Warm Welcomes and First Impressions

Posted by Roger Cooke on Mon, 12 Jan 2015 | 0 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

Alan Robinson, a member of the META team currently in Nepal, shares some of his reflections from the team’s first few days in Kathmandu.

Greeted at the airport with hugs and garlands of orange flowers by B* and his mother, G*; whisked through the free-for-all of Kathmandu traffic; installed in the Norwegian Guest House – SD Church know how to welcome their guests. The warmth of this growing fellowship has to be experienced.

The Nepal META team of 2015 from St Brigid’s, Glengormley and St Patrick’s, Coleraine are here to bring greetings from Ireland and to share in the worship services in the main church and the Leprosy Colony. The Saturday service was as usual led by BK, the pastor. The congregation are seated on huge rugs or on wheelchairs around the walls. Bill Boyce preached and was translated by B*, the son of BK* and G*. Whether the great reception was due to Bill’s excellent Bible exposition or to B*’s exuberant translation, we will never know. But our principle task while we are here is to teach about 40 leaders from around the country on the basics of our faith.

Two of our team have been here before, but this is the first time they have seen the new building for the church’s compassion ministry, SDSS. They have noticed that, although the facilities are much improved from the old carpet factory the church used to use, the spirit and feel of the place is still here. A great design idea was to have building surround a courtyard on three sides to give a small village atmosphere, which makes the patients feel at home and socialise. Even in January everyone lives outside in the sunny courtyard, talking, eating, making crafts and jewellery, and the children play happily.

The main work of SDSS is the Patient Navigator Programme. Patients from outlying districts requiring specialist treatment are met off the bus, brought to the hospital and navigated through the bureaucracy. After treatment, they can then spend time in the new building recuperating. The building can now house up to 50 patients and their carers. Although some patients can spend up to six months here, the average stay is about one month. While they are here, they hear about Jesus and many decide to follow Him. In this way the church has now got small fellowships in 64 of the 75 districts of Nepal. It is leaders from these who we will have the privilege of teaching in the four days of seminars.

The team are also getting to see, hear and smell life in Kathmandu in all its rich diversity. Small motorbikes are much more numerous than cars. The record so far is a family of four on one. The tailor on the pavement uses his sewing machine. The butcher uses a blow torch on his meat while the goat’s head on his counter, open to the street, eyes us suspiciously each time we pass. The policeman at the junction is ignored as he gives cursory waves at the traffic and everyone fights their way through. This is a young city with lots of students seeking an education and there is a lively buzz to it. This atmosphere is enhanced by the white-capped Himalayas visible from the centre of the city.

To be continued…

  • Please note – for security purposes, we avoid using full names of leaders at SD Church

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