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

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Greetings from Lother


So much has happened in such a short time. Where should I begin?

I managed, in my infinite genious, to erase all my pitcures from the first half of my trip. So what ever I have on facebook is all that I have. I did save a few to my mp3 player to upload later, but that still only leaves me with about half the pictures I actually took.

Chitwan Nat'l Park was pretty cool. Rode on an elephant through the jungle. Went on a jeep safari. I got close enough to a tiger to smell it's breath. It was a good time.

Now I am staying in Lother with another Tamang family. Ezekiel, the father of the famly, is a long time friend of Mohan. They use to do church planting ministries together back in the day. Peter, their eldest son, has been showing me around and taking me to villages in the area. He's one cool dude. He has become my Nepali counterpart.

Tomorrow we'll be climibing in the hillside for 7 hours to reach Sildhani, a village where Ezekiel helped start a church a few years ago. We'll be up there for two days, and then we will head down to another village Saturday evening. On Sunday, I'll be giving the Easter sermon.

Monday I will be heading back to Kohalpur to retrieve some luggage and say my good-byes to the Kamal family.

Some firsts I have experienced in the past week:
1) first time bathing in a river
2) first time washing my clothes in a river
3) first time seeing a rhino from the top of an elephant
4) first time looking down the throat of a tiger
5) first time praying over a pregnant goat

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Quick Hello


First off I would like to thank my sister Kailee for helping me maintain a coherent blog. With out her you probably wouldn't be able to understand half the things I write as my English skills are slowly going the way of the water buffalo.

Second, thanks for all the comments. Time does not permit me the chance to respond to every single one of them. But thanks nonetheless.

Third, I'm heading south with the Tamang family to Chitwan on a family outing to the National Park down there. I'm looking forward to riding an elephant, that should be fun. From there I will either be heading to a nearby Church Plant team or I will just head straight to Kohalpur for another week. Either way, I'll be heading back to Kathmandu via Kohalpur in a week or two.

Fourthly, I've had some strange cravings of late. The strangest being grits. I happen to like grits, a lot, but I don't eat it often enough to have it be a craving. The other one is beef. Oh how I long for a nice juicy steak. LOL. Actually any identifiable meat would be excellent. In Nepal, when you buy meat, you don't really choose what part you get. When I was in a village outside of Kohalpur I sat down for dinner and was greeted by a chicken head. (Even though I ate fish heads, there is something about a chicken head that makes one loose their appetite.)

Fifthly, I hope all is well with you and yours. Feel free to e-mail me anything of importance (or non-importance). Family news. Job or school accomplishments. Your thoughts on the current administration. Something you read that you found really thought provoking. Whatever, I don't mind . I'm just feeling a little out of touch with (western) reality.

grace and peace,
Andrew "Bal Bahadar"

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A few pictures from February

A Himalayan sunrise. The view from the Frontier Missions Office - Kathmandu.


Me on the way to a tibetan refugee camp.

Me in the Monkey Temple, Kathmandu.
There are more here:

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Weeks 6 & 7: My Adidas...


So I'm currently drawing a blank as to what week I'm on. I've gotten used to life without luxuries like calendars and computers.

Ahhhhh, where to begin? So much has happened the past few weeks it's hard to arrange my thoughts. I'll try my best.

So the banda finally ended and Uttar and I were able to catch a bus to Far West Nepal. We stayed with a CP team in Atteryia. We traveled around the area praying and meeting with local believers.

We took a day "off" to go fishing Nepal style. (I say "off" because I ended up cycling double [someone sitting on the rack] uphill for a good 30Km. needless to say I passed out as soon as I laid horizontal) Nepal style fishing uses a net to catch little three inch fish. Once these suckers our caught to a sufficient quantity, you go home and gut them. since they are small, all it takes is a good squeeze for the innards to come out. You then proceed to cook the fish, whole. After cooked to a desired golden brown, you then eat them, whole. I've never in my life ate a whole fish. I usually cut the head and toss the tail. I stand before you a new man. A changed man. One who has eaten fish heads. And liked it!

That Friday night we cycled to the village where the CP team is doing most of their work. We went to a home fellowship that night led by one of the local church leaders. If anything has changed my perspective on church and christian living, it has been my time with these fellwoships. I have never seen the amount of joy and faith exhibited by these small bands of saints anywhere in the west. The simplicity of worship and prayer puts to shame any praise and worship band (Sorry Jody). We stayed that night with one of the families there in the village. The church was constructed quite literally in their backyard.

Church Saturday was a sweet time as well. I'm starting to get used to the eyes that start to follow me as soon as I give my introduction. "Jaymasi! Mero nahm Andreas ho. Ma Amerika vata iygo." translation: Jaymasi! My name is Andrew. I'm from America. This is usually followed by many smiling faces and constant staring for most of the service.

To give you a general idea of a Nepali church service, here is a very basic schedule:
Worship (usually only accompanied by a modal [nepali drum]) - usually lasts for an hour
Testimony and introduction (jaymasi! mero nahm...) - 5 to 30 mins. depends on what's going on
Worship - another 15 to 30 mins
Announcements or a word from the church leader/pastor - 5 to 15 mins
Preaching - 30 mins to an hour. this depends on the speaker. i've kept it at just around 30mins, but some have gone well over an hour

Prayer is interjected whenever the Spirit leads and can often times last for 10 mins at a time. Here, everyone prays at once and it gets pretty intense. My church background has been quite conservative when it comes to prayer, so this has taken some getting used to.

I've learned enough of the language to pray over dinner, describe the weather, introduce myself, order food, and to get from place to place. And with each church service I'm starting to catch on to more and more of the songs. Some of them are traditional songs translated into nepali.(eg. Raja haruka raja, stuti , hallelujah, provo haruka provo, stuti, hallelujah : King of kings and Lord of lords, glory, hallelujah) Most are original Nepali choruses. I'm also starting to understand most of the preaching without an interpreter.

From Atteryia we headed north to Dadeldurha and onto Anakohli. Anakohli is a small town up in the mountains. The climate reminded me of home as it was quite chilly in comparison to the very warm Terai region. There we stayed with the CP team that is working in that area. This is about as remote as one can get in regards to safe traveling and ministry. I looked out on vast forests and jungle whose inhabitants have never even heard the name Jesus, let alone anything about Christianity. There is quite a bit of work to be done in this region. The CP team is just one married couple. They are diligently working with local church leaders and believers to expand the kingdom in to this remote area.

A side note: One of the villagers in Anakohli was excited when he heard I was from America. He kept smiling at me with this big goofy grin than was kind of creepy. I could tell he wanted something from me. The next day he saw me walking down the street and called out to me. "Oy babu, oy!" (Hey boy, hey) So Uttar went to talk to him. He had somehow received two American dollars and wanted me to give him rupees in exchange for them. "They are no good to me here" he told us, "and your the first American I've seen since I got these." Let me tell you, I have never been so happy to get $2 in my life. It's the little things that make the difference.

I have made my way back to Pokhara and will be here for a few days before I head out again. The current plan is in shambles at the moment as I'm trying to figure out how properly reach certain areas and honor the requests of new friends. Please pray for guidance as I work through this. The original plan was to head back to Koholpur on Monday and stay there for another 2 weeks, but that doesn't seem like it will work out as Mohan has other ideas in mind.

grace and peace

Friday, March 13, 2009

Week Four: Stayin' Alive


Wow, it's hard to believe I've been here from a month now. So much has happened in such a short time. I look foward to the next two and a half months.

So an update on the current threat level is order. I would not have you be ignorant, I'm not in exacatly the safest locale at the moment. I just got an e-mail from the Embassy telling all Americans to avoid this particular a region (Terai).

The night of my last entry two people were beheaded in a town further down the road. In the next district over, shooting between police and demonstrators left one officer and two civilians dead. In Koholpur, where I am currently located, a bus was stopped, vacated, and then smashed and burned.

Last night I watched as police and Terahus (the natives of the Terai region) fought in the streets. The protestors would throw stones and bricks at the police. When the barrage would cease, the police would chase down the men (and boys) and attempt to beat them down with large bamboo sticks.

Since the overthrow of the monarchy 10 years ago, rule of law has been tossed out the window. In Nepal, the masses rule and there is not much the gov't or police can do to quell rebellions or protests.

All vehicular travel in and out of the Terai region has been haulted indefintetly. In order for me to get back to Pokhara, I would need to cycle or walk 12km to Nepal Gunj, hop on a plane to Kathmandu, and the bus back to Pokhara.

Please pray for the current situation. For the safety of not just myself, but also of the people who live here. That Uttar and I would still be able to minister and reach people despite travel restrictions. And that I would be able to make it safely back to Pokhara at the end of the month.

grace and peace

Friday, March 6, 2009

Week Three: Bandha bandha bandha!

Jaymasi! (Long Live the Messiah! or Praise Jesus!)

So I'm now in West Nepal. Kohalpur to be exact. After a 13 hour bus ride I made it. 3 of those blissful hours was on top of the bus, with the luggage, in the dead of night, with no speed limits, and a narrow road, with buses going both ways, and a driver who looks no more than 15. But hey, if Paul can be shipwrecked and beaten a time or two, whats a ride on the top of a Nepali bus.

The plans for my stay have changed. Instead of a week in the west, I will be out here a month. I've spent the last week visiting various home fellowships and teaching/preaching when an interpreter is available. It has been quite the busy week. Uttar Kamal and his family have been more than loving, welcoming me into their home and tutoring me in Nepali. Next week Uttar and I will be going down to Nepal Gonj and visiting surrounding church plant teams.

I am currently 20km away from India and will be even closer next week. It is extremely hot. And there has been a "bandha", or protest, all week, so everything has been shut down. We've been getting around by rickshaw and bicycle. It has been quite the adventure.

Grace and peace

Prayer points:
1) I met a few folks at the Nehemiah Institute, a bible school here in town. I taught a night session and a morning devotion there. Please pray for the students, that they would continue to grow in God's love. For Gopal, the school director, that he would be able to go to bible college in India soon. And for Krishna, a travelling Bible survey teacher, that his new fellowship in Kathmandu would be blessed.
2) For the surrounding home fellowships, that there light would continue to shine
3) For the surrounding villages, that God would see fit to shine His light of love in their darkeness
4) For our travel to Nepal Gonj, getting to Kohalpur was killer on my body (especially the luggage rack bit), pray that next week travel would be smooth
5) For Uttar and his family, that God would continue to bless the work of their hands
6) and finally for me, my health is waning as the cold won't seem to leave and my body is starting strain under the lack of water and meager diet

Friday, February 27, 2009

Week Two: Go West Young Man

So things have slowed down a bit. Partly because I've stayed in Pokhara. Partly because that cold came back. But never fear, it was good to slow down.

With tons of time doing nothing but traveling and then being sick I was able to read all of the Gospels and Acts (the fifth Gospel). Let me tell you, what a blessing that was. It's always good to get a refresher course on why I do what I do and to be encouraged by those who came before me.

A kernel of exceptional encouragement was the fact the Dr. Luke never really wrote an ending to Acts. He leaves of with Paul in house arrest continuing with his outreach in Rome. He doesn't tack an "The End" or "Amen" at the end because the story is not finished. The story continues. The Spirit still moves. Oh what blessed hope!

So this past week has been more adjustment to both being in a new culture and being away from family. This is usually the time when the team is packing up and heading out. Alas, there is no team and the departure date is three months yet t0 come. Yesterday it hit me that I'm in Nepal. It hit me that I will be living the next few months of my life here. I'm still getting over the shock (I can be a little slow sometimes).

I had the unique pleasure of spending the better part of a day working along side a YWAM outreach team from Norway. That's right, you read right, Norway. It was a much needed time for me to be encouraged and I know the guys here were as well. They were passing through on there way to India. They had just spent a few days in Kathmandu after coming over from Tibet. The team was an international mix of Norwegians, Swedes, Greenlanders, Canadians and Californians. Please keep them in prayer as the finish out their trip.

Sunday I head out for West Nepal to visit and help out a church plant team in a Muslim community. I was told yesterday that tensions are rising as some fundamentalist Hindu groups are publishing anti-Christian propaganda. Because of this, the team leader said I might be spending the majority of the week in surrounding villages rather than the city. There maybe opportunity to teach at and work alongside the local CPTs and churches.

As for pictures, I'm can't guarantee anything at the moment. I've hit three different cafe's and only one of them had access to the actual computer so I could plug my cam in. With sketchy power and crazy net caf's, getting on here to update is an adventure all its own.

grace and peace

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Week One: Everybody Tamang!

So I've been here a week and sooo much has been going on. More than I can fit in a post. But never you worry, I've been keeping a daily journal so I can type it all up when I'm sure the connection will hold. The power has been kind of sketchy of late.

A brief recap of the past week:

Landed in Kathmandu and waited for a few hours for my contact to pick me up. Somehow I was whisked away to hotel in the middle of town along some backstreet. I'm still trying to figure out when I ever said anything besides "NO!" I finally got a hold of Mohan, who got a hold of Ishak (Issac), my Kathmandu contact. So when Ishak showed up at the hotel, he looks at me and says, "I saw you, I saw you but I thought you were a Nepali! They said Andrew from America is comign and he is a young man. So I thought skinny, white, brown hair, maybe blue eyes. I saw you!" So I spent a few days in Kathmandu at the Frontier Missions Center and then headed of to Pokhara...

So I was put on a micro-van full of Nepalese with my only instruction being that it would cost me 350 rupees and that I should give it to them only when they asked. Then off I went. The total ride was about 6 hours in what amounts to be a very speedy minivan. We stopped at a small "restaurant" half way through the trip, so I got out and looked around. Again, everyone just assumed I was Nepali...

I got to Pokhara and was just let off at the beginning of town. No words, no instructions. So I found a phone and called Mohan. He sent one of his staff, Nar, down to get me. I waited a few hours and I noticed this guy walking past me for the 5th time. He finally approached me. "Where are you from?" "America" "What is your name?" "Andrew" "Umm, I come for you." And away we went...

So I settled into the Tamangs quite nicely. They are a wonderful family. Sangeeta, Mohan's wife, is constently feeding me. They gave me my own room, which is in their storage room, but is still very nice. I've been able to meet alot of their friends and family. They even adopted me and gave me a Nepali name...

Bal Bahadur Tamang.

Which means "strong" or as I was told by my friend Singarag, "Push push!" I was able to stay a few days up a mountain which Mohan has dubbed "Mt. Olive." There I helped with one of the construction projects going on there. They are building a FMC training center which is where I helped at. They also have an orphanage and a missionary rest home being built further up the hill. Due to some conflicts with the local villagers, which I will write about at another time, Mohan has stopped the construction of the rest home in an attempt to appease a few men who are stirring trouble.

I went to Lamachoour Church on Saturday and met a few people there. It was Mohan's turn to preach so he talked about what God has been showing him through the situation with the villagers. Afterward, Sangeeta took me to see a Tibetan refugee camp.

And today started off quite well until I was hit by a motorcycle. I was on a bicycle, of course, and he clipped my rear tire. When the police came they let me go on my way. The guy was trying to blame me. But they weren't buying it. Now I am checking e-mail and chatting with family on facebook.

grace and peace,
Bal Bahadur

A few random thoughts:
1) Everyone I have met is a Tamang. Either a cousin, brother, or brother cousin. And now I am one too.
2) There is nothing more humbling than knowing that a 3 year old can communicate with more people than you.
3) On the same note, using a Nepali toilet is also very humbling.
4) There are many many many many different ways to cook rice, either that or it's just my imagination.
5) No traffic laws means anything goes, including being hit by a motorbike while cruising on a bicycle, and then being blamed for the accident.
6) Cows are very spoiled here. Very very spoiled.

Prayer points:
1) That the villagers on Mt. Olive won't be blinded by a few bad men.
2) That the continuing projects would run smoothly without injury
3) That it would rain. There a huge water shortage, which is contributing to a lot of problems with the villagers.
4) That God would continue to guide my steps as I seek to serve Him and the people of Nepal

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Live From Bangkok

So after an amazingly loooong flight I am finally in Thailand. The fact that I am on the otherside of the globe is starting to set in. English is being overtaken by Thai and Hindi as I cruise the terminal. It is indeed an eye opening experience.

My flight wasn't too bad. I had an aisle seat on the side. My own video screen. Three square meals. It wasn't too shabby at all. The total flight time was 17 hours and 50 mins. We flew north through Alaska, then across to Russia, down over Japan and then over Vietnam into Thailand. I have an hour before I can even go wait at my gate for my flight to Kathmandu, so I'm going to browse around and find something to snack on.

I finished my first book on the flight, Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers, it was such a good book I'm sure I will read it again before the trip is through. I have started The New Friairs and it looks to be a truly challenging book.

until next time
grace and peace

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Reunion & Rest

It has been a good time in California. Scratch that, blessed time in California. I've been reuniting with church family that I haven't seen in yeaaaaaars. Praying and fellowship has been a good time to exchange mutual adventures and happenings. It has been encouraging to see the work God has been doing in this place and in these people in the past few years. I look forward to seeing what God will continue to do here, as well as Colorado, while I am away.

I leave from LAX Tuesday, prayer for traveling mercies is much appreciated. I have also come down with a cold, I should have listened to Carissa, so prayers for health would be equally appreciated.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Killing My Inner Boyscout

In preparation for my trip to Nepal, I have delved headlong into Hindu cultural studies and various books on missional lifestyle. I have read through the book of Acts. I followed along with the Mars Hill community through the book of Philippians, led by Rob Bell and others, via podcast. I have taken every possible measure to devour every piece of literature I can get a hold of. I am engaging in a personal study of Nepal's national language, Nepali. I have met on a consistent basis with my to mentors/advisers/friends/colaborers to discuss and plan what this trip should look like. I have enlisted the help of my church family to grasp and accomplish that which I am bound to overlook. I have taken every opportunity to use the resources at my fingertips to accomplish a successful mission trip to the country of Nepal.

But then it hit me.

Slowly at first. Subtle. Soft. Harmless. The notion that this trip is in someway larger than myself. Bizarre. As days passed, I would read or hear things that disturbed me to my core.

"Whatever you do to the least of these, you have also done to Me."
"Be of one mind and of one spirit."
"As Christ loved the church, so to shall you love one another"
"He wrapped a towel around His waist and began to wash the disciples feet."

Familiar words, to say the least. But something was different. Something didn't sit well. My soul groaned. It slowly started to make sense, what it was that I was getting myself into. I began to read stories of the church in Asia. Their struggles, their pain. My soul ached.I read of disease, rape, and genocide in Africa. My soul weeped. I recalled the broken and shattered lives I came into daily contact with on the city buses in California. My soul was troubled. How can this be? How is this even happening?

Then, I turned my focus to Nepal. I spent many late nights reading and watching news stories. Civil war. Riots. Poverty. Death. Government abuses. Unbridled hate. Slaves. Gods and goddesses. My soul grieved. What can I do? What can be done? My mind wandered over scripture. How does God deal such tragedy? How am I to deal with such tragedy? Turning to the story of Job, I read how he dealt with tragedy. "Blessed be the name of the Lord." Then I turned to Ruth only to see God reconciling a broken family into the lineage of the Messiah.

I have developed a friendship with a pretty awesome girl from work during these past few months. And, as always seems to be the case, the question of whether or not this friendship would become something more came up. As we discussed and shared our feelings on the matter, she uttered words that caught me a tad off guard. "God is sovereign. He will do what He will."

God is sovereign.

Those words have been ringing in my ear since. Not just in regards to our friendship, but to the whole scope of humanity.

Friendships. Family. Relationships. God is sovereign.
Rape. Genocide. Abuse of power. God is sovereign.
Loss. Brokenness. Evil. God is sovereign.

Again, familiar ideas, but somehow they hit me harder this time. Like a brick was smashed into my head and the shards pressed into my heart. (Yes, that dramatically intense.) And again my body tensed. How can this be? Something doesn't make sense.

"Lord I believe, help my unbelief."

My immediate reaction was that something must be done. Somehow this sovereign God has to, right this moment, restore everything to Him. If not, this will never end. I've been doing a lot of reading of books/articles/sermons by Shane Claiborne, Rob Bell, and other like minded individuals. The common theme being that God's plan of restoration began with Abraham. His covenant with Abraham began a reclaiming of creation that led to the ultimate act of redemption, the cross. But it doesn't stop there, the business of reclaiming creation does not stop there. Jesus then hands the plan to His followers and the revolution continued. The revolution continues.

As most revolutions go, it was, no, it is a reaction to a fundamental wrong. Something within the world is not right. Something must be done. Things are being done. Things will continue to be done. Despite all the wrong, things are becoming right. From community gardens to national revivals, the spirit is moving.

Aslan is on the prowl.

In the book of the Acts of the Apostles (or the Spirit) a beautiful narrative unfolds of the early Christians reacting to the wrongs of their day. Famine, poverty, religious persecution, religious abuses, bad government, human rights violations, things completely exclusive to that place and that time. As a result of their actions and openness to the Spirit, reconciliation was made known throughout the Roman world.

As a result of their actions and openness to the Spirit, reconciliation was made known.

As a result of their actions and openness to the Spirit...

Which was a reaction to the broken, restoration came down to the community. People were made aware of this Jesus and His sacrifice and they wanted it because of what was being done.

This totally tweaked the Jewish leaders whose system was built on adhering to very specific rights and rituals that had to be followed to the "t" in order to find favor with God. As if God's favor was something to be earned like a merit badge to display for all to see. Something to feel better about themselves by. To say to the world, "Because I do righteous deeds, I am righteous." Or, I am good, because I do good.

Like a boy scout.

No offense to any scout or scout-like people, but the idea to do good simply because it's a duty and it makes you feel good is a totally twisted way of doing things. Helping an elderly woman cross the street is the right thing to do, so it is done. Not because you feel compassion for her physical state. Not because streets can be dangerous and you are moved to protect her. But because it is the right thing to do. And when the event is retold how Mr.s Murphy was aided across the street, pride swells inside. Another badge is awarded. Applause resounds throughout the hall.

Then what? Another good deed? More help for Mrs. Murphy? What is the motivation? It becomes a shallow deed. An action done just because it was the right thing to do. An action done with an expected reward. Compensation for a job well done.

In God's economy good deeds/righteous acts are done in reaction to grace. This is something the early church knew well. They were given something completely new and astounding; a personal relationship with the Living Creator of all. How could you not want to spread the love? Their lives became changed into a reflection of the love they had been shown (like the moon to the sun). They operated in a relationship to humanity that was triune in nature. When the Giver gave to fill a need, nothing was expected in return. No debt was incurred. There was no one saying, "You owe me one." This was distinct in the fact that, unlike the world, there was no notion of "one good deed deserves another." They gave and loved because it became an integral part of who they were. Their lives echoed God's redemptive purposes.

I have been moved by this notion. That the Spirit is moving through the Body. He is actively changing people to reflect the love of the Father. Not to gain praise and recognition for good deeds, but to right the wrongs of this world. To reconcile all creation to Himself. My trip is not to be taken lightly. It is not a chance to add to my spiritual resume. I have become increasingly aware that this trip is God allowing me to observe and to partake in His plan of redemption for Nepal (and more generally the world). In doing so, my perspective on life has changed. I have, in a sense, killed my inner boyscout. I am open to what the Spirit has in store for this trip. I'm open to what He has in store for the rest of my life. God has reached out and stretched me through this process. It hurt. There is no easy way to kill a boyscout. Looking back, it has taken two years to reach the point to where I was even close to being ready for this. God works in wonderful ways.

God is sovereigns. The Spirit is moving. Let us reflect the Son.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Book Club

Cross-Cultural Servanthood by Duane Elmer
The Epistle to the Philippians by Paul the Apostle
The Epistle to the Romans by Paul the Apostle
Beautiful Feet by Danny Lehman

Acts of the Apostles by Dr. Luke
Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers By Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
The New Friars by Scott A. Bessenecker
Through the Bible: Acts by J. Vernon McGee

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Last night I attended the Elder Board Meeting for Prairie Community to catch the church leadership up to speed on the progress of the trip. It was good to be able to touch base with them and get their input on the trip.

I've scheduled my shots for next week. Once we figure out how much time the series of shots will need to be given, I will be able to buy airline tickets. So far, things are progressing nicely. God is good.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Jaymasi from Pokhara

These days we have 15hours power cut every day. There very little power supplies of the water level in the rivers is very low. We can hardly do any communication and power related things. Thank you so much for your love, prayers and support to us.

By the way this is our house in the village. We don't live there yet.
But in the future we like to build a small house and live there. There will the Frontier Missions training center as well. We are praying for that.


Friday, January 2, 2009

The Full Report

Dear friends and family,

Hello. It has been sometime since many of you have heard from me. Let me catch you up to speed. Since moving out to Colorado I have been involved with the Student and Worship ministries at Prairie Community Church here in Firestone. After I moved here, I started assisting their youth pastor with teaching and leading the youth group. Through a course of events, I became the interim youth pastor for about six months. All of this was happening while I worked for Coca-Cola as a merchandiser. This included a ridiculous schedule of six-day weeks and an average of ten hours a day. At the end of the six months, PCC hired a permanent youth pastor whom I now assist. Also, I left my job with Coke in June of 2008 and started working at Safeway as a produce clerk. In November, I got a second job at a local bike shop doing sales and apprenticing in bicycle mechanics.

As many of you know, I have been on several mission trips in the past. I've been to Australia, Hawaii, Texas, and Mexico with groups from Calvary Chapel San Bernardino. I even went down to Mexico apart from those church sponsored trips. Now there is an opportunity to take part in a trip like none I have ever gone on before. Prairie Community supports missionaries all over the world. In places like Ecuador, Thailand, Nepal and even Michigan. However, none of these missionaries hail from our church and are only supported monetarily. Now we have the chance to send one of our own to support and encourage the missionary in Nepal face to face. That one is me.

I will be going to Pokhara, Nepal in February of 2009. There I will assist our missionary, Mohan, as he sets up and organizes a Frontier Missions Center. The purpose of the center is to train and equip Christians from rural villages to start churches in their communities. Mohan currently leads 22 church plant teams, all native to the people they minister too. After spending time there, I will go a long with one of the church planting teams into rural Nepal. The villages we will be visiting are only reachable by foot, bicycle, or motorcycle, as paved roads are few and far between. The villages we will be going into will be predominantly Hindu and Muslim communities. My role while I am there is to be the eyes and ears for Prairie Community by documenting and observing how Mohan is serving the people of Nepal. I will also be participating by helping with construction projects and bicycle repair.

The total length of the trip will be between three and four months, February to May/June. Since it is relatively cheap to live in that part of the world the bulk of my expenses will be my airplane ticket, which I estimate will be about $2000. The estimated cost for food, lodging and transportation is $1200. The current estimated cost for the whole trip, including visas, immunization, and emergency funds, is $3500. There is only one international airport in Nepal located in Kathmandu. There is a bus "system" that goes between Katmandu and Pokhara, which are 123 miles apart. A ticket for the "tourists" bus is between $60 and $80 one way.

If you would like to support me on this journey, either in prayer or financially, please feel free to do so. If you are wanting to send monetary support, please send checks payable to "Prairie Community Church" with "Serve Nepal" in the memo line to:

Serve Nepal
c/o Prairie Community Church
9993 WCR 11
Firestone, CO 80504

Thank you, and I look forward to telling you about my adventure when I return.

Grace and peace