Suspension Bridges, Strikes and Worship

Posted by Roger Cooke on Tue, 13 Jan 2015 | 0 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to Post this to Facebook

Update from Nepal – Part 2

Going to church at the Leprosy Colony here should be on everyone’s ‘bucket list’. The walk there alone was an experience. It was mostly on something we would call a rough, steep track, but the Nepalis treat it as a road with even a minibus on it. It passes neat fields worked by hand, mostly by the women. Some are in terraces and most have an irrigation system of flowing water in channels. They grow rice, vegetables and even potatoes. We passed many craftsmen weaving, doing basket work, quilt making, wood carving and even making metal idols of Hindu gods. We then walked through an old Nepali village that looked much as it would have a hundred years ago, except for the motorbikes. There was a pagoda-like temple in the village. There are Hindu and Buddhist shrines everywhere. All the time the scenery is beautiful with mountains all around.

The one challenge lay near the end of the walk in the form of a very long suspension foot bridge – think Carrick-a-Rede on steroids! The two team members who are on their 3rd trip had never plucked up the courage to cross the latter, so this was ‘interesting’ for them. “Don’t look down and keep walking” was the advice, which was wise. The irony was that we were followed across by an older man riding his motorbike at a good speed.

We made it to the church and were welcomed and given rugs near the front to sit on. Singing was “a cappella” due to an absence of instruments, but was very enthusiastic and worshipful. Then John McCammon was invited to speak to the 60 or more folks present. He spoke on John 3:16 and gave a deliberately simple and direct message, translated as usual by Bikash, which was very well received. Then B* gave a talk, followed by his father, BK*, leading the prayers. Everyone prays at once, which works surprisingly well.

After the service, some people requested prayer for healing from the team, who were happy to do this. The younger generations in the colony have never had leprosy and the older folk are now ex lepers, but many are disabled because of the disease.

We then piled eight of us and a wheelchair into the 1200cc seven-seater minibus donated by CMSI from the Sunday School project of 2012. The tracks and bad roads looked like Land Rover territory to me but B* proved me wrong with some excellent driving. We were told that about 15 years ago the only way BK* could reach this church was to hire two men to push him on the wheelchair for three hours each way. He is totally dedicated to reaching out with the gospel.

Lunch back in Kathmandu was Vietnamese. It’s a hard life on these META teams!

Bill’s wife, Eleanor, flew out and joined the team late on Sunday and then there were six. We all went out to a restaurant chosen by B* that was a good standard but, like almost all buildings in Kathmandu, unheated. You simply keep your outdoor clothes on.

Maoist leaders have called for strikes and this affected us in that four of the leaders could not make the seminars today but everyone else did. Including the team and those organising them, we had about 45 present. The seminars given by John and Bill were received very well. The folks from the church are so friendly and enthusiastic, they are a joy to be with. They love to worship before every seminar and pray after, everyone praying out loud together. Just wonderful.

We walked back to the guest house through rush hour traffic in Kathmandu. Words cannot describe the near accidents you see but the drivers are amazingly good. The only accident we saw was two boys falling off a bike in front of a car, but the driver stopped in time and the boys were fine. We are all really enjoying the experience of a very different culture with people and vehicles everywhere and sights, sounds and smells. Watched by the goat’s head, we reached the guest house.

The bad news is that the trip to the church in the village of Gorkha is cancelled because of the strikes. We will spend longer in Kathmandu, attending more services next weekend, and longer in Pokhara, so it will still be worthwhile.

Alan Robinson is one of six team members on a CMSI META (Mission Experience Team Abroad) to Nepal. You can read his previous post here

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