Sunday, January 31, 2016
Saturday, January 30, 2016
Friday, January 29, 2016
|Siddhi is located near the red X west of Kathamandu|
|Road to the bottom of the "hill" where you begin the one hour trek to Siddhi|
|30 minutes into the trek to Siddi that began at the buildings in the distance|
|HCLCN church building sits where Hindu festivals were once held|
|Pastor Bhimlal Chepang is sitting on the far left|
Thursday, January 28, 2016
The ordination/commissioning service is complete and now Pastor Rob Sauers (Rajan Bhitrakoti translating) welcomes and encourages the new and first class of students of the Himalayan Bible Institute of the Himalayan Church of the Lutheran Confession of Nepal with the Word of God from Mark 1:16-20.
I can't find the words enough to describe the joy that is in my heart at this moment! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Eighteen pastors, evangelists, and church elders of the Himalayan Church of the Lutheran Confession of Nepal have gathered at Eternal Life Lutheran Church in Kathmandu for a one day Pastoral Conference (Missionary Peter Evensen teaching on Isaiah with Pastor Raju translating) before the commissioning/ordination service of five pastors tomorrow.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow as He continues to bless the proclamation of His saving Word among the nations!
I'll be in Kathmandu for the next several days for the HCLC-Nepal Pastoral Conference on Wednesday and the Graduation/Ordination service for the HCLCN pastors who have successfully completed their training on Thursday. Friday will be spent making preparations for Raju's wedding and worship service on Saturday. And then on Sunday (1/31) will be the big day for Raju and Sanju as they begin their new life as one together in service to the Lord!
Yesterday (Monday) Pastor Rob and Kate Sauers, Missionary Peter Evensen, and David Lueck arrived. Rob and Peter were in seminary together with Raju at ILC and David is a friend from the congregation in Mankato, MN where Raju did his seminary vicarage a couple of years ago. Today is a down day while Raju makes some final preparations for the HCLCN Pastoral Conference and Graduation/Ordination ceremony.
We drove around Kathmandu this morning and took a walking tour of Bhaktapur. This is the most ancient part of the Kathmandu Valley and some of the buildings date back to the 12th century AD from the time when the Gurkha King united the three kingdoms of the valley into one kingdom. Since this is the oldest part of Kathmandu many of the buildings are very old and thus suffered the most extensive damage in the earthquake. I was told that a good percentage of the 9000+ deaths occurred in this part of the Kathmandu valley. I've visited these ancient buildings several times before and it was hard to see so much destruction. Since this is a UNESCO world heritage site there will resources for these historic buildings to be rebuilt with much care being taken to do so with construction and artistic techniques that are authentic to the time period of each building. Much of the materials, such as timbers and bricks, are being salvaged so they can be re-used in the rebuilding process. I was a bit surprised at how saddened I was to see the destruction of this treasured place.
|Building at Bhaktapur...picture to the right is what the building looked like before the earthquake|
|Bricks from the 12th-16th century that have been salvaged for reconstruction|
Over the past week, Rajan and I have walked together through several earthquake devastated streets and villages where local residents have simply returned to life. Out in the rural areas where most of the HCLCN congregations are located, walked through the hillside villages where were often stopped by fellow believers who have come to know and grown to love Rajan, his family, and their pastors very much. At every home we visited we were offered a cup of tea and some sort of snack as we walked around and looked at homes that are half destroyed and have been repurposed into barns and grain storage while the families were living in shelters that have been constructed by tarps and corrugated metal sheeting that have been supplied through donations to the Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund. While much better than living in a tent or out in the elements, I heard stories of the difficulties that the people are facing in these cold winter months where temperatures regularly drop into the low 30's at night. They are not able to have a fire in the shelters because of the lack of ventilation and flammable nature of the timbers, tarps, and blankets that have been used to construct the shelters. And yet, as Rajan and I commented several times as we observed and visited with the folks,..life simply goes on. I heard no complaining or begging from anyone. The people who live here are incredible. Life goes on...it has to...there is really no other choice. And so we saw so many people just going about the work of survival and rebuilding their lives one rock on top of another as they rebuild a wall of a home. Or one strike of the hand-held plow/hoe into the winter-hardened ground as they ready the soil for the spring plantings. It is amazing to see such resilience. And even more so, it was amazing to see the joy in the eyes and smiles of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ as we so many set aside their work for a few hours, or even the whole day to worship together and be encouraged by God's word. I was told that some of the folks that came to the special Bible seminar in the Dhading district walked 4 hours to be there. In the midst of such loss and suffering and uncertainty, the Lord has given these believers a confidence and a hope that is awe inspiring. God is Good!
|The home in Maidi where other Mission Helpers and I slept in 2014|
|A three story rock-wall home in Dhading district that has been rebuilt into a one story barn for the animals|
|The temporary shelter where the local HCLCN pastor is now living|
Saturday, January 23, 2016
I'm in Chitwan for the the night before we head to Shaktikor tomorrow to hike to another village congregation that was affected by the earthquake.
I'm typing with one thumb on my cell phone again so this will be short. Please forgive the typos.
Saturday is the day off in Nepal so it is also the day of worship and rest. We worshiped in Hetauda with Pastor Milan and those he serves.
I'll try to fill in some details and post some pictures when I get back to Kathmandu in a couple of days.
I almost forgot to mention...I was awakened by a 4.6 tremble two nights ago in the Dhading district. All is well and everyone is safe and unharmed. I even managed to get back to sleep after enough time passed and we were assured that there were no more coming.
I'm healthy and doing fine. Your prayers are much appreciated.
Friday, January 22, 2016
After a long couple of days of travel and visiting earthquake victim homes and one congregtion, we're in a motel with limited wifi so I thought I'd check in to let everyone know that all is well.
When I get back to Kathmandu in a few days I'll fill you in on the details and hopefully I'll be able to post some pictures too.
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
The wifi doesn't seem to be working with my laptop but it does with my phone. I'm terrible at typing on my phone but I wanted to let everyone know that I made it safely to Kathmandu.
I was greeted by Raju and Rajan at the airport and the by the children and Raju's parents and then treated to a home cooked Nepali meal!
I slept like a rock last night after being up for nearly 48 hours.
Today (it's Thursday morning here) Rajan and I head to the hills to assess earthquake relief efforts and to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ with His Word. So I'll most likely be without internet access most of the time until Monday when we return to Kathmandu.
Due to the suuply blockades on tbe Indian border there is a fuel shortage and virtually no electricity except what they can generate with individual solar panels on their homes. Which allows those fortunate enough to have one enough power dor a couple of light bulbs in the evening and a cell phone charge. My room at the hostel has a light bulb and one outlet for cell charging only. Many have gas generators but no fuel available. Each adult gets a fuel ration receipt that allows them to purchase one gallon of fuel every 45 days and the wait In line for three days to get it. The black market fuel business is alive and well again in Nepal. The going rate is around $12/gallon.
While Rajan and I are out in the hills Raju will stay in Kathmandu to make preparations for the pastoral conference, pastors ordination, and the wedding.
It's going to be a busy and exciting couple of weeks. What a privilege to be here!
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
One really long layover and one more flight to go.
Time to find a quiet corner where I can take a nap. But first I think I will wander around and get my fill of the the free Turkish Delight samples that are being peddled everywhere.
Thank You Lord for a safe and uneventful trip so far.
Friday, January 15, 2016
The three weeks I will spend in Nepal will take me to many familiar faces and places as I visit and work with pastors of the HCLCN. These pastors and those they have been called to serve have benefited from the truth of God's saving word as they have grown in their faith and understanding of God's word as Raju, along with his father JB and brother Rajan have been faithfully training these men to be faithful preachers of the Word of God! This is part of the reason for this CLC visit to Nepal; to be on hand for the graduation and ordination of many of these men as Lutheran Pastors of the HCLCN. These men have faithfully attended training seminars for the past seven years! The Lord has certainly blessed this effort to prepare shepherds for this portion of His Nepali flock!
|Raju and Immanuel Lutheran Seminary Classmates-May 2015|
His graduation was moved up a few weeks in the Spring of 2015 so he could return to Nepal to offer assistance and leadership to the earthquake relief efforts that have continued to this day. Ever since the news hit the airwaves and internet on April 25th, I have wanted to be in Nepal with our brothers and sisters. I knew that my presence would have slowed the relief efforts rather than being of assistance so the CLC Board of Missions made the decision to hold off on a visitation. Over the past nine months I have received weekly updates on the relief efforts which we have had the privilege of offering our financial assistance. While I am in Nepal I am looking forward to making the long treks necessary to visit the villages that
received the most damage. Three village congregations that we are in fellowship with were within 10 kms of the epicenter and were virtually destroyed. Over the past several months, after much frustration with the rains of the monsoon season and a shortage of needed building materials, much progress has been made and several church buildings, homes, and farm buildings have been rebuilt or repaired. I am very much looking forward to visiting these villages to rejoice in God's provision and care with our brothers and sisters Christ as we dedicate these new church buildings to the Lord and His kingdom!
As outlined in a recent CLC Bd of Missions video, our number one priority in the foreign fields where we are privileged to work, is to train men to be faithful preachers and teachers of the Word of God. This was also the goal of facilitating Raju's three years at our seminary. Now that Raju has received this thorough training in the Word, he is now ready to begin training other men for the ministry back in Nepal. While in Nepal, I will have the privilege of being on hand for the dedication and inauguration of new Himalayan Bible Institute where, we pray, the Lord will bless this effort to train many men to carry the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the throngs of people who are lost for eternity in worship of idols. It is going to be a wonderful day to see this next step forward in Nepal.
And finally, it is going be a great privilege and honor for me to officiate the wedding of my dear friends and brother and sister in Christ, Raju and Sanju on January 31st. They are excited and thankful for your prayers. It's also going to be fun to have Rob and Kate Sauers and Peter Evensen on hand for the wedding as well. Rob (Raju's seminary classmate) will be preaching for the wedding. And Missionary Peter Evensen (of India) will be teaching at the pastoral training seminar the day before the graduation/ordination ceremony. I'm looking forward to spending time and working together with these brothers in Christ and fellow servants of the Lord.
With God's blessings, all of this will be accomplished during the fifteen days that I will actually be in Nepal. Your prayers for:
- Beth and the kids along with the congregation I am privileged to serve
- safe and uneventful travel
- good health and stamina
- faithfulness to the Word
- wisdom, love, and compassion
- guidance in planning and schedules
- good weather
- blessings upon the marriage of Raju and Sanju
- blessings upon the newly ordained pastors of the HCLCN and those they are called to serve and reach out to with the Gospel
- blessing upon the new Himalayan Bible Institute
- for those who have not heard the Gospel in Nepal; that they be led to repent and believe in all that our Savior has done for sinners like us!
Thank you for your prayers!