Currently I am reading a devotional by Max Locado called Traveling Light. In the second chapter of the book, Max tells the story of an old wheelchair-bound music professor. Each morning when asked “Well, what’s the good news?” the professor would pick up his tuning fork, tap it on the side of his wheelchair, and say, “That is middle C! It was middle C yesterday; it will be middle C tomorrow; it will be middle C a thousand years from now.” As I have told you before I am not a musician, but I do know from my couple years of piano lessons that middle C is a very key point to understanding how to play the piano. With the many different changes going on in my life, this story spoke out loud and strong. We all need a middle C in our life (Hebrews 13:8), mine is my creator, defender, father, and friend.
Life here in Nepal continues to be a challenge and a joy; each day is full of new things to learn from the language to the culture and religion. I can now count to 30 in Nepali and count by 10s to 100! I can say about 100 different words and some small sentences. The process of learning a language has proven difficult and it will continue to be challenging I am sure. There are days that I come out of class and I want to cry because I am so frustrated, but there are also days where I make small steps of improvement and I want to dance for joy. I keep telling myself that it really is the little things in life that make the difference.
The culture and religion here have me constantly wanting to learn more, yet with each new thing I learn my heart hurts. It is hard to understand after knowing the amazing grace of God how people are willing to pray and sacrifice to different gods and goddesses in the form of different idols. I have had the privilege of touring a couple of the Buddhist temples here with some girls who have chosen to be Christian. It is interesting hearing their perspective and it humbles me knowing that they are literally putting their lives on the line for their faith. Similarly, to the Muslim religion, a man’s pride here is more important than family. The people who chose to become Christians often are disowned by their families, or worse, because becoming a Christian here brings disgrace to the family name and your last name is your identity here (pray for those who have chosen to become Christ followers).
I have continued to run in the mornings as I prepare for our hike to Humla in October. This hike will be mainly research and time spent seeing how the people respond to us and determining their needs so when we return in the spring we can be prepared. My team leader and I went on a practice hike to give me an idea of what I needed to mentally prepare for and I thought I was going to die after the first ½ mile. My team leader was very patient and encouraging and I am proud to say I was able to finish the hike, though it took much longer than I thought it would. It was a really good eye opener for me and that hike has been my inspiration to get up and run every morning. It was also a very humbling experience as I quickly discovered that I was not mentally or physically prepared for my hike. The hike to Humla is going to be a challenge for me as it’s not just going to be a physical and mental challenge but also a spiritual one as well (please keep me in your prayers).
In my time here, God has shown me that he does care about the little things. The other day I decided to venture to the store for the first time on my own which is about a ½ mile to a mile away. As I got the directions from my team leader and headed out alone on the busy streets I said a quick simple prayer of “God just protect me.” About a block into my walk I heard a dog fight behind me and I turned to see a large black dog and brown dog in a tussle. I didn’t pay the fight much mind since dogs are everywhere on the streets here and a dog fight is not uncommon. As I continued to walk on my way I noticed the large black dog following me–this I found a little weird but he had kind eyes and I figured he would mosey on his way soon enough. However, he did not. In fact, he got right at my right side and walked beside me the rest of the way to the market. Small kids came up to me and asked if the dog was mine and I smiled and said no. Yet, no one who saw us walking together would have thought I did not own him. He assisted me in crossing the streets and then left once I went inside the store. It was a small thing to walk to the store on my own but it was a big faith builder for me to have my prayer answered in the way of a big, black, shaggy dog.
The start of my journey here in Nepal has been a wonderful and challenging experience. It has been a privilege to be able to work with the people here. My mind is constantly racing as I take in this life and I am so thankful that I have a “middle C” in my life, someone who is the same yesterday, today and forever.