“Whatever happened this past year be thankful for where it brought you. Where you are is where you are meant to be.”
As my team looks into this coming year and makes different plans and sets goals, we are encouraged to look back at our past year to see what has been accomplished. In doing that I would like to take you on a quick summary of my past year in Nepal.
The beginning of the year started off with a nice routine of working out, language study, assisting in the weekly English class I volunteer at, and preparation for my research proposal. We also started a small meeting group at this time just to investigate some possibilities of bringing medical help, maybe a small clinic, to different areas of Nepal. In bringing a small clinic to a community we have met a few road blocks in Nepal, which has led us to look around for different options of help. One area of help we have looked into has been in connecting back home in the U.S. with a group through the Assembly of God called Compassion Link. Compassion Link is an organization that focuses on health, small businesses, and agriculture. This organization is willing to partner with different missionaries through educational support and by sending teams of people to train and assist us missionaries in the different areas that help is requested. This connection I believe has been very beneficial and I pray it continues to help open doors for us to work in different communities.
My team leaders in January and early February went to some meetings in different countries and I was allowed the privilege of experiencing Nepal for the first time on my own. My sweet grandma also passed during this time which was a little of a shock for all of us in my family.
At the end of February, we hosted a GPA language training for all who wanted to attend in Nepal. GPA is the language learning method that my team has chosen for us coming on the field. It is not the traditional method surrounded by books and rote memory but one-on-one time with a language helper who you listen to and then, after a time, begin to speak with. Once the training was done, I focused primarily on my research proposal. A short time later I got my research project on the study of “Herbal Medications and How They Relate to the Culture in the Tibetan Buddhist World” approved! When my research project was approved, I was then able to apply and get my study visa since I am doing my research through a local college here.
In March my team leaders again left the country for a short while to return to Puerto Rico for the first time since Hurricane Maria. In this time, I was able to focus mainly on language for a few weeks. I also finished three educational pamphlets to utilize while we were in Humla. The educational pamphlets were on first aid, nutrition, and hand hygiene. We were able to get the pamphlets translated into Nepali and printed in color. The pamphlets were a huge blessing to have to give to the different students I taught in Humla.
The end of April through the beginning of June we were in Humla. This time was spent working in different schools, connecting with different families, and gathering research on the medical facilities and government offices in the area. Our time in Humla went well and God seemed to open many doors for us while we were there. On returning from Humla we accepted a girl from the MAP program who stayed with our team for a month. (MAP is a program where anybody over 18 can come and spend 1-11 months under a missionary on the field). We also hosted a small team from a Southern Asia program through Assemblies of God during this time.
In July we went to a Eurasia conference which was educational and spiritually refreshing for all of us. In August we had a team come through that focuses on children with disabilities. This team works with us every year and it is so neat to see them work with these families and kids that are looked down on and not given much opportunity here in Nepal. (In Nepal if you have a disabled child or have a disability people believe that it is due to some bad karma, which no one wants to be a part of.) In August we also were able to welcome another member of our team to Nepal.
In September I took motorcycle lessons and bought my first motorcycle! At the end of September and beginning of October my team leaders and I went to Thailand for training on community health education. This was a wonderful training with many things we were able to bring home to utilize on the field. The sad thing that happened was on my return from Thailand I discovered that my new bike had been stolen. This has been a very educational process, as I have been privileged to work with the police and insurance company here.
In October we also had a team come from Puerto Rico who assisted us in doing a children’s camp in the town of Surkhet. I also started a small nurses’ meeting during this month. The nurses’ meetings focus is on medical education. This allows us to learn from each other; they can explain different medical processes and the thought behind them and I am able to talk to them about the medical practices we use in the United States. This allows me to take more time during my busy month to focus on medical research, which is enjoyable for me and it also allows me the opportunity to get to know these women and learn about their culture in the medical field.
At the beginning of November, I was asked to give women’ s health education to a group of young women, which was eye opening yet fun for me. For Thanksgiving we went to Pokhara to celebrate with a few families that we have started to connect with in that area. It was interesting to see how they responded to our holiday and a joy to be able to spend it with them. At the end of November we welcomed a team of women from Compassion Link in Springfield who came to help us evaluate the different areas we work and to provide some education on sanitation and agriculture. They provided classes for people here in Kathmandu and then we traveled to Surkhet, and Pokhara for them to do classes in those areas as well. They were very accepted everywhere they went, and they were a huge blessing to work with. They were also an answer to prayer for me as they were from the Midwest, so they were able to bring a little bit of the culture of home to me for the Christmas season, which obviously was a huge gift for me.
In the middle of December, I sprained my knee pretty good while running and have had the fun of experiencing what it is like to be slightly disabled while in Nepal. A couple days before Christmas I was able to spend time with a young girl named Rita who has become a very dear friend to me here. We had fun making sugar cookies and working on decorating a gingerbread house. This opened a door for me to share the Christmas Story with her which was an answer to prayer and a small seed planted. I pray that God continues to open doors as we continue to grow as friends. Christmas was spent in Pokhara with the team and those from the children’s home which made for a wonderful Christmas. The end of the year was wrapped up here at home in Kathmandu surrounded by amazing friends.
As my team and I continue to look at this next year and make plans, we are reminded again of our vision for the Himalayan Transformation Team:
“Our vision is to build teams that make disciples among Tibetan Buddhist people groups in the Himalayas. We make disciples by caring, proclaiming, and teaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God. We will build multinational teams that plant churches and transform communities.”
“Definition of Transformation: Transformation is a change from a condition of human existence contrary to God’s purposes, to one in Kingdom and intentionally seek to affect positive transformation in multiple areas of a person’s life, society and culture. Every activity will be regarded as an opportunity to serve people in love, to speak relevant words of truth pointing them to God, and to experience the supernatural intervention of the Holy Spirit.”
Each one of us on this team is here because this is where we feel God has asked us to be in this time of our lives. Please pray for us as we continue in our work here that God will continue to go before us in all we do.
“Ask and I will make the nations your inheritance the ends of the earth your possession.” – Psalm 2:8
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9
“You will seek for me and find me when you search for me with all of your heart.” -Jeremiah 29:13