NEPAL 2014--David update 10-14-14
My last update was Monday morning, before the day had really begun. There is an office with WiFi (but no plumbed toilet) where we are building the studio and with a room where I can study. I completed a few more lesson outlines and spent more time trying to make all of them smaller and more concise. I found out that I would be teaching in a bilingual format, which cuts my teaching time in half. Monday afternoon we went out for quite an adventure looking for building supplies for sound panels. To get specialty items like foam rubber or plywood, we had to be creative. The foam rubber was found at a mattress factory and the plywood at a cabinet maker shop. There is no such thing as a Home Depot here and you have to ask people where to find particular kinds of items. Weather stripping isn’t even a concept in people’s minds, so we’re having to improvise with things like that.
We walked maybe 5 miles, took a taxi, and took a bus, so it was an amazing time to take in the city. The streets are incredible crowded, tiny, dirty, and appear dangerous though I haven’t seen an accident yet. There are no street signs and no addresses. They got the foam delivered and I wondered how they would tell the driver where to deliver it. The answer – you go with them. If you’re someone who doesn’t like to be given directions like “go until the giant oak tree and turn left, then look for the second curve…” you couldn’t make it here. The streets and alleys curve all over the place and without the sun I was totally lost. If I was out without a guide I have no idea what would happen!
They fed us a traditional Nepali lunch and in the evening we went to a traditional Nepali dinner. We had to sit on the floor and the food was very spicy. We were all struggling a bit with the spice but felt better about our stamina after hearing that it was hot even to Nepali standards. I wanted to try a home-made pepper sauce yesterday but was warned very strongly that it would be too hot. They were right – a young Nepali ate some later and was coughing, crying, and his nose was running. Who knows what would have happened to me!!!! We crashed after dinner due to jet lag and I woke up at 3:00am. It’s pretty hard to transition about 11 time zones.
Yesterday morning we had breakfast at a pretty westernized coffee shop and I had granola, yogurt, and bacon. We were taken out by the directory of the Nepali National Language Preservation Institute, the organization who were are building the studio for. There was another group of 3 people there helping with computers as well. We heard the director’s story of how he became a Christian and started doing translation work and I was pretty touched and inspired. This man has given his life away to translate the Bible into as many of the 123 languages from Nepal that he can because he believes that in the Scriptures there is eternal life. I wonder if there are any other faiths that give so sacrificially to get their scriptures into the hands, minds, and hearts of the whole world with such abandon; probably not. Christianity seems to be unique (correct me if I’m wrong) that believes that the Scriptures are living and active, indeed are in fact one with God himself (Jesus is called the “Word”). Simon believes that if people really read the Bible, they become converted, and has seen it happen as people work on translation, being converted as they spend time with the scriptures.
I taught a songwriting seminar in the afternoon. My outlines are being translated into Nepali and I have a translator, which was interesting. Most of the time I say a sentence and he says a sentence, but sometimes I say a sentence and he talks for a minute or two. It must be a hard job and I’m trying to make concepts concise and clear. Some things were very hard for me like trying to explain how the emotion of lyrics and tune should match. Since I had heard the song Hera Na Hera and knew it was about the beauty of creation, I said that it wouldn’t be wise to write a song about the final judgment and destruction of the earth to that tune I shared a couple of songs that I had written and then taught about worship songs in general and gave advice about writing and critiquing worship songs. From the feedback I got it seems that the time was well received. One of the students was willing to share a scripture song that he had written in the Thame language (pronounced Tahmey) from Northeastern Nepal near China. It is Philippians 2:10-11. https://app.box.com/s/lgg8601dxs18hrn5os0k
The students had almost no knowledge of American Christian worship songs, having only a vague familiarity with Amazing Grace. I have been thinking about how amazing it is that Christianity manifests itself in almost every culture and is so culturally agnostic. Most other faiths (except maybe secular faiths like humanism) are so tightly bound to culture, like the Buddhism and Hinduism around me.
Today (Wednesday) and tomorrow I will teach two full days of seminars about worship, worship leading, songs, and songwriting. Please pray that I will make the gospel clear in all that I teach and that those who haven’t come to a saving knowledge of Jesus would be transformed by the truth of His grace in Jesus.
Another worship song
I just heard a Buddhist man start singing out of my window and captured a little bit of it. This is a worship song but not to the same God that I sing to. Man certainly has been created to worship but sadly that worship is misplaced until our ability to worship the true God is restored when we are born again. Romans 1:18-24 speaks of the worship of the world being “inverted” – placed on the creature rather than the creator. In Buddhism you essentially worship yourself, and in Hinduism you worship actual deities often in the form of creatures. Walking the streets here you encounter shrines (on the sidewalk!) that people leave offerings for and worship at. Please pray that minds which are “darkened” (Rom 1:21; Eph 4:17) would be awakened by the light of Jesus.
Pictures are taking too long to upload - will let it upload later today from the church or office.
For Christ and His church