Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sad News from Kathmandu

Jaymasi! While I am no longer in Nepal, I still want to use this blog to keep others aware of what's going on there. Here is an article from

Bomb rocks Dhobighat church; two killed, dozen others injured

Two persons were killed and over a dozen others wounded when a bomb went off at the Church of Assumption in Dhobighat Saturday morning.

Security personnel and media persons inspect the blast scene  at the Assumption Church in Dhobighat, Lalitpur, Saturday morning, May 23 09.  Two persons were killed and dozen others injured in the blast.

The deceased have been identified as Celestina Joseph, 14, a ninth grade student of St Mary's school and a resident of Betia, India and Deepa Patric, 30. The former died while being taken to the hospital and the latter died while undergoing treatment.

14 others who were injured are undergoing treatment at Alka Hospital, Jawalakhel and Patan Hospital. Situation of two is reported to be critical.

The bomb went off at 9.15 am when as Saturday prayer was about to begin. There were about 150 people in the church when the bomb went off, an eyewitness who introduced himself as Gabriel told Nepalnews.

Police said it was a low-intensity IED hidden underneath the seat in the prayer hall.

Father Bogati, chief of the Assumption Church has condemned the incident. Damodar Gautam of World Hindu Federation also condemned the blast saying attacks on religious shrines were unfortunate.

No one has officially owned up the blast. Involvement of Nepal Defense Army is suspected as pamphlets suggested that the group carried out the bomb attack.

The little-known Hindu extremist outfit has mentioned various demands in the pamphlet including declaration of a Hindu nation, compulsory Sanskrit education till middle school, and public holidays on Hindu festivals.

The same group is believed to have killed Father Joshn Prakash in Dharan last year. ta May 23 09

Please pray for the church and the community as they seek to restore and forgive
Grace and peace

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Home Sweet Home


I made it home yesterday.

I spent the night before at LAX waiting for my connecting flight. I had the opportunity to get used to the simple things in life, like automatic faucets and escalators.

While I may be home and the current adventure over, I will still be updating this blog as I receive updates from my Nepali friends.

My current plan is to spend a week at home. Then I'll be road tripping to California on Tuesday. I'll be in California for two weeks. (May 27th thru June 10th)

Thanks to all of you who have been reading and praying. You have been a key part of this experience and I hope your hearts will continue to remember Nepal.

Deri danyabad (Thank You Very Much)
Bal Bahadar (Andrew)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Coming to America


This will be my last blog from Nepal. And i have to make it quick, as the airport is rediculiously expensive.

I got to the airport just in time to miss the big party the Maoist are throwing in Kathmandu as a way to flex their muscle before the people of Nepal. The estimate is about half a million people.

Pray for my journey home and the returning culture shock
Continue to pray for Mohan and the rest of the Frontier Missions Nepal staff

See you on the other side brother!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Countdown...


So here we are, the last few days before I bid farewell to this country that has been my home for the past few months. It's bittersweet. I'm not quite sure to express what's going on inside me at the moment.

Mohan asked me the other day if I was ready to go home. I told him I wasn't sure.
"How could you not be sure? I don't understand. That makes no sense."
"I know it makes no sense. I'm glad to be going home, but I don't want to leave Nepal."
"That makes no sense."
"Ta chiana" :I don't know:

I said goodbye to the school yesterday. They threw an impromptu goodbye program. It was also my first time toeing the the ling between religion and culture. I thought I handled it tactfully, and the other Christian leaders thought so as well. But i got many disapproving looks as well as a few shocked ones from some of my new found family.

I should start by saying that my home in Gharmi was recently invaded by more than half the Church Plant Teams (CPTs), about 35 people. We were able to get most of the construction done before they came. Enough to house all of these people. Most of them I had met in my travels, some I was just meeting for the first time. They all came for staff training.

The celebrations at the school included whats called a "thik." Which is the red powdery stuff you see on Hindus' faces after they've preformed some religious ritual. I knew that, but I also knew that this was no religious right. So in order to keep face with the students and staff, who are all Hindu, I elected to receive the thik. After the celebrations, I returned home, were I was met by laughter from Sangeeta, Mohan's wife. She demanded my camera and took pictures calling me the "Prime Minister of Gharmi."

Soon after, the CPTs came out of class and the tension became thick.
"Oh Andrewson, what happened to you?" asked Rajendra, who always smiled at me and had become a good friend, now wouldn't even look me in the eye. "Ramro chaina sathi" : Not good friend. One sister, who I had just met blurted out "Dai Christian hoina?" : Brother isn't Christian?

It was very tense, and it took some explaining as to what happened. I washed my face as soon as I could. With the red stuff gone, things calmed down a bit. All the leaders were just laughing at me. Most of the staff were appalled.

There's a very thin line between culture and religion in Nepal , one that can be very very very very thin. The Christians here completely separate themselves from the Hindu religion but still embrace their culture. To an outsider, it is very difficult to what degree the separation exists. I could right a book on this topic alone, it's that complicated.

Anyways, I leave in a few days. Today Pokhara was at a stand still for hours. Some taxi drivers decided to blockade all the major streets with their vehicles. And there is rumors floating that they might do it again. Which means for me, that my only way out maybe a very expensive flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu. With the government currently non existent, the possibility for worse things to happen at any moment is very high.

-Bal Bahadar

A few prayer requests:
1) Safe travels to Kathmandu
2) Safe travels home
3) An easy transition back into American life
4) That the CPT training will run well. It lasts two weeks.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Long Live the King

I flipped through my journal the other day. There's a clear line where my entries are all buisness and then become something more. The netries become a tad longer. The poetry becomes more real. It's as if God himself opened me up and said, "Behold, my creation."

There's also a a point in the trip where my soul came a live. Where I stopped being Andrew Smith from America who lives in Colorado but is a native of California come to visit and help out. Jaymasi! I just became Andrew. Andrew Paul. Bal Bahadar. Jetta. Andrew Uncle. Andrew Sir. Andrewson. Andree. There came a point where who I was and what I was doing was of no consequnce. The only thing that mattere was that I was here. I was living life in this broken country alongside family. Family I had never met, but family just the same.

I recall prayer and journal entries from past trips asking, praying, hoping that the momentim would last. That I wouldn't lose sight of all that took place. All that I did. All that was done to me.

Maybe this is that journal entry.

This is the point where I beg God to stay close. To not leave. To keep providing. To keep wotking.

I am not done yet!!!

Looking back, the seeming disappeance of God was becasue I lost sight. I found new friends. I found ways to provide for myself. I have this, this looming suspision that my old nature might resurface. That the man I have become will give way to the boy I once was.

O Lord, let it no be the case.

The fear of returning to the West is gone. Friends and family will just have to deal with my newfound peculiarities. I don't know much Nepali, but what I do know will probably come out from time to time. Thik cha. I might take all of my meals on the floor. I might request foriegn films from the library. Not because I will understand them, but because I won't.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that the Kingdom of Heaven supercedes all politcal, cultural, and ethic boundries. I maybe an American and you might be Chapng, but we are still family. As the kingdom has no borders, so too the King as no end to his jurisdiction.

Nepal and the U.S. are complete oppisites in all ways that countries can be. It's both beautiful and tragic all at the same time. Words fail to describe all that I have experienced. But one thing has made itself painfully clear.

That the red letters in my Bible were not meant just for those in the West. Or the wealthy in the East. That these words penetrate into all that is wrong in the world and sets them right. That they stare the institutions that hold people captive and tell them they have no power.

They are words to build a life on.
They are beautiful life giving words.
They are the words of King whose Kingdom has no end.

Jaya Mashieh!
Long Live the King!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Two more weeks to go...


So I've been trying to figure out what to blog about. I'm nearing the end of this wonderful adventure and my energy is starting to lag. For the past two and a half months I've been hittin the pavement pretty hard.

Long bus rides crammed next to strangers. Whatching said strangers drool on my shoulder as they sleep and I can't. Wondering when the next pit stop is so I can snag something other than dahl-baht to eat.

I've many many amazing people doing very difficult work in very hard places. I've been both humbled and encouraged by the amount of care and effort put into ministry in Nepal. Especially after the 8 hour hike to those two remote villages. I not only was surprised to find out that the villagers make that trek daily (and do it in 4 hours) but also that Ezekiel, who's well into his 50's if not 60's, does it at least once a week.

I just spent the last few days in Kathmandu. I needed to extend my visa. I only needed 6 days but the minimum is 30 (which cost me US$30, ouch). I ended being in town the same time as the Frontier Mission's leadership training. It was good to see all of the people I had the privilige of living and workig with. Almost like a big family reunion. It was equally awesome meeting the people I didn't get a chance to visit.

Apparently, Mohan had spread the news that I was coming. I'm also guessing that those that I had visited were telling the others about me. Just about every new person I met, who spoke English, said, "Andrew, Oh I've heard about you." This was even the case with one of the guys I carpooled back to Pokhara with. "Andrew, hmm, oh wait, Mohan told me about you."

For the next few weeks I will be up in the village (Gharmi), helping out at the school and lending my hands to the trainging center construction. As far as I know, my traveling is over for now, until it's time to go back to the States.

The States. That seems like a distant far off mythical land. I've been told the transition back to Western society is a tough one. I'm starting to believe them the closer it gets.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

...X Y Zed!


So it's been a few weeks since I've been able to sit down at a computer. You get used to it.

The climb up "Angry Mountain" took about 8 hours to complete. I did the majority of it in true Nepali fashion, in flip-flops. Once we got to the top, Peter and I ate at the Pastor's house. We stayed the night in the church and the next morning we had fellowship. I gave a message on the body of Christ and how it's held together by love for one another. After lunch, we hiked down to the next village. It took about 2 hours, again in flip-flops. We stayed the night in the church that was there. That morning, Easter Sunday, I gave a message on the importance of the Resurrection. With out that single event, all that we do as Christians is meaningless and the Bible, just another stack of papers.

After coming down, I headed back to Kohalpur. I got there on the Nepali New Year's Eve. (Happy 2066 by the way!) We had a small "party." After saying my goodbyes I left for Pokhara. After staying a few nights in town, I moved into a village just outside of town. The name of the village is Gharmi, and it is where Mohan is currently building a training center for his Church Planting teams.

For the past week I have been volunteering at the local school teaching English of course. They gave me the title of "English Master." They are currently trying to persuade me to extend my visa for another year. While I am overjoyed that this door of opportunity has been opened, I'm trying to be wise about it. Please pray as I consider what coming back for a long term stay might look like.

I've also started writing about my trip, the things that have happened and somethings that I have learned. This is in addition to this blog and the journal I've been keeping. If I write about everything, I might have a book on my hands. hmmmmm