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Nepal, 2016, Part Five

September 7, 2017

We were given a little history of the Nazarene Church in Nepal by the District Superintendent. In 1998 a missionary from the Nazarene Church in India brought the Jesus film to Nepal and as a result several churches were started. There are now 15 churches in western Nepal and a total of over 140 Nazarene churches in the entire country. Many of the churches are still “house churches”, like the one we attended but they are slowly building church buildings, like this one, as their congregations grow and more pastors become trained.

It’s Sunday but this is a work day in Nepal. We celebrated the Lord at the Dhangadhi Church of the Nazarene yesterday with all of the local congregation. Back to work we go, after breakfast and devotions at the Hotel. Our three-quarters of a mile walk, as usual, shows us many sites we are not used to seeing at home.

I don’t usually paint my cows but it seems to fit in here

We continue to help laying bricks for the church walls and the local workers bring frames for windows and doors. These had been built in advance and were ready to install.

Door and window frames are held in place with ropes to keep them plumb and level

The walls continue to grow and the local workers start to assemble the scaffolding so we can reach the top of the walls.

The walls go up

Friends come to see us daily

Some of the women come daily to help with the mortar.

As we finish our part of the project the side walls reach to where the second story will start. The balance of the walls will be finished by the local crew.

The top of the wall.

Sharing a meal with the host family and the rest of the crew.

Sharing dinner of rice and fish.

As we prepare to leave on our last day at the job site there are many fond goodbyes and a final time of prayer. Many of the local workers and some of our team gathered for a final group photo.

Fond goodbye’s

We leave the job site counting our blessings. It has been a privilege to work alongside these beautiful, spirit filled people of Nepal. In Mark 12:31 (NIV) Jesus said “…..‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” We felt this was a way of life with the people we met in Nepal.

Tomorrow we are off on an adventure to see some of the beauty of Nepal as we start the journey back home.

 

 

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Rwanda, 2017, The Begining

September 4, 2017

Another adventure begins! We are off to Kibogora, Rwanda (Officially the Republic of Rwanda) in the middle of October, 2017. We have been asked to help manage a mission station for the Free Methodist Church. The mission station is part of the Central Africa Healthcare Association (C.A.H.O.). Kibagora is in the very South West corner of Rwanda. It is situated on a hillside overlooking Lake Kivu.

One of the smallest countries in Africa

The sunset over Lake Kivu

Rwanda is a landlocked East African country with a , verdant mountainous landscapes. Its renowned Volcanoes National Park is home to mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. The park encompasses 4,507m-tall Mt. Karisimbi and 4 other forested volcanoes. In the southwest is Nyungwe National Park, with ancient mountain rain forest that is a habitat for chimpanzees and other primates. Rwanda has a population of about 12,000,000 people. Located a few degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The mission station has a Hospital, School of Nursing and Bible College, as well as the large, district Free Methodist church. Guest houses are maintained for the many guests who come for visits or to assist in the many outreaches of the national church. Part of our responsibilities will be to host visiting missionaries, doctors and guests that visit the station. We will also be helping the local residents with tasks like construction, maintenance and bookkeeping. Our hope is that we can share what abilities we might have with the local people while we partner with them, and participate in their lifestyle and traditions. We also hope to share our walk with Jesus, to be His Hands and Feet to help further His Kingdom.

 

Nepal, 2016, Part Four

August 4, 2017

It’s Saturday here in Nepal and this is the national “day off” for workers, so today is the day we will worship in the Dhangadhi Church of the Nazarene. Because the new church is still under construction services are held on the porch of the Pastor’s house. It is a short bus ride to the outskirts of the city where the Pastor’s home is located. On the way we are close enough to India to see the border.  Arriving we are welcomed by Pastor Rudra and Assistant Pastor Roshan.

Arriving at the Pastor’s House

Pastor Rudra and Assistant Pastor Roshan.

The team was welcomed by the congregation and given gifts of national scarves.

Like most church services this one started with singing some hymns.  As they were sung in the local language we did not understand the words but did recognize some of the hymn tunes. (Amazing Grace) We sang along with the rest of the congregation in our own language. The sermon was given by one of the team members and translated from English to the local language by one of the national Pastors. In Matthew 18:20 it says “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” This has always been true where ever I go in the world and His presence was there with us in this service as well.

After services we went to lunch at a local restaurant and then took a little tour of some local sites.

The first stop was at a Buddhist Temple near a River. We were told this river is where the church baptizes new members.

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Saturday is the national day of rest for the people of Nepal so there were many people here for a day out enjoying the sights. We found we were an attraction because they do not see many Americans here! All of the young people wanted to have their picture taken with us.

A group of students posing for a picture with me.

After we returned to the city we found out we were invited to attend a showing of the Jesus film being shown at a rice farm an hour’s ride from city. We arrived for the last half of the film which was in the local language. After the film several people expressed their desire to hear more about this “Jesus”.

Watching the Jesus Film

We were then invited to dinner with the farm family where we enjoyed a meal of nicely seasoned rice and fish.

Getting ready for a delicious meal

All of the beds and bedding were set aside to make room for us to eat

A special thanks to our host and hostess for allowing the showing of the Jesus film to the community and for the hospitality shown to us with a great meal. It was an appropriate end to a wonderful day knowing that God is working in Nepal. It says in Ephesians 19-20 (NIV) ” 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.”

We certainly see this in the People of Nepal.

Nepal, 2016, Part Three

April 18, 2017

Today it is back to work laying bricks for the new Church of the Nazarene in Dhangadhi, Nepal. We start off with a walk to the job site where we see many sights that are strange to us but common here in Nepal.

Local vegetables for sale

Local vegetables for sale

Each day we arrive at the job site we find new people who come to help. As we do not speak the language we communicate with a smile and a hand shake. Everyone seems to know what to do so we pitch in to help and continue to see the wall get higher as the day progresses.

The wall continues to grow

The wall continues to grow

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The local workers start adding door and window frames to the wall

Nepal is a country where most people are Hindus or Buddhist, but there is a growing Christian population in the country. In or near the town of Dhangadhi in western Nepal a missionary from India came a few years ago showing the Jesus film. As a result,  and from other showings of the film there are now 15 Nazarene Churches in this region of the country. Most of the churches, like the one we are helping build,  are currently house churches.

As the walls continue to rise we are in need of scaffolding to be able to reach the top of the wall. The next day when we arrive at the site we find materials have been rented to build the scaffolding. It consists of bamboo poles and sheet metal to walk on to be tied together with rope.

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Material for building Scaffolding to stand on

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The Scaffolding starts to take shape

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We are finishing up the week and preparing for the weekend. In Nepal, the day off from work throughout the country is Saturday. As a result, church groups meet on Saturday when people are free from work and able to attend. After the day’s work we returned to the Hotel for supper and a good night’s sleep before church tomorrow. Following supper we meet for devotions and are able to reflect on the day’s work.

We have found that the people we meet are always polite and friendly and most of all they seem happy and make us welcome. The more we get to know them we find that many of them know some English and begin to communicate with us making us feel at home here in Nepal.

Tomorrow we are looking forward to church services at the pastor’s house and some sightseeing around the city of Dhangadhi.

Zambia, 2016, The End and Trip Home

January 19, 2017

We were privileged to hear a concert from a recording star, Ephraim, known through southern Africa for his gospel music and this is his story.

Ephraim with missionary Gary Sidle giving us a concert

Ephraim with missionary Gary, giving us a concert

Ephraim had wanted to be a musician since he was a little boy.  As he entered his teen-age years, he had given his life to Jesus.  God gave him the gift of a beautiful voice and soon he was being sought after to sing in many venues.  He desired to sing on the radio so that his voice would be heard all over Zambia!  He was approached by an agent who promised backing financially and publicity….if he would not sing Christian songs!! After much soul-searching he knew that his voice had to be used to sing praise to Jesus so he contacted the agent to tell him he could not accept his offer.  Despite a feeling of wondering if he would ever fulfill his dream of singing “on air”,  he knew in his heart that he had made the right decision.  Some time later he was approached by a Christian agent who offered funding and his career was launched!  Today he is a much-loved and popular singer, heard all over Zambia and in to South Africa, singing songs that share the gospel message!  What a blessing his music was  to us…and to our national brothers who knew his songs by heart and sang along with him!

Our last day was full of packing then saying good-by to the local people we worked with while in Zambia. A trip to Lusaka and good-by to the our missionary friends. Then it was off to Dubai in the United Arab Eminence. Most of the team continued on to return to the US, but four of us had arranged a short stay in Dubai.

Once out of the airport and off to a hotel for the night we arranged for a tour of the city the next day. We were amazed at the opulence of the city which can best be described in pictures.

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We visited the Burj Khalifa It is the tallest structure in the world, standing at 829.8 m. tall. The bottom floors are a mall which is also the largest mall in the world. The highlights of the mall were a huge indoor aquarium, a spectacular water falls and over 1500 stores and shops. We also toured one of the Palm Islands called Palm Jumeirah.

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Palm Jumeirah consists of a tree trunk, a crown with 16 fronds, and a surrounding crescent island that forms an 11 kilometer-long breakwater. The island itself is five kilometers by five kilometers. It adds 78 kilometers to the Dubai coastline.

Residents began moving into Palm Jumeirah properties at the end of 2006, five years after land reclamation began. The Palm Island address is considered a status symbol in Dubai.

It all seemed a bit overwhelming to us but it was an experience we will always remember. In the end we were happy to return to the U.S.A. and our own home!

We thank God for all the blessings we received on this trip and express our appreciation to the Chicago Heights Church of the Nazarene for the opportunity to participate in this adventure and opportunity to do God’s work.

Nepal, 2016, Part Two

January 18, 2017

Our first work day started with breakfast at the hotel.

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Soup and flat bread for breakfast

It was a three-quarter mile taxi ride to the job site the first day. After the first day we walked to the job site. We passed many shops and witnessed a lot of traffic on the way.

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A typical taxi

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Other transportation was a common site.

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One of the many shops along the way to the work site

Once on the work site our task was to help the local people lay brick walls around the newly built foundation.

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We started with a water level around the building to be sure all the bricks would be level

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Bricks had to be hauled to the site in wheelbarrows.

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Mortar needed to be mixed by hand

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Starting the first row of bricks

Everyone pitched in carrying, stacking and laying bricks. By lunch time several rows were in place. The bricks were placed two bricks thick with alternating directions for overlapping joints.

The wall starts to grow

The wall starts to grow

We always had an audience of neighbors passing by or the children of the neighborhood trying to see what was going on. Everyone we met were very friendly and all seemed happy to see us. Throughout our stay in Nepal were met by friendly and happy people who have made this trip one of the most enjoyable experiences I have encountered.

Even though many of the people we met were Buddhist or Hindu we find they treated us as the bible tells us in Hebrews 13:2 “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

Some new found friends came to visit

Some new-found friends came to visit

After the wall reached a height of about two feet tall a layer of cement with reinforcement bars was added to give the wall more strength.

Adding re-bar to the wall for strength

Adding re-bar to the wall for strength

The ladies of the group found a restaurant where we could eat lunch, in the neighborhood, for the first day on the job. After that they went shopping at a local market and brought food to the job site each day.  As we ate the first day it was evident that some things are the same world-wide. (see below)

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John tells us in 1 John 4:7  “Dear  friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”

 

Zambia, 2016, Part Seven

January 12, 2017

On Monday morning most of the people went on a short safari in Misiotunya National Park. I had been there before so it seamed like a good time to catch up on some rest before the long trip back from Livingstone. It rained most of the day on the bus ride back to the work site and we were all tired and ready for bed after the long bus ride.

If you would like to see some pictures of the park take a look at the article in Zambia, 1012, Part Nine.

The next day it was back to work for most of us. Some of the women started preparing for Vacation Bible School (VBS) at the church. Children have been invited from several of the neighboring churches.

Finished floor with the grouting done

Finished floor with the grouting done

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Finished closet now in use

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Plumbing installed with new water heaters

 

Shower curtians and rods installed.

Shower curtains and rods installed.

The good news is on the last day of the trip we all had hot and cold running water in our bathrooms. With the first eight rooms completed there is only sixteen more rooms to be done. The next team will have plenty of work when they arrive.

In the afternoon children arrive for VBS. many arrive on foot but some come in a 15 passenger van. One load contained 48 children. With crafts, games, singing and puppet show for each session all of the kids had a good time and were able to hear the salivation message.

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After VBS some of the team and children went outside and had a small soccer game. What a wonderful thing to be able to see the children hear the story of Christ and get a respite from their normal lives. I think the blessing is as much for the team as for the children.

Luke 18:16-17 says: “But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” “

Zambia, 2016, Part Six

December 15, 2016

Today we are in Livingstone, Zambia, on a Sunday morning and looking foreword to church services at the First Church of the Nazarene, Livingstone, St. Peters congregation.

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The young people of the church

We are off to a rousing Sunday morning starting with a welcome and a bible study presented by Pastor Smoke.

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We were then honored to have each group from the church starting from the youngest to the elders of the church present us with a song or dance to honor God.

Some of the young people of the church

Some of the young people of the church

The elder ladies or sanctified women of the church

The elder ladies or sanctified women of the church

We were then treated by a sermon in English from Will, a member of our team, with translation by Pastor Smoke for the local congregation.

Our morning sermon

Our morning sermon

After church we were treated to news that we would be part of the ground breaking ceremony for a new school that would be built on the church property. Our team leaders had brought some funds, donated in memory of their grandson who had recently passed on to be with the Lord, to help fun the project. We all gathered at the site with the local congregation for the dedication.

The dedication

The dedication

The ground breaking

The ground breaking

After completion of the ceremony and ground breaking we were invited back to the church for a meal. We enjoyed tasting some of the local food along with the company of many of the church family.

Preparing our meal

Pastor Smoke and his wife Loveness

Preparing our meal

Preparing our meal

Then it was back to our hotel for a little respite before our next adventure. In the afternoon we were off to board a boat to curse the Zambezi River above Vitoria Falls.

Our boat for the cruse up the river

Our boat for the cruse up the river

Wat a wonderful way to see Gods work as we cruse the river.

Wildlife all along the river bank.

Wildlife all along the river bank.

Company in the river.

Company in the river.

As the day comes to a close we are awed by what we see in this beautiful country of Zambia.

A fitting end of the day

A fitting end of the day

Genesis 1:24, And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so.”