Hello friends! Our team is now fully assembled and diving into our pilgrimage here in Nepal. Most of us landed on Friday in Kathmandu and have enjoyed getting to know one another as well as familiarizing ourselves with the rhythms, sounds, and people around us. It’s been a very full two days.
We travel to Nepal in partnership with ARDF and enjoy the wonderful relationships established with the church in Nepal. It’s incredibly vibrant and amazing stories emanate from the region all the time. We worshiped with one community in Kathmandu on Saturday morning (their day of rest), all 75 or so of us, sitting together on the floor of a small concrete room in the lower level of a small house. We sang songs of worship with their people, read the word of God together in two languages, listened to a great sermon also in two languages, and all were touched by the keen awareness of God’s presence that we felt in the room that morning.
After church we were invited for lunch to the pastor’s house. Pervasive sex-trafficking rings prey upon Nepal’s young marginalized females and this pastor and his wife have adopted over 40 of them to keep them from being swept up into that dark, destructive world. They all live in the little home above the church where they also hosted our whole group for lunch. Their generosity, warmth, and passion for spreading the love of God wherever they can is infectious and inspiring. The stories they tell about the way that they pray and the way God has met them every step of the way encouraged all of us to renew our commitment to prayer and to trust God in all things, big or small.
After our visit with the pastor and his huge, wonderful family, we headed to the Danaseri slum in Kathamandu where other friends of Coracle and ARDF have been working to provide education and infrastructure to the many inhabitants who live there. Many people from the more remote corners of Nepal leave their families and come to Kathmandu to try and find work. When they do this, they have no status, no footholds, and often are unable to find places to live, or people will refuse to rent to them, so they end up in a place like Danaseri.
We were able to meet some of the residents and pass out some blankets, backpacks and some other items. We also saw some of the buildings that have been constructed with funds from donations by people like you to ARDF and Coracle. So thank you! We know for sure they are making a big difference in the lives of people who don’t often catch a break.
Our team returned from the day to our hotel in the touristy district and all of us had seen God at work, and been touched in a significant way by what we had seen and learned, and the people we had interacted with. There is a purity to the beauty and sweetness of the people here that I personally haven’t encountered in many other places.
Sunday we spent the day learning about the prevalent religions of Nepal, Hinduism and Buddhism and visiting some of the important cultural sites like Swayambhunath and Durbar Square. Both have historic and religious import, and with the Dashain festival happening in the city at the same time, it brought the influence of these two religions in the culture of Nepal even more to the forefront.
In our debrief meeting for the day, we talked about how seeing these places and learning about the different religions affected us, and many observed that sometimes we forget that there are real forces at work that want to destroy good and truth and look for any and all inroads to do so. On the bus we talked about Siddhartha Gautama’s 4 Noble Truths and how many world religions contain “shards of truth”, and so are distracting and alluring. One of our number, Ramiro from Bolivia, observed that from what he has seen of the world, everyone seems to want to worship something, humans naturally want to do that. And sometimes we are not as discerning about the thing that we find to worship, because it fills a basic need.
We have only been in the country two days and we have experienced so much and been astounded by the Lord’s work in us and in this country through his the amazing agents of his Kingdom that he has empowered. We are blessed beyond belief to be here and look forward to continuing the journey in Pokhara.