NEPAL 2014--David's Final post
Last Nepal Update – Sunday through Tuesday: My last update was sent in a hurry in a little cyber-café in Hetauda. I’m now back in the US and have managed to clear enough cobwebs of responsibilities to take a few minutes to recount what happened on the last few days of my trip.
My time in Hetauda was a whirlwind. I told you about the harrowing drive – this video sums it up nicely: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_Q0QN_0h_g&feature=youtu.be You can see all of my videos here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist…. The ride was 4-5 hours and we were tightly packed into the all-terrain jeep. I was wrong about the route, it was not the Tribhuvan “highway.” That was apparently the “long way.” We took the more direct, although more steep and less maintained way. In fact, the day before our trip the particular road we took was closed due to landslides (the same storm that created the blizzard and avalanche – the Typhoon). And on the way back that road was closed again due to landslides. Makes sense if you watched the first video I sent. I tried to rest in God’s sovereignty and our driver’s record of 10 years of safe driving.
I spoke a bit about the conditions in Hetauda in my last brief update. I classify it as a “village” (and heard several people refer to it as such) even though some of the buildings are more “modern,” meaning concrete/brick/tile etc. There is no running water but most people have some kind of tank storage system, no centralized sewer system, electricity but it’s off for an hour or two at dusk (and possibly more) to conserve/share. Most people lived in what was essentially a hut, being mostly constructed by themselves and of varying construction material. The families almost all lived in one room, no matter how large the family. There were usually 2-3 beds, a small dresser-type stove, and the floor space served as the kitchen and dining area. The bathroom in our guest house had tile.
In their culture, hospitality and guests are extremely important. We were treated (relatively) like royalty: we always ate first at special places prepared just for us, were given heaps of food (mostly rice) and special items, and the other men, then the women and children all waited to eat until we were finished. I deliberately wanted to be gracious and accept all food / accommodations that they offered and my stomach did well until the final meal when they offered me fresh warm buffalo milk. All three of us refused politely but I could tell that our host was confused. After asking someone who knew English well I discovered that having a buffalo was a special item and that two special items you offer guests are meat and milk. So I accepted and was poured a big glass of which I resolved to finish. After the skin and chunks it was actually pretty good. I also thanked the buffalo on my way out since she was right outside of the door to the hut.
This is just a small example to show how loving and caring people of this village were towards us. They shared what they had, made sacrifices to give us special things, and were excited to learn about the Bible and be encouraged in their faith from us. We were challenged to see a level of outward contentment the exceeds most Americans. In this comparison I could see Ecclesiastes 5:10 in action: “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.” Lest you think that I consider these brethren saints, I did realize the same basic human weaknesses and failures in them and in their churches as are in me, us, and our churches. Their's may look different from ours externally, so it might take longer for me to see/experience it in such a different culture.... But God is rescuing them since they put their hope in Jesus, just like he is me.
I shared about how the church service went; preaching about centering worship on Jesus from Colossians 3:16. We made music together and worshipped the living God, and it was a blessing. The music camp that afternoon in the small church seemed to be a success as it was extremely packed and we got lots of positive comments. We had to go into town to rent a sound system, and it’s a good thing that it was able to run on batteries since the church didn’t have functioning electricity. One of the more challenging memories was playing “Not In Me” for them from a keyboard without a sustain pedal. Hopefully Randy does NOT share a video of that (there are plenty of other videos he can share!).
On Sunday we had the main music and worship camp at another area church that had a much bigger building that looked like it could seat 200 or more. It had electricity, a stage, a sound system, and bathrooms. People of varying ages (though all were older than school-aged I think, school may have been in session) attended and I taught foundational lessons on worship, gave a concert, then led some more hands-on seminars in worship leading, playing the guitar, and singing. At most of my sessions I led singing, using “How Great Thou Art” again (since I know that they know that one well in Nepali) and also singing “How Great Is Our God” in English (they used that one in the morning with their own praise band, in English). I ended up using the latter song as a demonstration song and invited their musicians up to join me.
The soprano saxophone was a HUGE hit. Most of them had never seen a saxophone before, let alone heard one. When I gave my concert, they insisted that I share about the instrument and demonstrate it first before getting to any worship songs. I explained the instrument and what jazz music was, then proceeded to play the melody for How Great Thou Art. I started by simply stating the melody and slowly began embellishing (in the jazz tradition) and as I got more involved they became very responsive; at the end as I was going a little wild, so were they – cheering! They seemed to really enjoy it, and so did I; I don’t think I’ve ever been able to so easily impress on the sax I also chose to sing a blues worship songs, Come Down (http://www.thousandtongues.org/songs/updatedhymns/come-down). They didn’t have a way to translate “blues” so I just called it “rock and roll” and gave it a big blues ending. For that one they clapped, smiled, and went a little wild at the end. Later some thanked me for demonstrating so many different kinds of music and strumming and said that it really expanded their musical understanding.
Sunday evening we had dinner in a very small home (the one where I was given buffalo milk) by a mother of 4 daughters similar ages to my daughters. She asked us to pray that her husband would come to love Jesus and serving the church as she does and we spent time praying for her before departing.
Each day we were incredibly exhausted and had very little free time. If we had 15 minutes back at the guest house we usually just laid on our beds (tables) and zoned out briefly before the next event. But God really gave me strength beyond what I would normally have and for that I’m very thankful. Randy and Sam were troopers during this phase especially since they didn’t have particular responsibilities; they were a great support and encouragement and helped to love on and attend to the people.
On Monday we headed back to Hetauda earlier in the morning than originally planned so that Randy and Sam could have some time in Kathmandu to see some things and get a few gifts (they didn’t have that time like I did the previous week). Ed met us and took us to a good shopping district, then fed us and got Randy and Sam situated in a Taxi. I ended up being able to stay an extra day to visit with the Boehms, see a bit more of Kathmandu, and hopefully to visit a village to hear some music. The village idea didn’t end up working, but we did go to a town outside of Kathmandu which was really interesting. The architecture was much older, and I saw many festival sites where there would be music (it just wasn’t the right time; a few days later and the Hindu festival would be in high gear). I ended up providentially meeting a Nepali man who lived in the US for a long time getting degrees (one was an MDiv at a Southern Baptist seminary). He was very excited to meet me and was very interested in the fact that I came to teach on music and worship in Nepal. In fact, he said that as he asked churches what their primary needs are in Nepal, they said that teaching on music and worship were the biggest need. Most of the churches have charismatic roots and are heavily influenced by such things as God TV and popular worship music trends like Hillsongs and have had no real grounding in how to understand music in Christian worship. They also have a very musical culture, with elaborate music being used in non-Christian worship all around them, and need to understand how to think rightly and use music for God’s glory, not for man’s (or false gods’). He’s already praying that I’ll return, as are all of those that I visited. The Kathmandu church would like me to come so that they can have a better planned visit for main public worship (Saturdays) and weekend concert(s). Who knows what the Lord might do!
Thank you all for your care and support of me and my family financially and through prayer. The people of Nepal thank you as well for making this possible. May God use all of our efforts to build his kingdom around the world, for His glory.
You can see all of my trip pictures here: https://www.dropbox.com/…/280eef…/AADvdgyAElEruT4imnvngl_Fa… And all of my short videos here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist…