Saturday, April 6, 2013

Kathmandu, Nepal

I am sitting in a building smaller than my room in Seattle. Outside, the sun is baking a half-cement, half-dirt street paved with garbage. Six computers cluster along the walls, and a young teenager controls the internet access from behind a small desk in this airless room.

I've been here in Nepal for six days. The rational part of my mind reminds me this is 12.5% of my time in Nepal, but time is not so linear here. A day contains a lifetime in a moment, and frankly, I'm in love. If every nation has a gift for the world, Nepal may have gone overboard in preparing for this global Secret Santa.

But before I go off in raptures of ecstasy, let me tell you about it.

Kathmandu's international airport is underwhelming. When I arrived off the plane, we stepped on a bus which drove us to a brick building with a sign boldly proclaiming "Welcome To Nepal." This sign, coincidentally, was an advertisement for an outdoor supply company. Inside, Tibetan monks jostled with Hindu gurus, Western hippies, Korean tourists and returning Nepali nationals as we filled out visa forms and slowly inched our way toward the immigration desk. Although we had been required to fill out customs forms declaring if we carried more than one camera, cell phone, 200 cigarettes, or clothes beyond what we were personally using, there was not any attempt to check those forms as we staggered out of the airport.

Outside, rows of taxi drivers waited a chance to "help us" by carrying our luggage. Fortunately, we were all able to keep a hold of our belongings - if one of the taxi drivers was able to hold a bag, we would have had to pay in order to get it back. We tumbled into two large vans which drove us to our hostel, Applie Pie Expeditions (APEX Inn).

 I share a room with Emilly, the amazing girl from Brazil. It's quite cozy - two small beds are located only a foot apart, with a small set of shelves to contain two image-concious women's clothing, makeup, and accessories. Kathmandu sprawls outside our window, and on the more clear days, we can see the mountains just a few miles away.

Kathmandu, in case you didn't know, is a very polluted city. While the sky often looks like an overcast Seattle day, it is, in fact, the haze of dust and emissions from this bustling, lively city. Officially, the rule of the road is to keep left. In practicality, the one with the loudest horn, least fear and heaviest pedal-foot gets there the fastest. Streams of mopeds and motorcycles clog the road, rushing through every possible break in the traffic, and pedestrians bravely face this madness just to cross the other side.

"Why did the chicken cross the road" was never a more pressing question than here and now.

In our first day, Christians in the city organized a scavenger hunt for the team. We ran through a city with a list of objectives - get a picture praying with a Tibetan priest, find a Hindu temple, find a place where Hindus offer sacrifices, barter for something in Jawalakhel's open bazaar, catch a micro to Thamel, get a picture eating lunch. This list would have been fun and challenging under ideal circumstances, but add in language and cultural barriers, and the ensuing day was more fun than a micro full of YWAMers.

In terms of the actual reason I'm here, it's been super exciting to see God at work. On Friday, we invaded an athletic field and Hindu festival to do an open air. I ended up sharing a testimony in front of 200 men who had gathered to watch a volleyball game.  In the course of the four days we've bee engaging in active spiritual warfare, we've seen 10-12 people accept Christ, including a young Hindu girl who brought all her friends to us the next day to hear our message for themselves. It's really neat to see how open people are to hearing about Christ - there's been a few instances where they don't even know the name!

During intercession, we've had some amazing promises from God about His plans for Nepal - that it will be a beacon to India and China, a city on a hill, His footstool and that Nepal will be a nation known for Him. If you all could be praying for Nepal as we work, we would all really appreciate it.

There is a great deal of spiritual darkness here. Some of the girls have come down with sicknesses and feel a lot of attack from the Enemy.Please pray for our team to have confidence in our identities in Christ and for a release of the pressure. It has been a struggle at times to connect with God and hear His voice.

I need to be going now - I have some shopping to do and I need to hang out with these awesome people :
Peace, love and keep rocking,