28 Apr Visiting Nepal
I have had the privilege to serve on several missions trips during my life. Two of those trips were visits to Nepal in 2011 and 2012. Redemption London financially supported a church in Kathmandu for several years, so along with that, we had the wonderful opportunity to visit and encourage the believers through leadership training and discipleship. The plane ride was dreadfully long, including a layover in Hong Kong. The airport was congested and noisy. On our first night of our first trip, we arrived at the hotel, exhausted and a little overwhelmed, only to find that there had been a miscommunication regarding rooms. The four of us women spent the night sleeping width wise across one bed. (Someone eventually ended up on the floor!) Yet the next morning, as we arrived at the church, rested and looking our North American best, we were welcomed with jubilant singing, curious smiles, and beautiful marigold wreaths, a Nepali tradition in welcoming others. This was just the beginning of many wonderful days spent with the beautiful Nepalese believers.
I have many significant memories of my trips to Nepal. However, two particular memories stand out in my mind. On my first trip, we were finishing up the Sunday service when some of the women asked if I could come to a room in the church building where a pregnant woman was living. She was showing obvious signs of labour and, through the translator, I realized they were asking me if she should make her way to the hospital. Later, I learned that expectant mothers did not want to get medical care until the very last minute because of the hospital costs. After spending some time with her, I advised them that it was probably a very good idea to get things packed up and go, not wanting to find myself in the middle of a home delivery in Kathmandu! The next day, we had the joy of visiting this new mom and her newborn baby in the hospital. Although she moved away during the year, she happened to come by when we were visiting on our second trip and I had the joy of holding her happy, healthy, one-year-old!
On our second trip, we visited beautiful Chitwan which included an eight-hour trip to the jungle. The roads were treacherous, full of sharp twists and turns, but the scenery was breathtaking. We visited a new church and were able to provide them with some carpet for their new building which the Nepalese men laid down in no time flat. We were also able to participate in the dedication service. After the service, some women approached me, motioning me to a young mother and her small baby. It was obvious that the baby was not well as her tiny chest rose and fell rather rapidly. I spent some time unwrapping the baby from layers of blankets and showing the mom how to use disposable diapers that we had brought with us. It was decided that our team would provide money to pay for the parents to take the eight-hour crowded bus ride to Kathmandu for better medical help. However, the next day we received the heartbreaking news that the baby had died.
These memories tell me this. Although our lives may look very different, at the core, we are all very much the same. These women spoke a different language. They wore different clothes and ate different food. They spent their days in different looking homes and practised different customs. Yet as mothers, we stood on common ground. They looked to me for guidance and wisdom because, as a mother myself, they understood that my mother heart beat along with theirs.
When we are part of God’s family, it does not matter where we live. Our hearts are bound together through more than language, customs or even motherhood. We are joined together through our hope in Jesus Christ, and one day, we will all gather together around the throne of God to declare the story that unites us as one. “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns” (Rev. 19:6).