This is the third time I've attempted to write this post. The power keeps going off right in the middle of it!
Our luggage arrived! Praise God. We went to the airport last night (Thursday night) and picked it up. The pastors here at the conference have been praying with us about this. One pastor who can't speak a lot of English came to me this morning and said, "Luggage?" I said, "Yes, we have it." He gave a giant grin and praised God. Thank all of you for praying for us about our luggage. What a blessing after 4 days without it. Now the orphans are gonna get a BIG blessing today! As we were unloading the bags from the van, one of the orphan girls, 9 year old Erica Ghuru tapped me and said, "Gifts?"
We are finishing the conference this morning (Friday morning) with the final 3 sessions. Luke, Don, and then I will teach the final session. It has been great, and God is moving in these pastors' lives. Many of the orphans who live here have grown up to their late teens and early twenties and are serving in various ministry capacities; basically running the place! Tika is an orphan who is the pastor here while Ram is away. Some young men lead worship in the band: drums, electric guitar, bass, and keyboard. They are very talented and write their own songs (although they have sung Lord I Lift Your Name on High). They want us to bring our band and put on a giant concert for the youth in Kathmandu. Woo-hoo! Their lead singer is a passionate, good looking young man with Buddy Holly glasses (like mine). His name is Silas (pronounced See-Las here). He is engaged to a pretty young lady named Sante. In February he is going for 6 months of pastor training, then they will get married and he will begin to serve as pastor somewhere.
This afternoon after the conference, while you are sleeping in the States, we will load up in a van and drive for 5 hours to Chiton, a town in western Nepal where Ram's brother Harri (Ha-ree) pastors. He has planted 64 churches in that area in the last 17 years and is a delightful and joyful brother. We are going to be preaching in some of his churches tomorrow (Nepali Christains currently meet on Saturdays, not for doctrinal reasons, but because of the Hindu culture. This could be changing in the future because of the new government). Please pray for us as we travel.
Last night our full team, for the first time, got to gather at the restaurant in our hotel and enjoy a nice meal and fellowship together. We all sat around a large square table that was about 2 feet off the ground. We sat in low, padded chairs. The fellowship was so good. We praised God for the good attitudes in all of us in the midst of the struggles. He has given such love and unity on the team! We also feel that God has protected us from spiritual attack. Praise the Lord! Continue to pray for the team. God is answering your prayers, and he is moving in our hearts. Their is brokenness, joy, worship, culture-shock, and more.
Wednesday night we had a unique new year. We had church till midnight. Kirk and I preached and encouraged the church. Then we went outside in the cold and gathered around a bonfire to eat Asian BBQ chicken and coke. Then everyone began to dance! What a culture. Kim would have loved it!! The little orphan preteen girls kept pulling us out to dance with them. We didn't get back to the hotel till 2:20 a.m. And I had to preach first the next morning! (And woke up to take a shower and there was no hot water...)
There is such an amazing bond between us and the Christians here already. Such a common love in Christ! This is a precious people and we believe that God is laying the foundation for a long-term relationship with these guys! There is no end to the help this ministry needs. What an opportunity to join God in his work in the earth! These people love Jesus so much, and are so hungry!! They have such a vision.
Oh yeah, plus - we ate water buffalo yesterday. They serve us lunch here on the church grounds each day. It is SO good. These guys are cooking HIGH QUALITY delicious food for 200 or 300 people daily! Yesterday the meat was water buffalo minced meat in a green sauce. It looked like ground hamburger and tasted awesome! All of us liked it. Each day there is rice, lentil soup poured over the rice, a curry (we've had vegetable, chicken, pork and then the buffalo minced meat) and a chutney (they call it "pickle"). The chutney is a red tomato sauce that is sour and spicy. All we can eat. Whoah!
We all miss you so much, but are having a great time. God is being glorified, and we are joining him to help build a holy, God-glorifying church in Nepal. In heaven we will worship with these saints forever and ever!