Two weeks down, one to go. I would have posted sooner, but we have been away from Kathmandu and traveling for the past 11 days or so. It will be impossible to summarize all that we have seen and done since being here in one post, but I will try my best.
I would like to say thank you for everyone's continued thoughts and prayers. It truly does make a difference. The LORD has clearly blessed us through overall decent health and energy (with few exceptions), our awesome translators and guides - Raju and his brother Rajan, great food, safety, beautiful scenery, and most importantly, the wonderful church members and children we have come to serve.
There are also a variety of new challenges that God has given us on this trip. There really are so many luxuries we take for granted at home that are not always found here. Air conditioning, toilets, and comfortable beds are a few that I miss at times. To come from a land where, for the most part, we can get what we want and to go to one of the poorest countries in the world can be a difficult transition. There have been many times when I've needed to bite my spoiled American tongue while tired, hungry, thirsty, hot, etc. Because even during our short stay here, we are living in much better conditions than most of the locals. For some, including myself, sickness has been a challenge. Another challenge has been taking 5-hour hikes in hot and humid weather. This trip has been plenty challenging, but equally rewarding. Through each challenge we face we are reminded of Who brought us here and what we are here to do.
It's hard to believe we have already visited all but one church on our itinerary. I have to admit that at first I didn't really know how to act when visiting these churches and teaching these kids, but it didn't take long before I was hooked to seeing all the children at each new church, hearing their beautiful praises to their Creator, and listening to them shout their answers of faith. It really is a whole new worship atmosphere. The music is incredible. In the churches nearer to the city, more contemporary forms of song can be found and in the village churches, songs usually sound more tribal. For the most part, the children will greet you with a smile that is just contagious, and when we teach our lessons, it is evident that although we are not united in language, we are united in faith in our Savior. At one church in particular, the kids were dancing with us and talking to us after the service, and I think it was the hardest time I've had leaving a church. When we left, one of the boys said, "I will see you tomorrow?" It was heartbreaking. A bunch of the kids ran after our truck as we drove away. And although it is unlikely I will meet these children again on this earth, the hope that I will see them again in heaven is wonderful.
In between teaching kids and traveling, we have done some relaxing things as well. We spend a day visiting the Chitwan National Park area, where we went to an elephant breeding station. Many team members took an elephant shower, and we also took an hour and a half long elephant ride through the forest. We got back to Kathmandu a day early, so we have a nice full day of downtime. Tomorrow we are leaving for a town where we will get to visit hot springs.
It looks like the rest of my team will be eating breakfast shortly, so I'm going to wrap this up (finally). Thanks again for all the support. God Bless