Mission: Nepal 2016, Part 1
By Gary Fallesen
Climbing For Christ
Friday, April 15 and Saturday, April 16
Leanne, Elaine and I made the long journey back to our homes in Rochester, NY, USA.
Leanne, left, and Elaine with the children at the SARA Children’s Home on Thursday, April 14.
Before leaving Kathmandu, I spent time with brothers Tej and Megh, our Nepali ministry partners, discussing the work that will go on the next few months leading up to Mission: Nepal 2016, Part 2 in September. We are praying for that work and the future of ministry in Nepal.
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” ̶ Matthew 6:10 (ESV)
Thursday, April 14
It was meant to be a Nepali New Year dinner: brother Megh and his wife Bhim hosting Tej, his wife Bidhya, Leanne, Elaine and me. But Tej had a death in his family (a cousin killed by a hit-and-run in Kathmandu on the Nepali New Year’s Eve) so our dinner together was delayed one day. Tonight we ate with our Nepal ministry partners. It was a blessed time.
This wasn’t the only highlight of the day, however. Leanne and Elaine also enjoyed one final day of fun with the children they came to show the love of Christ. Here’s Elaine’s report:
Receiving gift bags before heading out for a special treat. (Photos by Elaine Fallesen)
It was our treat to start the final day with our beautiful kids at SARA Children’s Home following worship by handing out gift bags of goodies ̶ new socks, fruit snacks, animal crackers, pens, balls, lip gloss, and hair ties. Then we all boarded a chartered bus and headed to the Kathmandu Fun Park. We couldn’t believe that in the midst of the dirt and filth of Nepal’s capital city lies an oasis of amusement. The kids couldn’t, either ̶ they’d never been to a theme park.
The pictures of happiness were worth a thousand words.
Entrance to the park, above, and Daniel enjoying his first ride on a merry-go-round, below. (Daniel was recently brought by Megh from Rolpa to live at the SARA Children’s Home. He is one of nine new residents. You can see all the children on our Project 1:27 Nepal page.)
Nisha, left, and Dikshya circle round on the bumblebee ride.
After a couple hours of non-stop ride exploration, we broke for refreshments, and then slowly made our way out of the park. After a last stop at the ice cream stand, the children boarded the bus and all too quickly we waved goodbye as they drove off. We have been blessed beyond measure to serve these kids of His kingdom and are grateful to the Lord for leading us to them.
Leanne looks on as, left to right, Koushila, Gyani, Maya and Salina (in front) all scream for ice cream.
Wednesday, April 13
Holy cows litter the streets of Kathmandu. (Photos by Gary Fallesen)
Happy Nepali New Year!
Our team has been living 9¾ hours ahead of home for more than a week. Now we’re years ahead.
Today was the Nepali New Year. It’s 2073 on the Nepal calendar.
While this majority Hindu country celebrated the public holiday, we again served at the SARA Children’s Home outside of Kathmandu.
Each day begins with praise and worship, led by Gideon, above, and a time of prayer, below.
Here’s Elaine’s report from today:
God has a plan for everyone, including even His own Son, Jesus Christ. Today we concluded our Bible study time with the story of Jesus’ baptism and why it was so important that He do that as an example to others. We described the baptisms we witnessed last Thursday in Dapcha. Several hands went up when we asked who among them were baptized. Many of the orphans Pastor Tej takes in are not Christian when they first arrive at the orphanage. But in God’s time, after exposure to worship and Bible study, many have chosen to follow Christ and be baptized as testament to their faith. We pray that someday all of these children will join God’s family of believers.
Today each orphan was presented with a photo of his or her sponsor(s), and we shared with them how their sponsors make it possible for them to live at the orphanage, attend school, have clothes and food, and be cared for. We also told them how much their sponsors and Climbing For Christ love them and pray for them continually. The kids were excited to see the photos, which were put in plastic sleeves to hang in their rooms.
We sang our favorite Leeland song one last time, and the boys performed two more dances they had choreographed last night. We made bracelets and also gave each child a woven Gospel bracelet. Tomorrow a special surprise awaits.
Elaine gives a photo from sponsor Nancy Kaiser of Rochester, NY, USA to Manju, while Manoj translates. In the photo, Nancy is holding a sign that says: “I love you.”
Tuesday, April 12
Shoe time: The sandals of the children who are ready each day to learn and be loved by Climbing For Christ visitors to the SARA home. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
We drove past a handful of sheep with little lambs just outside the SARA Children’s Home. Fitting, Elaine said, because “sheep have been the most popular animal all week in our Bible lessons and for snacks.” Marshmallows and pretzels are used to make the sheep treats the kids have eaten.
Here’s more from Elaine:
Today we took time in the afternoon to read and discuss Psalm 23, written by David, who was the focus of our first lesson. This morning’s story of Joseph demonstrated once more how God’s plan and purpose for each one of us is unique and priceless.
Just before the children practiced their new Leeland song, “The Great Awakening,” we showed them the video made from last year’s visit ̶ of them singing Third Day’s “Soul on Fire.” Their amazement and delight at seeing themselves on screen primed them for today’s new video shoot. They sang their hearts out, and then continued with “talent show, day three” featuring new dances they had been practicing the past two nights to share with us.
The kids are talented, creative, well versed in their Bible studies, and also very intelligent. Pastor Tej had received their final report cards yesterday and shared with us that Manisha is first in her class of 116, her younger sister Anisha is third in her class, and Rosmita and younger Shristi are first in their classes as well. They are thriving.
Elaine, above with Leanne, prepares to teach a group of eager children about Joseph. Below, the children break for lunch. (Photos by Gary and Elaine Fallesen)
Manisha, right, who was first in her class (seventh grade), helps 6-year-old Shristi with today’s craft from Leanne: glitter bracelets. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
Monday, April 11
Leanne and Elaine enjoyed their second full day at the SARA Children’s Home. Here’s Elaine’s report of their time with our Project 1:27-sponsored orphans:
The day began once again in praise and worship, followed by the story of Queen Esther ̶ how an orphan Jewish girl was used by God to save the entire nation of Israelites living in Persia. Today the mystery of the puzzle pieces was solved. After each child signed the one remaining blank panel, the pieces were assembled in the right order to reveal the message: “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” ̶ Joshua 24:15. The mural was then hung in the second level of the outside stairwell of the orphanage for all to see.
Rajendra adds finishing touches to the just-hung mural. (Photos by Elaine Fallesen)
The kids also enjoyed a team-building challenge to make badminton rackets out of PVC piping and super-sized rubber bands. Fluffy balls made of felt were also made to complete the craft, and the rackets really worked!
Sunil uses his PVC badminton racket to hit the felt ball thrown by Sanjip. The boys are both newly added residents of Pastor Tej’s orphanage.
Sunday, April 10
We rose up out of the smog and uneasy ground of Kathmandu, where a 4.5-magnitude aftershock shook under our feet at 7:05 p.m. Saturday. The Kathmandu Post newspaper said it was the 445th aftershock of 4.0 or more since last April’s earthquake. I flew with Megh and his wife Bhim on Yeti Air southwest across Nepal to Nepalgunj, finally able to see the Himalayan peaks above the pollution. “I lift my eyes to the mountains...”
Little did I know in those early morning hours that we would be back in Kathmandu by evening after a major change in plans. I returned to find Leanne and Elaine basking in the glow of a great day at the orphanage.
Here's Elaine's report:
It was a big Sunday packed with precious moments as we spent our first full day at the orphanage. Leanne observed that the classroom felt much smaller this time, as it was filled with nine additional smiling faces.
The morning began in song and worship led by Gideon, who has advanced greatly in his skills since being presented with a new guitar (donated to C4C by Guitars for Glory) for the orphanage just a year ago. He was accompanied by the boys who took turns on drums. Elaine then taught about David and Goliath, the first of several lessons this week that will illustrate how God has a plan and purpose for everyone. The lesson wrapped up with a new taste sensation – marshmallows – that together with pretzels made edible sheep for all (David was a shepherd, after all).
Then an impromptu talent show busted out, and the team was treated to a display of previously untapped talent as the kids joyously sang and danced their way through many Nepali Bible songs and more than wowed the team.
Simson’s sketch of his Savior. (Photos by Elaine Fallesen)
The craft for the day was a puzzle that will become the third mural created under Leanne’s guidance to grace a wall in the orphanage. The group split into pairs of one older and one younger child, and each pair was given a piece of the puzzle to fill in with anything they wanted to draw. Their creations were beautiful. Monday the puzzle pieces will be put together and the mural’s theme will be revealed to the kids.
Lydia (left to right), Manju and Manisha work on their mural puzzle pieces.
Saturday, April 9
Little pink house of worship: SARA’s main Kathmandu church has been repainted since construction was completed two years ago. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
Pastor Tej’s congregation began worshiping in its own house on CHRISTmas day 2013. It was a happy CHRISTmas. The main SARA (Savior Alone Redeems Asians) Kathmandu church was completed in early 2014. But it was not officially dedicated until today, when we prayed over this sanctuary of Christian worship and did the official ribbon cutting.
Worship was intended, in Tej’s words, “to be fun” with youth and children leading the church in praise songs and dance.
Three of the orphans (Kausila, Rosmita and Kamala) among those lifting His name on high during worship.
More than 150 people attended the 2½-hour worship, which included communion and a mission offering taken for Climbing For Christ and our expedition to Rolpa (about US$50 was received).
Several of our Project 1:27-sponsored youth were among the young people leading worship with Tej’s brother Karna, above, while Tej translated for Gary as he preached. (Photos by Elaine and Gary Fallesen)
I preached on seven prayers written by the greatest missionary of all-time, the Apostle Paul, and encouraged the church body to pray one of these each day for the next week. They included prayers for love (Philippians 1:9-11), wisdom (Ephesians 1:15-19a), strength (Ephesians 3:14-21), fruit (Colossians 1:9-12), righteousness (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12), salvations and strengthening (2 Thessalonians 3:1-5), and “you” (Ephesians 6:19). I then added a prayer for protection from the coming storm, based on Ephesians 6:10-20.
“I feel so good,” Tej said after worship. “This was a blessed time.”
“Pray for me also, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the Gospel.” – Ephesians 6:19 (NIV)
Friday, April 8
Elaine, center, and Leanne singing with old and new friends at the SARA orphanage. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
The number of children cared for by Pastor Tej’s SARA (Savior Alone Redeems Asians) ministries has swelled from 32 to nearly 50. Some of the additions are the result of the earthquake nearly one year ago. Others are simply the result of broken homes in a broken world.
We visited the main SARA children’s home outside of Kathmandu to see old friends and meet new ones. There were 32 children there, including nine recent additions. There also are eight girls in another home far from Kathmandu and seven boys at one of SARA’s churches. Of these, 23 children are currently sponsored by Climbing For Christ members and supporters in the U.S., Canada and Australia through Project 1:27. More sponsors are needed.
Some of the children have parents or a parent who are unable to support them, while others have been completely orphaned. Orphanages in Nepal have come under scrutiny in recent years, but we are blessed to partner with SARA and have had opportunities to send teams to teach and fellowship with the children since we added Nepal to Project 1:27 in 2011.
Leanne and Elaine are here this time to spend the next week sharing about God’s love and plans for these children. They’ll be teaching them a special new song, too, just as they did when they were here together in March 2015. (CLICK HERE to watch that team and the children singing Third Day’s “Soul on Fire.”)
“And, ‘I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.’” – 2 Corinthians 6:18 (NIV)
Thursday, April 7
First the bad news: Nepal has cancelled CHRISTmas. The government removed it this week from a list of public holidays that is said to still include 83 Hindu festivals.
Worse news: Both Megh and Tej started the day talking about an anti-conversion bill proposed by the government. If this bill became law, the penalty for trying to share the Good News could be up to five years in prison.
Under reconstruction: World’s tallest statue of the Lord Shiva, 143-foot tribute to the Hindu god of destruction, overlooking Kathmandu valley. The statue was erected in 2010, but already needed a facelift of some sort. (Photos by Gary Fallesen)
Now the good news: We attended the baptism of three believers at the church at Dapcha. Rita, who has been a member of the church for seven years; Barbati, a member for five years, and Govinda, the younger brother of Pastor Gopal has grown up in the church. All desired to be baptized.
A baptismal pool was constructed on the grounds of the freshly painted church and Pastors Tej and Gopal baptized our sisters and brother in Christ.
Tej, above left, with Gopal baptizes Barbati at the just-painted church at Dapcha, below. The church currently has 60 members.
More good news: We dedicated the newly constructed house of the Pariyar family. Father Gopal, mother Maya, and daughter Sumitra (our Mission: Nepal posterchild) live in Dapcha. Their home was damaged in last year’s earthquake and we supported renovations on their property.
They gave thanks to God for providing through us and helping to improve their lives. We gave thanks for having the opportunity to do so.
Sumitra outside her new house.
Sumitra, second from right, singing “This is the Day” in a new room in her house with Pastor Gopal and Krishna, left. Krishna was the first Christian in Dapcha and founder of the church there. He just finished his first year at Bible college in India.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)
Wednesday, April 6
We thank God for safe travel as we arrived in Kathmandu this evening – on time and on schedule. Pastor Tej was waiting for us. “Welcome to Nepal once again,” he said. This is my ninth mission to Nepal in 5¼ years, Leanne’s fourth visit and Elaine’s third. We are always glad to be back and blessed to witness what the LORD is doing in this place.
Tuesday, April 5
Leanne, Elaine and I took off out of Rochester, NY, USA this morning to GO to Nepal. We will arrive Wednesday evening. Praying for traveling mercies and the work the LORD has prepared for us.
The church at Korchabang in 2012.
The work goes on before, during and after Climbing For Christ Evangelic Expeditions. Since we last visited Nepal on a short-term mission – in October 2015 – reconstruction on several additional churches destroyed by last year’s earthquake has begun and construction on the first church at Simikot in the Far West district of Humla is underway. “(Pastor) Harka said rocks are being carried by donkeys and raw building materials are also being collected now,” brother Megh Gurung, a Nepali member of our mission teams, said about the church at Simikot. “They are excitingly working there.”
We’ll see the fruit of their labors during Mission: Nepal 2016, Part 2 in September.
The first of this year’s two expeditions will focus on established – and growing – churches we have worked with since 2011:
- The church at Dapcha. Pastor Gopal, who was supported through Bible college by Climbing For Christ, is refurbishing the first church that C4C helped build. We will see the renovated building when we visit for a baptism program. We’ll also see the rebuilt home of sister Sumitra, the original posterchild for work in Nepal. Sumitra, who was rescued from paralysis and came to Christ through what was then a small house church in Dapcha, reminds us of the importance to keep pushing to reach the lost in the most remote corners of this mountainous country.
- The church at Kathmandu. Pastor Tej Rokka, another long-time Mission: Nepal team member, asked that we dedicate his main SARA (Savior Alone Redeems Asians) church after visiting the SARA church in Dapcha and spending time at his Project 1:27-sponsored orphanage. Team members Leanne Bohn and Elaine Fallesen will spend a week with the children at the orphanage as we continue to minister to children whom God has told, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18). Our team will teach them more about God having a plan and purpose for each of their lives.
- The church at Korchabang. Megh and I will return to the Mid-West district of Rolpa to visit another church we were blessed to help build and hopefully continue helping the growth of the body as we trek the area.
The work goes on.
“But Jesus replied, ‘My Father is always working, and so am I.’” – John 5:17 (NLT)
- CLICK HERE to read “Preparing to GO! Updates from the Himalayas.”
- CLICK HERE for the Mission: Nepal 2016 (April) prayer bulletin from C4C spiritual coordinator Jordan Rowley.