Saks Sighting, Rickshaw Ride, and Wonderful Worship

Wednesday, March 28

And we are off again! Today is the last day of our conference. I am writing these blog reports so quickly that I am not having time to proof nor finish them. I can’t wait to sit down to read them just to find out what we have done! I am sitting against the wall of the conference center just typing away while the music part of our worship is beginning. I do love the music but don’t’ understand a lick of it. It is fun to join in when I recognize a tune and know the english words. This happens at least once during a worship time!

Last night after we left the conference the little 16 year old girl that I had prayed over took many pictures of us and with us and s she was leaving embraced me full -force! This is VERY unusual in this culture. (Yes, I am having hug withdrawals and will need LOTS when I return to Pike Road!) Anyway, Assa’s hug was precious and we rejoice with what God is doing in her. Please pray for her: continued freedom!

Thanks to Lisa Burke for connecting the dots that Alex Saks was in Siliguri. He has been in India since Feb 24 and just happened to be staying at a hotel only 5 minutes from our hotel. Jiwan dropped us off to see him after buying rice to send to the Leprosy Camp. IT was great seeing a familiar face. We walked to the nearby “Penguin Family Restaurant” (YAH, more Indian food!) The flavors never cease to amaze me. I love eating it but tend to get full very quickly. Again, I am astounded at how inexpensive this huge meal was. For five us us to eat, the total came to $20.00. WE chatted a while and somehow realized that Alex had WiFi at his hotel so he passed on the passwords and we were able to connect and send out a few family emails, blogs to JoJo, and quickly check facebook.

After saying our goodbyes, Jeff hailed a motorized rickshaw. It felt like I was stepping into a very old, very large, very smelly tin-can. Riding thru the streets is an adventure on its own, but riding in a tin can brings on a whole new dimension! You literally can touch the cows, smile at your neighbor when they star at you, and feel the heat from the motorcycle that is stopped next to you. Our seven minute ride cost Jeff 20 rubles (or about forty cents for all of us…10 cents each!)

Then it was home again. Lights out by 9:15 and wonderful sleep. Of course, if/when I wake up at 3:00, I calculate that it is 4:30 in the afternoon and pray for whoever God lays on my heart. Then it is up by 6:00 and downstairs for more butter-jam-toast and boiled eggs and tea.

Trudy and Jeff are amazing hosts/traveling companions. We are so thankful to our Lord for the rapport we have with them as well as the kindred spirits. It is precious to pray with them, sing with them, joke with them and simply be with them. They are amazing and are phenomenal modern day missionaries! I JUST LOVE THEM BOTH!!

Well, they are not finishing worship so I get to join them. Someone has moved the chairs out of the way and tho the men are still on the right withe women on the left, the worship freedom expressions have heightened. It is beautiful to know that in the middle of the Hindu stronghold, God is being honored, worshipped and glorified!

Fun Fact: Tall blondes stand out in Nepal

Most Nepalis have not seen many Americans, no less tall, blonde, blue-eyed Americans. For the first time in my 53 years on this planet I realized what it felt like to be on display–in a zoo-like kind way! I simply grinned at a LOT of Nepalis…I mean a LOT OF NEPALIS! Especially the children. Some even ran away when I drawled, “hee-eey…” Then I grinned some more. Nepali is filled with beautiful people, especially the Christian people that we met in the churches.

We visited our final two churches today (Saturday, March 24) Nepalis worship on Saturday. The first church was very similar to the ones we have visited for the past two days. Small (about 20-30 people), many young people between 13-30 and lots of life. They are very passionate about God and about being with each other. Jeff preached at the first church, Tim at the second. Both times, we were very well received. Each time we arrive at a church we are asked to sit outside, usually in plastic chairs that they have set up in our honor and then we are brought beverages. Today it was, to our relief, Coca-cola. When we are served water or their version of juice, Jiwan has to explain that the Americans can’t drink it. It makes us feel bad to hurt their feelings by refusing the water but they were, each time, very gracious.

Then as the church people arrive they stop, put their hands together (praying hands-like) and nod/bow and say: Jay-ma-see which means praise the Lord. It is the way ALL Christians greet each other here and even makes believers grin from ear to ear when they realize that they have met a new believer! The service usually begins without us (since we are outside sipping on cold beverages) and we are finally beckoned in to the seats of honor at the front of the room (while everyone else sits on the floor) As a matter of fact, at the second church we tried to sneak in at sit with the people (Men on right, women on the left) and I sat on a woman’s foot. I tried to apologize (she didn’t understand me) and I tired to smile but she never changed the expression on her face…not sure if I hurt her, scared her or insulted her..hmmmm.’

The second church was on a mountainside. I had tried to warn Jeff that I get wigged out when traveling by cliffs. When I realized where we were going, I just closed my eyes and thanked God for eyelids…20 minutes later we were there. The church was on the second floor of a building and the vie was stunning despite the foggy/smoggy day. MANY young people and one of the first times that I acually saw a few girls wearing jeans. She was modestly dressed but 99% of all the women where the traditional Indian garb so seeing a pair of jeans was odd for me. after Tim preahed he offered to pray for anyone that wanted to be prayed over and many folks came forward, so all 4 of us pitched in to pray.

After the service they invited us into the pastor’s home for wi-wi (noodles) Then we left for home (which meant cross the Nepal/Indian border, this time in a vehicle rather than by foot.!) WE stopped by and met Jiwan’s dad on the way home. He has a growth on his esophagus that doesn’t look good. he had lost about 30lbs. we were able to pray over him, too. WE stopped by a neighbor’s house simply to pray blesssings over them and they gave Jiwan two chickens to take back to his home. The lady tied the chicken’s feet together, handed them to Jiwan who promplty stuck them in the back of our SUV. They were quiiet travelers but Trudy was worried that our heavy backpacks would fall on them and crush them. :)

Then to Jiwan’s home, chatted with and played with the orphan kids that live there (I really don’t think they are orphaned since they have Jiwan and Esther!) Esther and her kitchen ladies cooked noodles, rice and chicken for us…(NO, not the ones that were the recent gifts–they are for laying–rather one Jiwan and purchased by the side of the road on the way back today!)

WE finally made it back to Silguiri about 4:45 and checked back into our hotel, which felt like the RITZ compared to the Hotel Dunbar where we had just left in Nepal. We have spent the evening unpacking and winding down. Tim and I went for hot tea and dessert in the hotel restaurant. The dessert was best described as two donut holes soaked in sugar water….it was good and sweeeet!

Before I finish I want to share about what happens at about 3:00 each morning in Nepal: the power goes off. Yep, all over our part of town, the power grid jsut quits (not sure if that is on purpose or not…) But the noisy ceiling fan ceases to run, all the lights go out and the noise in the roads STOPS DEAD. It is actually the stillest, quietest night I have heard in the longest time (Even at home, the street lights are on and the refridgerator is buzzing, along with the hot water heater turning on and off and the the dog rustling around. But at 3:00am Nepal was still. Very still. AS I lay in bed I began to think about the old hymn: “Nothing but the blood of Jesus” and had ths crazy visual of me walking down the hall to the balcony and singing: “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus! What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus! OH PRECIOUS is the flow, that makes me white as snow! NO OTHER fount I know! Nothing but the blood of Jesus!”

Tim informed me that the door to the balcony was locked so I couldn’t do that so I just sang it on my bed. I was very moved at the fact that the vast majority of people here in Nepal do not know what Jesus did for them by bleeding for them. ALL it took was ONE drop of his blood and they were forgiven…and all they have to do is believe that and follow him and their destinies are altered…but they don’t know…they haven’t heard I was struck by how saturated we are in America with much so that we are too often immune to how precious Jesus and the gift of his death really is. I thought a lot about that at 3:00am this morning and was overwhelmed.

Conference Begins

Tuesday, March 27
Today is day two of the conference (sorry, no report for day one…too zonked at the end of the day)

There are probably about 90 folks in attendance some traveling as far as 2 hours. Some folks have walked, some rode the train, some got a taxi. There are more men then women, and the age groups are distributed fairly equally. As a whole they are a quiet, humble group. We all greet each other with the bowed head, praying hands formed in front and “J-ma-C” (Which means, “praise the Lord”

Their worship is set up much like ours (a band set with guitar, bass, and jimbay) and a horrible sound system, reverb and all! Though it is difficult to sing with them due to the language barrier, it is a joy to watch the people worship. They all clap, the young people move more and they are not hesitant to lift their hands to the Lord. There is a short little old man here, who supposedly travel alone, by foot through rough trails for about 2 days. If you look in his face (yes, I do have photos) he is obviously “off” or “slow”. He just kinda stumbles around with a glazed look on his face. That is, until the music begins. Then, he begins the dance. And the dance is beautiful. He dances the entire time the music is playing and he dances to the Lord. You can totally sense that the Lord is so delighting in him. It is stunning to watch and be a part of.

Tim is teaching what God is telling him to say, but the response is very limited. That is cultural. Tim is teaching on hearing from God (and obeying him). The premise (as the Pike knows) is that IF you listen to God, and do what He says, you will change your world. Then everyone was broken into small groups and did Discovey Bible Studies. THIS is totally foreign (get it?!) to them. But they are doing it and they are all talking and sharing. It is very exciting to watch. In this culture, the pastor hears from God and tells the people what he said. However, much of the time, the pastor has heard a good sermon and then re-preaches it. (OK, it is even like that in America…) So this concept of listening to God is fairly new, even tho THAT is the gospel: CHRIST IN ME, the HOPE of glory!

Last night we finished about 6:30 and the four of us went to our first authentic Indian restaurant. IT was very nice (white linen table clothes, table’s set, a waiter with a bow-tie and untorn-napkins! RE: most of the restaurants here tear the napkins in half so that you will only use half of it…. Jeff did a great job of ordering for us. I was glad to have flavored food WITH MEAT…the meat we ate was chicken and mutton (Goat. Good goat!) It was all DELISH. When the bill came, it totaled up to $22.00 for the four of us! The American dollar is very happy here!!

Jeff told us before we came that this was a high-starch culture. I could not fathom that. BUT, we have toast (and boiled eggs) for breakfast, and rice and/or noodles and/or potatoes for lunch and supper. It is often flavored with chilies and it is good. But it does make me miss my vegies and a good ole salad!!

Anyway, we got home about 9;00 and were asleep by 9:10! However, before we went to sleep Tim checked his email and, lo and behold, he had gotten a message from Alex Saks who said that, he too, was in Siliguri! He was staying at the Apollo. Ha, the Apollo is literally 5 minutes from the Hotel Conclave, where we are staying. We plan on eating supper with him tonight.

Today the conference began at 9:00. Tim taught again and then we had our first tea-break. During this break a young 16 year old girl approached Trudy and me and pointed to her eye while speaking Nepali. Obviously we needed a translator and two girls were happy to oblige. Thru the we learned here story. She has only been a Christian for 5 months. However, at age 13 she had gone to a Hindu temple and for some reason that she cannot remember, she spat while she was in the temple. At that time, she lost vision in her left eye. She wanted us to pray for her as she felt like she had received a curse at that time causing her to be blind in that eye.

I admit that I sat there a minute thinking, “uh oh, what do I do now?” That is, until I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Tell that dirty dog to leave!” I said, “I know what to do!” Trudy said, GOOD!” I was so excited that I jumped up and ran to stand behind her chair where I laid my hands on her head and proclaimed that Jesus was her rightful owner and that DIRTY DOG had no right to her and had to leave! The girl writhed some and then went limp (just like the boy had in the Matthew passage that we had just finished studying in our ladies’ SS class.) Then she began foaming at the mouth. I continued praying by proclaiming truth over her and then the Lord told me to tell her, thru our translators, that she needed to say herself that “Jesus is my Lord.” It took quite a bit of effort but she finally said those key words. When she did I had a sudden spasm in MY back, which Trudy noted and prayed for me and the spasm stopped.

The young lady ended up sharing her testimony at the end of our time together and she has received vision back in her eye.

More later.