Wednesday, December 24, 2008

it's christmas time in the city...

hard to believe but it is christmas eve here...like at home i am not quite done my shopping but for other reasons - it just doesn't feel like christmas here.
we have moved to a flat for 6 weeks - housesitting...feels like a palace because it has hot water and heaters. sucks because we have no internet access but i will not complain!!!!!
the power is going off more frequently here - it is now up to 10 hours a day and they are threatening up to 18 hours. the paper says if that happens then there will be a revolt and it could be dangerous here.
the church is a flurry of activity as they are getting ready for the big christmas feed tomorrow and program. emielia is practicing her dance, ava is counting ribbons and anya is running around with the boys.
rod and i are taking language lessons. you should see the people's faces when we ask them questions in nepali - it is a mixture of admiration and amusement. it draws laughter but they keep encouraging us.
i went to a small village on monday - on a mountain!!!! we sat on a rooftop and sang christmas songs and then they treated us to an amazing feast. on the way home urmilla told me there is a tiger that lives in the forest. i said oh great. she cut thru the forest and started to whistle really loud - she stopped and turned to me and smiled...it's for the tiger she said. needless to say i joined in the song. i was relieved to be on the bus back home.
well, i must go and shop.
merry christmas to all
and to all a goodnight.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Why?

God ...why have you given our family so much wealth compared to the majority in the world. I see so much poverty all around me and I long for them to have more......clean water, lots of good food, medicine, work which does not cripple their bodies, warm clothes and a house. It seems like they're trapped in this life of poverty and sickness. Many can't afford to buy bottled water, a box of Kraft dinner or medicine for their kids and some lay at night on the streets out in the cold. God...I wish I could take their poverty away. Was I born "lucky"? Was I dealt a good hand? I know the cookie cutter answers that I have used so many times like "they are so rich in other ways" or "God likes to give gifts to me - His child".....I don't dispute the truth of these statements Lord, but would I be willing to trade places wth these people ...I now know why so many people are flocking to the Maoist party....they are poor and don't want to be poor any more. God, these man made solutions don't seem to be working. At times I feel so guilty just having more than others, and maybe justifiably so ......What do you want us to do?....the starving are no longer on my TV screen where I can change the channel to the Weather Network or to my favorite fishing show.....These people are my neighbors....they are becoming my friends. Should my geographical location matter? Do you want me to be like St. Francis of Assisi or Mother Theresa who gave up their wealth to live with the poor?...Am I "entitled" to my wealth because "I am Canadian!"?..... Does the money in my bank account really belong to me? Sometimes I have such a tight grip on my wallet.
The responsibilty for these people is ever increasing. My love for these people is growing more and more. I am sorry for all the times I spent cash on things just to accumulate more or to help me pass the time away. I am sorry for using your name in vane saying that those things were gifts from You when they were really gifts to myself...Help me Lord to be more generous to others and remove this selfishness from my blood. I am sorry for the times I gave the poor my crumbs. Thank you for your forgiveness. Let me steward the money that you have put in my trust that is pleasing to You. I need so much wisdom.
Lord, please heal the sick, bring them some yummy food and clean water... or maybe even apple juice, give them really warm clothes and a place to sleep without a leaky roof. And I pray that they would know that You reallylove them and that You think that they are important. Thank you for listening.

Love, RJ

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

i look at the calendar...see the date december 10 but yet can't quite grasp it. wherever i look it denies the existence of winter for a good ole saskatchewan girl. no snow, no frostbite, no near death gusts of wind....just banana trees and flowers and a slight nip in the morning air. yet i see people in scarves, winter jackets, hats, blankets all trying to keep the chill at bay. my children still want to wear short sleeves with no jackets and shorts.
when i go out there is no christmas decorations or music or comments on what will you be doing for the season - i live in a hindu country. people are excited for the holiday...there is a 6 week break from school for the festivals but no mention of jesus in a manger.
something is missing.
i hear the early morning bells ring and this strange sounding horn but it all sounds so empty and hollow. i have been told stories of the young people breaking away from the hindu faith because they believe there must be so much more - am i really bound by a caste system? can i not extend a hand to someone "beneath" me? do i have to follow in my parents occupation or could i do something more? what happens after i die?
searching...
hoping...
rebelling...
there have been a lot of unrest in kathmandu lately - youth angry with the treatment of the people, many youth killed because of clashes or questionable ties with extremist groups, many questions asked but no answers.
we have seen bans, road closures, burning of tires in protest, demonstrations in the streets, fighting. in the height of the anger it is advised that you not go out, stay home where it is safe.
sadness...
despair...
anger...
i wonder what will become of this crowded country as it tries to find its way...it's people cry for democracy. it finally has it but no change has come or maybe change has begun but it is too slow for the people here.
i look at canadian politics and hope they never ask for advice from us!!!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

home sweet home











we live in a compound...which houses the church, a medical clinic, offices, the new boys living area, a carpenter's shop and a room where they sell product made by the women of the church. pastor shem and his wife sumi also live on site.

above is a picture of anya standing in the doorway to our living area. we have access to 3 rooms. we all sleep in the big room -that has been a big adjustment!! we share space with rats, ants and cockroaches - another big adjustment!













we live in community which has its ups and downs...they hear the tantrums of a frustrated four year old and the whining of others...mmm..not to mention any names. we are learning how to share with those in need and in return, to ask for help when needed. we share food, have afternoon tea, play cars with the boys, exchange stories, sing and dance in the courtyard under the stars.












Saturday, December 6, 2008

women part 2 - the power of words...

don't tell anyone but i skipped out of church today to sit with a couple of friends in the sun. we were talking about our siblings and when it came to puja's turn she seemed hesitant...
she said, didn't i tell you my story?
no, i replied.
she began to share about when her mother was pregnant with her, she was given an ultimatum - if this baby is a girl you have no place in my house unless you get rid of it. if it is a boy you may stay. well, puja was born and her mother left her as a newborn in an orphanage. she said, i have no mother, no father, no brother, no sister and no husband - just my 2 children. and i have you, elisa and my family here at church who are brothers and sisters to me.

you see, one month ago i was walking with her and 3 other ladies. i was so caught up with being with friends...sisters exploring the forgotten streets of kathmandu...laughing and holding hands. i looked at each one of them and told them i had always wanted sisters and here i have found it.
she never forgot my claim. neither will i.

women...

i went to a meeting...no boys allowed...12 x 12 room...37 women gathered to sing and pray in a language foreign to my ears but not to my eyes. i saw tears and smiles and glowing faces. i listened to an elderly woman's testimony...i watched her weathered hands create a mime of her life thruout the years. i witnessed her eyes light up as her voice rose in a rush of animated jargon. and i was mesmerized - her hair streaked with grey, her nose pierced, her chin marked with tribal tattoos, her arms decorated with colored bangles, her feet bare. she is beauty filled - her life had been filled with hopelessness, death and despair and yet in the middle she found jesus, a community and a place to belong.

i have found friends...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Ready for school....


Gatlang....a village near the Tibetan border.

As I took this first journey into the mountains I grimaced with abdominal discomfort with every bump of this nasty road(worse than any logging trail I've been on in B.C.) wondering if I should have just stayed home. Earlier that morning I asked Jesus whether I should go and he reminded Elisa and I... "I can do all thing through Christ that strengthens me!" I than focused my attention to Shem Dai and thought to myself that this man (approaching 60 yrs old) makes this journey over and over again with a smile on his face often having to go on a terrible bus ride with people vomiting (travel sickness) and than having to hike for a day to this village while carrying a heavy backpack. I asked him what first brought him to these villages and he stated "when I was a guide I would see the people dying of sickness without Jesus.. it made me very sad so I decided I would go and help these people I love." The feelings of "poor me" quickly faded and my admiration for Shem and his heart increased. The morning prior to our last ascent into Gatlang was hard for me to get moving, but Raju and Shem prayed for my tummy. I felt a last nudge from Jesus and a shot of energy just like he promised earlier.
When we were entering the village of Gatlang there soon became a parade of little children chasing the vehicle with smiles and laughter. The rest of the day was so joyous for me despite my abdominal discomfort. God's love for these people filled my heart. There are so many sick people here in Gatlang who have no one to give them simple medicines like tylenol for fever or electrolyte powder for dehydration which many children die from. A young man from the village came to my side to pray for my stomach as I layed on the floor in a tiny Tamarang house and I became overwhelmed.
We are so blessed! I cannot forget these people!.... I cannnot foget their faces!...I cannot forget their stuggle!
please read caption on last Gatlang picture

Children of Gatlang


Beautiful Tamarang Woman


Newly Weds



Mountain Children




Shem and I with friends from Gatlang
p.s. the man on the right has been suffering with terrble pain and diarhea for a long time.I didn't know what what causing it(pin worms, bacteria, amebic, protozoa or viral) or what to give him which broke my heart so I ended up giving him Tylenol, and electrolyte powder. Please pray for him.



At the riverbed



Earlier this year Corina Lewis had taken this lady to the hospital to deliver this beautiful baby boy(baby was named by Ken Lewis). When I went to visit the family at the Riverbed with Shem the baby was lethargic, fevered and mother said that the baby had ++difficulty urinating. The Dr. had told her that the the baby needed an operation. Shem asked if there was any medicine I had to give to the family but I had none. Shem with Faith and Rod (with a mustard seed amount of faith)prayed for the baby to be healed.The next visit we made the baby and mother are all smiles and saying after we prayed the baby got better. Looks pretty healthy eh!
p.s. Corina,the mother say's she misses you!

Monday, December 1, 2008

the honeymoon is over....

yep, it is official....the honeymoon stage is over. the doubt has crept in, with the questions of "why am i here? i could be somewhere else....doing more exciting things...maybe i have made a mistake...."
editors note(please take all of this with a grain of salt since my emotional state is a little off balance because of lack of sleep and a headache that has settled in.)
i am wondering.
i am waffling.
i am pondering.
i am missing...
i am unsure of what my place is in this world of great need. everywhere i look, everywhere i walk i am accosted with poverty and i am overwhelmed. i can see why westerners rent beautiful flats with high fences up on a hillside away from the noise, the pollution, the cries, the needs. even as i write this i am somewhat embarrassed that i am even thinking that way but yet a part of me gets it and a part of me would never partake.
i just would like a to-do list and maybe if i could check things off i would feel a little better. here there are no lists...it is a matter of survival.

Friday, November 28, 2008

pictures


Us on our rooftop


Mema and Emielia

Saturday, November 22, 2008

stories from afar...

i had nepali tea ... pretend tea that is ... with a four year old girl named mima. she is a beauty with big dark eyes and a smile that melts the hardest heart. we play ball. she teaches me nepali words and i teach her english. everytime she comes to the compound she rushes to our door and yells "didi" (big sister). she has been living with her aunt and uncle for 2 years now. her mother left her one day because she met a man who didn't want to live here and didn't want a child. her story is not unique. many children are left with other family members, on the street or at boarding schools so the parents can do whatever they want.

we have a wonderful lady that is teaching me how to cook nepali food named sarah. she was telling me a story about her last pregnancy - the doctors had told her to get rid of it because it was sure to be deformed. she told them no. they persisted and persisted right to the point of delivery but she stood her ground. born to her was the most amazing son who she named bikosh. yesterday i had the chance to play in his band. he is handsome, intelligent, plays at least 4 instruments and leads a group here. he is also our nepali tutor.

there is a teenager that visits us about once a week...he is dirty, part blind, barefoot, and has a huge scar across the one side of his head (we found out that he had surgery to take out part of his brain. the boys here call him half-brain). he is mocked, spit at, pushed and rod has decided to take him in. so we have snack time with him. we all sit outside in the sun and feed him his favorite - fanta and bread with honey. he gobbles it like he has not eaten since the last time he was here. he is our friend.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

date in kathmandu....














loving it....

we have had a great time with the johns and rademakers....it is nice to talk with out the language barrier and to have people actually get and laugh at my jokes.
rod and i have had a live-in helper...thanks to barb who has made meals, babysat, been the art teacher and a snack supplier....kudos to dave who has widened our horizon to dried fruit snacks from around the world. we will miss them when they leave.
i feel so full of things to share and i just don't know where to start...i love it here...i cannot imagine leaving and when i do think about it i cry. this place has gotten into my blood. when i asked the rest of my family if they wanted to stay longer the response was not as favorable. the girls do miss the conveniences of home, mcdonalds, friends, bikes, toys.
ah, who knows where this might go but for now i will soak in every moment here...and hope that we will come back.

you know you are in nepal when.....

so i have been here one month and this is some useful information i have gathered...
*if you are told i will see you on monday....they really mean wednesday.
*if they say an expected time of arrival...add two hours.
*tylenol is considered a wonder drug here.
*remove the "poopoo and peepee shoes" when you get in the house.
*water is not to be taken for granted.
*nepali people do swear at stupid white people who step out in front of their motorcycle.
*buff burgers is not the same as beef.
*rice is a staple and served 2-3 times a day here.
*watch where you walk.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

stories

A few neat stories to share that happened this week. Elisa and I gathered the kids and took a Tuk Tuk (small electric powered bus) to Thamel (downtown Kathmandu). The little Tuk Tuk wound its way through the streets and in the middle of no where the driver told us to get out as this was our bus stop.....a Nepali man sitting beside me piped up (in perfect english)and stated that we should continue further and explained this to the driver. This kind gentleman got out at our proper bus stop and guided us to our destination. Reminds me of Psalm 139 vs5,6 (....the girls think the man was an angel sent by God).
As we were walking in Thamel we encountered a lady on the ground with a withered leg begging for money. Without hesitation Anya handed the lady her water bottle and the lady's eyes started to well up. That same day as we were making our way back Emielia and Ava gave their water bottle to a man with leprosy...his fingers were missing and appeared to be blind in one eye. Later when we got home the girls prayed for these people and inside I felt the delight of our Father.
Yesterday, De pock (a street boy with a head injury) came to the church compound to visit. He started to play trucks with Anya ....I approached him and he put out his hand and asked for 1 rupee (approximately 1.5 cdn cents) I called Ava and we served him digestive cookies ,a glass of sprite and a package of Mr. noodles. He repeatedly stated dhanyabaad,dhanyabaad (thank you, thank you) and went on his way. I later thought maybe that was Jesus in disguise as it felt like we were serving a King.
rj

nepali dance..

video

class at the zoo...


anya with her new friends.


the little white girl...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

not your average day...

what i love....
smiles
dancing
singing
oreo cookies
prayers


what i wish i had not seen...
the pee wall
goats mating
a bat the size of a small cat
the sounds of rats scurrying above us (yes, there seems to be more then one)
a child being hit by an adult

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

kathmandu

well.....so sorry i have not updated - it has been a bit of an overwhelming week with the heat, the millions of ants in our apartment, the rat, the cockroaches, gekos, the howling dogs, the huge the jet lag...
we arrived last thursday to beautiful chaos. we felt somewhat accustomed to the time difference since we had stayed overnight in soeul (at the hyatt regency hotel - a gift from the airline!!!!!) the rooms were like walking into an ikea showroom. had freed dinner and breakfast and then boarded the flight for our last leg of the journey. when we arrived at the airport (or should i say a small bus terminal) there was another 747 unloading its passengers so this little place was crammed with tourists. we stood in line for 2 hours waiting to get our visas. there was a nice man who helped us and we ended up bypassing the long line up (so just imagine how long we would have been standing there!!!). we got a visa for three months and the children were free. (because they are cute :)
the first 3 days was horrible...rod and i walked into a fairly dirty place so we had to scrub and disinfect the whole place. it has been overwhelming trying to teach the girls not to touch everything they see, not to put their fingers in their mouth, not to pick their nose, not to touch their feet, always wear your indoor shoes inside....blah blah. oh, and always use hand sanitation - the joys of living with a nurse. but i must say rod has been amazing...never seen him clean so much and i think it is pretty hot :) and so far we have been doing very well. it helps that we have our own kitchen and we cook our own food.
it is amazing what sleep can do with your outlook on life. i feel now that we can do it....we can make it thru. and it is amazing what a schedule can do...we wake up between 6 and 7, eat breakfast, start school at 9 till 11, play time, lunch and then a family outing. we bought a year membership at the zoo (about $15 canadian) and it is an incredible zoo that houses black bear, tigers, monkeys, hyennas, hippos, rhinos and more that we haven't had a chance to see yet.
noel (the pastor) has encouraged us to take our time before we embark on any thing big. rod has already started setting up the medical clinic and has been able to take care of a few people. Noel has asked for my help in communicating with the west and in time i will get more involved with the women here.
well, i must get back to school....

Saturday, October 11, 2008

journey across canada

here i sit in abbotsford...waiting....seems to be a theme in my life...waiting for sleep to come...waiting for morning....waiting to arrive at the next destination...waiting...

we have travelled across canada - had christmas last week (with a tree, carols and trimmings), then 6 months worth of birthday festivities and 2 days later a pinata filled with candy. tomorrow is a thanksgiving feast. feels like we are trying to squeeze in as many family celebrations as physically possible before we leave. emotionally i feel like i am about to burst and i won't even mention my waistline.
i have come to the place where i am ready to take the leap no matter what. reminds me a little of childbirth when you come to the point of no return. you are tired of being fat and bloated and uncomfortable...you want to meet this baby and try to get back to "normal" life. i am ready to birth even if it hurts...i am ready to meet this new one i have carried for so long - this dream that is about to become a reality.

so on tuesday we leave for seattle to fly to soeul, korea and then to kathmandu....i will call it transitional labor. on thursday i will hold my babe :)
elisa

ps. no mom - i am not really pregnant :)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

today is the day...

the bags are packed and waiting at the front door. i can hear the chatter of my children as they play and rod desperately trying to finish one last project. we leave in 2 hours and if whatever was on my list is not done - oh well!!!
thank you to my friends...you have been such amazing supports and come thru with encouragement and meals and your cleaning expertise when i thought i was about to have a nervous breakdown. we love you all!!!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

30 days and counting....

we are down to a month and the journey begins across western canada. we will eventually reach seattle and plan to fly to kathmandu on october 14.
there is a subtle difference between excitement and anxiety. i have found that the physical reactions (sweaty palms, heart palpitations, mindless chatter, forgetfulness, shifty eyes) mimic each other. ask how i feel - i am suspended among the two.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

dreaming...

i have been dreaming of this day for years...a time to take my family to see Nepal first hand and it is finally taking shape.
our departure date from winnipeg is still 7 weeks away but so much needs to happen in the meantime.
think of us - we need someone to rent out our house while we are gone. preferably a really nice person :)
more updates to come....