Sunday, October 6, 2013

Nepal News

From the moment we arrived in Nepal, it has been a whirlwind tour. Our day began with a 3:15am wake up and the marathon day began. After arrival, we dutifully completed all our visa paperwork and waited in line for an hour. Finally, we emerged from the airport and made our way through traffic to our hotel in the tourist area of town. The city of Kathmandu was swamped due to the current Hindu holiday and many people are traveling to be with family.  The Tibet Guest House was our final destination in the Thamel area of the city.  After check in, we quickly dropped our luggage to join some new friends from Tiny Hands.

Thamel Times
In the tourist area of Nepal, life is never dull. The narrow and busy streets are rows of little quaint shops with many wares for sale.  Walking is best in a single file line to avoid being flattened by a small vehicle or scooter. Team Joy has become quite good at being “ducks in a row.” It has taken us a bit longer to figure out our way around since our focus was on self-preservation rather than directions. I think we have begun to figure out how to find our hotel and the best places to eat. We have truly enjoyed being able to walk around and stretch our legs a bit after 2 weeks of sitting most of the time. The chaotic streets are full of energy and given the team a new boost on this final leg of the journey.

New Friends
Our first lunch with our contact from Tiny Hands provided a great first impression of the ministry. Sarah helped us get settled and helped give us perspective of mission of Tiny Hands. Joining the group was another gal that is observing the ministry of Tiny Hands named Tasha. We became fast friends because she had been on a similar journey with a previous mission to India prior to her arrival in Nepal. We also met some journalists from an online magazine called The World Next Door. It is a free app for Apple and Android products that features Christian ministries all over the world. Tiny Hands will be the December feature, but I encourage all to download the app. The ministries featured to date are tremendous examples of God working through people to accomplish His work.  Following lunch, we met the Tiny Hands staff member that is the head of investigations at the border stations.  Listening to his account of his work was fascinating and helpful as we learn about all the different aspects of this multifaceted ministry.

Beauty For Ashes
With anticipation, we headed out on Friday to visit the Beauty for Ashes site. It is a separate ministry that helps women that are vulnerable to be trafficked or have come out of the sex trafficking industry and need income. Beauty for Ashes gives opportunity to earn wages through jewelry making or sewing and the products are sold through Tiny Hands or other places. We did not get a chance to meet the women, but we were able to meet the director, tour the home, and see the work of the women. The ministry is a tremendous example of God redeeming His beloved daughters with love and dignity.

School Teachers
One of the joys of our time in Nepal was to meet two fun loving teachers that teach English at a school where some of children of the homes of Tiny Hands attend.  While enjoying a delicious Italian dinner, we enjoyed learning more about their work with the children and their adventures while living in Nepal. The work is challenging and the language barrier a struggle, but day by day, God shows up and uses them to accomplish His purposes.  Way to go Carly and Kylie- It was a joy to meet you!

Marathon continues
The day began with a breakfast with our Tiny Hands friends and an introduction to a new staff member Cara. She has a heart to develop a home through Tiny Hands that specifically serves boys infected with HIV. Her love for God and her heart to serve this precious group of people was apparent in her every word. Thanks Cara for sharing your faith journey with us.  It was a pleasure to spend time with you.

Durbar Square
Blending the history of the dynasty of the kings with the religions of Nepal, our walk through Durbar Square gave us new eyes for the people of Nepal. The square included many religious temples as well as the dwelling for the king in former days. Each new king would build a new temple to leave his mark on the area. The square was also the home of the “Living goddess” who is a little girl selected to serve as the model of purity to the people until she becomes a young woman. While her selection is a great honor, her life is spent in isolation with very brief moments of appearing to the crowds. When we saw her, we were filled with sadness knowing that she lived such a jaded and difficult life.

Monkey Temple
After seeing the Hindu temples and gods in Durbar Square, we immediately traveled to a Buddhist temple in the city. It is called the Monkey Temple because many monkeys live near by, but the worship in the temple is all about Buddha and the prayers of peace and harmony. There were many Buddha incarnations in statue form around the temple as well as prayer flags and wheels.  The history lesson in Buddhism was interesting from our Christian guide who grew up right by the temple, but it was a dark and empty place.  However, the monkeys provided some good entertainment with the baby monkey antics and many great photos!

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