenifer has taught English Conversation for two days as well, and it is quite a funny and difficult experience. We have both gone to evening Bible Study and at the ladies Bible Study, one of the Nepali women, Rebecca, invited us over for dinner. Rebecca put together quite the feast for us complete with delicious Nepali tea, Nepali egg rolls, Dalbot (americanized spelling for Nepali word), and ice cream. We were so full! Dalbot is the Nepali meal with rice and lentils, and very often there are curried veggies. Most Nepalis eat this for lunch and dinner everyday, they love it!

Last night was our first night on the town and it was wonderful! Hannah, Leah, and Jenn took us out. We went out to a Thai Restaurant for dinner, shopping, Nepali tea at a very cute coffee shop, and we went to see The Dark Knight. It was 150 rupees, which I think comes out to about 2 USD maybe, we are still trying to figure out the exchange. It was a great time and the ladies are just wonderful to us.

Well we are off to church! In Nepal church is on Saturday because it’s the only day off. Jeff is preaching this morning!

The craziest driving we’ve ever seen

We are officially in Kathmandu…all we can say is wow…it is a totally different world here…fascinating really, our first experience was getting from the airport to our house via car…let’s just say there’s no such thing as traffic laws, and really any semblance of order…I don’t think we could drive here if we wanted to. The people we are staying with are really quite nice and hospitable, we had a delightful American style meal last night after a day of seeing and meeting quite a few new people and places for that matter. We were both exhausted after lots of time on planes, but it is good to be here. Jeff starts teaching tomorrow (the 24th) so today we will just rest and relax…It’s good to be here…

It’s 3 am and I want to go to bed…

So we’re sitting in the Singapore airport, it’s 3 am and we both can’t sleep to save our lives, the flights were wicked long, but we are almost there. The cool thing about Singapore is they have free internet everywhere…and so we’re surfing the information superhighway to pass some time. Anyways…9 hours and we’ll be in Kathmandu…hooray!

Tomorrow Never Knows…

Tomorrow morning we’re off, our flight leaves 9:30 tomorrow morning and approximately 25 hours plus a small layover and we will be in Kathmandu. Thanks for the prayers and support over the past couple of months…We are humbled by God’s consistent grace and provision throughout. God is faithful always.

The mid-summer classic!

We find ourselves one week out, and are quite anxious to go. There are a lot of little things that have to happen this week before we go. The curriculum is coming along quite nicely, I am getting more excited about the class and teaching it…Jenifer is putting together her stuff for the conference she will be teaching at. We also will have an opportunity to take books and bibles into the himalaya villages…how sweet is that!! Anywho, we could use prayer especially this week as we finish preparation. Pray that our teaching will be effective and culturally relevant.

On another completely different note and not so serious one: Can the NL please finally show up at the All-Star game, for the sake of us NL fans…please, please, please win! I am sick of the NL looking like the minor leagues in the all star game. As for predictions surely to go terribly awry, I’m calling NL 7, AL 5, Chipper Jones MVP…

T-minus two weeks

So we are leaving in two weeks…preparation is in full swing. Jeff is working hard on his apologetics and Jenifer has been preparing a couple of different things for the women. We are both quite excited and overwhelmed. Please pray that things will fall into place when we get there, and pray that our teaching is effective and complete.