Oy Vey! Namaste!

Well, Kathmandu sure has changed since we’ve last been here (but Mt. Everest in the picture to the left hasn’t!).  But we had a blast with our peeps here and especially with Chuck and Abigail.  It’s been adventurous for sure!   Crazy traffic (even worse than FLL), the same meal for 3 days for lunch and dinner, and wearing “funny clothes” that Abigail swears she’ll wear everyday in the US.  HA!  We were greeted by them w/ a 70lb suitcase full of American goodies!  Thank you all who contributed!! (The Hendersons, The Chungs, Abbie R, Scott & Marcie, Abbie and Mrs. Ronna and anyone else I forgot!)

We went to a village and did a training there (yes, with the girls) and it was a good time to see what

Will will be doing in the future once we are finished w/ full time language learning.  I hope to be able to go back w/ him either by myself or w/ the girls (when they’re a little older!).  The receptivity of the folks that attended was really encouraging and humbling.

When we got back to the city, we visited w/ friends, ate some

good food, encouraged one another, and played a little too!  They have a McDonald’s play place-ish place here and it was a BLAST for the girls!  We met a new American friend here and played in the ball pit, rode the train, swung, and ran around with her.  It was a nice break for the girls to get out and of course it ended w/ ice cream 🙂

During our time in the ‘Du, we were able to see an old friend.  I (Beth) was actually with her in KTM in ’05, and she was also in S. Asia when Will J was here too.  They are about to move and we wanted to visit w/ her, her husband and her little boy.  The girls LOVED playing with him (and his cool toys).  Haha!

There are some cool shops there and there just wasn’t enough time to go in them all.  I will be looking for some wall tapestries the next time when we go back.  You know how I feel about white walls!!  I was able to do the Dew in Kathmandu and it was so liberating.  HA!  We had a great trip, but we’re glad to be back in ‘ol FLL!

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A Tale of Two Christmases

We’ve been back about a week from Nepal and I have been reflecting on the trip.  One of the first things that struck me was Christmas Day.

You see, until just a few years ago, Nepal was a Hindu Kingdom; there was no celebration of Christmas.  But for 2008, the new interim government declared Christmas an official holiday.  I thought it was pretty cool.  Everywhere we went, all the people were wishing us a Merry Christmas (only many spelled it “marry” but oh well).  However, the deeper you looked, you realized that they had no idea what was going on.  While my Nepali wasn’t great, I heard on the radio the DJ’s explaining what Christmas is.  And with the huge tourism industry in Nepal, they and the local newspapers would give details of what goes on in the different countries of the world.  When it came to the USA, the emphasis was more on Santa Claus than Christ.  All around the city you would see trees decorated and pictures of Santa Claus (or Saint Nick if you wish).

On Christmas day, I and the team were heading from our hotel to spend the afternoon with some of the missionaries their in town.  We had a great day of eating a big meal, talking, laughing, and sharing Christmas stories.  As we were leaving, our taxi driver told me that around our hotel, they were getting ready to have a big Christmas program.  (Now, “program” is the English translation and can mean anything from an official ceremony to a party.)  I thought it was interesting that the Christmas was getting its own program.  In my Western, Judeo-Christian mindset, I envisioned one thing.  When we returned that evening, we found something completely different. . . The Christmas program was actually a massive street dance party thrown by a local beer company.  I am not great at estimating, but I would bet there were about 3-5,000 people dancing and grinding and celebrating Christmas (many drunk beyond belief) in the middle of the street.  Our taxi let us out right by the stage and we then had to push our way through the masses to get to the street our hotel is on.  Luckily, being 6’5″ helps in this situation, but the sadness till weighs on my heart.  This country that has been locked in Hinduism for its entire existance is finally “free” to celebrate Christmas and here are 5,000 of the next generation in a giant street rave. 

Meanwhile, on the other side of town earlier in the day, one local church publicized that they were having a Christmas fellowship.  They were expecting about 200 people to show up and their last count had over 400 people!  So here in Nepal, the same name was given to 2 Christmas celebrations, yet they could not have been more different.  I remember laying in bed that night just burdened for this younger generation who could care less about Christianity or Hinduism or Buddhism.  They seem to only be concerned about their own image, wants, and desires.  One of the pastors that we met even called this age group agnostics.  The Devil doesn’t let go of them easily; he just moves them from one lost cause to another, from worship of false gods to worship of themself as god, from tradition to rebellion.  Lord, may You draw these people to Yourself.

May the numbers continue to increase in the church outreach and decrease in the street raves.