When the BMW Blog said it was going to do a blog hop on "10 Things You Wish People Knew About Your Field," I jumped on the opportunity... I jumped on it like a missionary when they see cheddar cheese on the shelf for the first time at the grocery store. Why?
Well, on deputation, I was asked all kinds of questions. I had such a limited perspective! I had only been on a short survey trip here in Southern Asia (country name withheld intentionally.) I didn't have the big picture, yet I had to answer questions. I want to set the record straight...
For example, on deputation I emphasized trash. Yes, there is a lot of rubbish in the city. So, yes... true story. And I thought about idolatry. Again... true. I thought about all the negative things because they were shocking to me. But my limited perspective blinded my eyes to...
I live in the most beautiful country on the planet.
Mountains that literally can leave you speechless. They are THAT beautiful.
Even the hill country is so breathtaking that you can't help but stop, take a picture, and admire the view.
By the way, speaking of taking pictures...
I live in a photographer's paradise!
Colors... stories... extremes... and rich culture. And the cutest children!!! National Geographic Magazine regularly chooses pictures from this place for the cover.
I certainly wish I was a better photographer, but I think a toddler could take better pictures than me!
I live among some of the most resilient, flexible, and content people in the world.
I watched them after the earthquakes...
I watch them now during the current petrol crisis and cooking gas shortage.
Living in relief shelters, cooking over firewood, riding on the top of buses.
They just adapt and work around the difficulties.
When I talk about how bad the roads are here (the dangerous driving, the terrible road conditions, etc) I am not exaggerating.
If anything, I am putting it in the nicest way possible so that I don't scare my Granny. No, if you haven't been outside the USA, you will not be able to comprehend it. Even well traveled people who have been to many third world countries have come to our country and admitted... these are the craziest roads on the planet. Please pray for us!
Cooking here is mostly from scratch... as in the REAL "from scratch."
If your definition of "from scratch" includes recipes with canned cream of chicken soup, a seasoning packet, or a box of anything... well, that used to be my definition, too.
Christmas is a precious time here.
It takes a lot more effort to make it feel like Christmas here, and that has caused us to treasure every moment, every decoration, every Christmas card, every scented candle...
There are a lot of fun things to do here!
Before we moved here, I thought my children's childhood was tossed out the window. I thought they would never get to experience real fun again... Boy was I wrong!
Living here isn't for the lazy or the faint of heart, but God's grace and strength are sufficient for the weak... like me!
Persecution is real here.
There was once a time when I thought I had suffered persecution... rude, anti-Christian Facebook comments or someone rejecting a Gospel tract very rudely, or being called names because I am a Christian.
But if you ever sit down and listen to the testimonies of those who have suffered real persecution, like I have listened to, you will blush that you ever considered such harmless things persecution... just like I blushed. The husband and wife (far right) in this picture shared their story with us... merciless beatings, over and over... denied public water sources... rejected by family, by neighbors, by a community.
Yet, they would not deny the Saviour.
The Gospel works here, too!
I remember on deputation, a woman walked up to me and said something that totally shocked me. I have never forgotten her words. She said, "Well, I just don't see how those people could ever get saved. They are so steeped in idolatry! That country is so dark!"
Honestly, I was so offended I had to bite my tongue. The statement reeked of pride as much as it reeked of ignorance. You see, it isn't how beautifully we speak, how dynamic we are, how creative we are... the power isn't in us. It is in the Gospel. The Gospel is perfect for every culture, every race, and every sin. And when it comes to being lost sinners? Well, we were all in the same exact boat... the sin of idolatry as well as the sin of pride... all rowing swiftly together toward destruction. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
It has been said that this is spiritually the darkest country on the face of the earth.
But let me shout it...
Let me shout it loud and clear...
the power of the Gospel isn't effected one bit by the level of darkness.
Want a little more good news?
This country is listed as the fasted growing Christian nation in the world right now.
Yes, the Gospel works here, too.
Thank you for joining me on this journey as I thought about 10 things I really wanted you to know about where I serve. Please continue on to the next blog post on this blog hop...
Take a trip...
Head on over to the >>Whither Thou Goest<< blog.
So, I married a boy scout…
Almost 20 years ago, I said I do. I knew I was getting an amazing husband. I just didn’t realize how much God had prepared him for all that we would be doing. Looking back, I think it’s quite amazing to trace God’s sovereignty, positioning him in all the right places to learn things and grow. Some of the things I never thought were that big of a deal. Now I realize our lives depend on it.
When he was a teenager, he had a dream… a fantasy that most teen boys in the States has. He wanted a dirt bike. Now, I personally have never wanted anything to do with a motorized, two-wheeled death mobile. He finally got one for Christmas from his parents. He rode the mud out of that thing. He zoomed all over the place on the mountains around his house. He could drive that thing like a pro. He and that dirt bike were like one. Seems like a nice, teenage pastime, right?
But then, three years ago, we moved here. Yep, he was ready. It’s like a two-wheeler wonderland. So, I had a crash course in learning to drive a scooter (thankfully, not literally.) But Jason… he took to his motorcycle like a duck to water. And for a long time, our family of five got by without a car just fine. He is able to ride that thing everywhere, saving so much fuel and money, too. And considering these are some of the most dangerous and chaotic roads in the world… his skill and wisdom in motorcycle safety is priceless. Never thought I would be so thankful for his dirt bike from his younger years.
Then I think about when his parents put him in the boy scouts when he was young. He learned so many skills. That guy can tie a specific knot for every situation… and trust me… he has!!! But what really has me reflecting on his years as a boy scout… the boy scout motto. Be prepared.
Never have I been more thankful for the training he received than I have been in the past several months. Almost two weeks ago, he got word that trouble was brewing and there would be a petrol shortage. He didn’t waste time. He prepared. Then he got word that supplies would not be coming through the border. He didn’t wait for the crisis to hit. We went to the store and stocked up. Every time I turn around, he is making a decision that keeps our family ahead of the crisis.
Just last week, he went to the bicycle shops and made sure we all had bicycles in case we finish our petrol. Always preparing.
The other night we were talking. He admitted he wondered if he had prepared enough… always thinking about what else he could do. It touched my heart to see how serious he took it. Then he said it. “I know that the decisions I make effect my family.”
And I look around at the other men serving in this country. I see the things they are doing to provide for their families. It’s a thing of beauty. Few of them have ever faced a situation as extreme as what we could potentially face in the next few weeks, but they are like little ants, scurrying around and preparing for the coming winter and trying to stay ahead of the crisis. They do all this while balancing the demands of ministry. I am so thankful for godly men who prepare for their families. I am even more thankful for the ways God has prepared them for serving here. They may have never realized at the time what God was doing, but He was ordering their steps.
Psa 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.
Our family’s key verse through all of this has been:
Pro 21:31 The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.
I not only love that these men take their role of provider and preparer seriously, but I love that they also acknowledge that God is the true provider. They can prepare as much as they can, using the wisdom God has given them… but ultimately God is the only one who can truly sustain us. I have watched on the sidelines as these men have not only matured in the realm of being the head of the home… but I am also watching them grow in their trust and faith in the Lord.
To the men serving here, and especially to my own husband… thank you. Your families love you and appreciate all you are doing.
This week we are doing an earthquake unit study to help my children process the traumatic event of living through a major earthquake. Part of that study is for them to share their earthquake experience to help them vocalize what they went through. Here is Gabe's story:
One day we were doing church service . Me, my mom, and Michaela were doing childrens class. We were learning on Moses and the burning bush that never burned up.
Then I felt a up down rumble and Michaela called my mom. IIt was a 7.8 earthquake. Then we ran to the fellowship hall at a wall and hid for safety . When the first earthquake finished we got shoes and ran out. It was so dusty you could not see 20 feet in front of you .
(House destroyed in our church village)
We ran to check the damage and went to find people to take them to the hospital. While we were at the church I was scared because of the after shocks. Many minutes later we were brave enough to get some stuff. Then Ben bought some waiwai noodles and water to drink. Then my Dad arrived to pick us up to go home. When we arrived we were tired . We eat cheese, carrots, smashed rice, and sloppy Joes meat with a special sauce my mom made called mama sauce. Then we watched a movie in the car on the computer. Then we went to bed. I had a terrible sleep that night. That night we slept in the car .
The next day a 6.7 earthquake stuck in the evening. We were competing making the most earthquake proof houses out of Legos. It was a little game we made. That night I got some sleep.
The next day I played with moon sand and that’s the night I got enough sleep. Before I got to full sleep my sister wanted me to scoot over so she could sleep too. But I did not do it. I said, “Why are you annoying me? Wake up the car.” Then I said, “O Nepal I hate it.” Then she knew that I was not awake BECAUSE I DO NOT REALLY HATE NEPAL!!!!!!
To help my children process the traumatic event of living through a major earthquake, this week we are doing an earthquake unit study. Part of that study is for them to tell their story, thus giving them an opportunity to voice their fears and vocalize their experience.
On April 25th, Saturday 11:55, my mom, brother, a few new kids that came, and I were doing class at our church. Mom was teaching about Moses and the burning bush. Suddenly the ground started to shake and I said,” Mom!” She stopped and looked at me questioningly. Then we all felt it. Now we had nothing to hide under so Mom told us to get out to the next room.
When we came out the whole church was twisting and turning. I ran for cover under a plastic table, the best I had at the time, and held on to two young girls close to me. Their I was a little scared during the earthquake. I guess I didn’t have time to think about it. I simply said,” Keep us safe God. Keep us safe.”
When the ground stopped shaking for a minute, we ran out of the church; I didn’t have time to grab my shoes. I ran down the stairs and out the door. All I could see was a big cloud of dust. By the time the dust settled, the ground started shaking again. We headed to a safe spot, away from buildings and power lines.
I looked down and saw I still had my Bible in hand. I knew I would make good use of it. People were out in the fields crying and moaning. My heart throbbed to go and talk to them and comfort them in any way I could comfort a non-Christian. Dad saw people searching for something and went to help them; but when he found out that it was a cow, we went in search for people in real need.
As we went down the street, Mom asked me if I needed to use her shoes because my feet might get cut on glass in the road but I said no. I’ve always gone barefoot outside. We reached a house and started helping, well, they did. Dad said for Gabriel and I to sit down near a tree. It was then I deemed it time to read His Word. I remembered a memory verse we had memorized, Nahum 1:7,” The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble…”
(Picture from a village beside ours.)
They continued helping until found some people under the rocks. Mom brought us to a place where we could not see those who died. After, we returned to the church and Dad went to help more people who needed to go to the hospital. We sat and waited for him to return. Ben and Isahaak went into the church quickly to get our stuff from inside the church. Some of the people I saw sometimes from the window in our church came and I spoke to them to pass the time. Ben and Baktha went and got some Raman noodles for lunch. When Dad returned we got in the car and left. All around there was destroyed homes and buildings. When we got home, we saw our house seemed normal and all the houses nearby. Our dogs, Chief and Momo, were very excited to see that we were ok. The earthquake alarm, which we had installed a week before, was going crazy. I was very thankful when Dad said that we were going to sleep outside; I was very scared by the thought that we might be sleeping inside. That night Dad slept on his recliner which he brought outside and Mom on the patio swing. We kids slept in the car. I got around five hours of sleep, while everyone else got some 30 minutes. Give me a pillow and blanket and I CAN sleep!! It was ONLY by God’s everlasting and wonderful grace that my family and I are still living today. It was ONLY God’s grace that our church is still standing today, and our home is able to help those in need.
(Footnote... just so you don't think I am a terrible mommy, I did end up forcing her to take my shoes, I took the shoes Gabriel had on, and Ben carried Gabe. :-) )