Hard to imagine we have been here 5 days but, also, it feels like it was a month ago that we were at training camp running around like Banshees trying to close everything up since we were the last team to leave. In cleaning our way out of camp, I saw the spirit that has been a part of this team since day one and continues to today - that of enthusiasm and hard work. Yes, I know your kid!
Whether it was the infectious spirit of Quaid Walkington or Adam Godwin or Reagan Williams and Maddy Sichley’s willingness to jump into any task. We have just been blessed with a whole team of 33 people gifted with a drive to serve at any moment.
Our first couple of days here were spent in recovery from a brutal 39 straight hours of travel. After taking the first day to do a team dinner and nap righteously hard, we kicked off day 2 with a walk around the Monkey Temple where we encountered a Christian artist (Rebekah) selling her paintings at the top of the temple. Seeing a believer with a business atop a Buddhist temple inspired several students to help support Rebekah and her husband by purchasing some of their artwork. So, if this is the souvenir they bring home to you, act surprised.
The next day we took them to a Hindu temple - Pashupatinath Temple. This is a temple dedicated to Shiva. It also is a very empty, dark place void of hope. It is located on the Bagmati River. Considered a sacred river, though it is polluted by human waste and garbage and warns anyone walking within a mile radius of its churning smells. At this temple, they will cremate their dead and dump the ashes in the river that eventually flows to the Ganges River in India. The Ganges then empties into the Bengal Bay and Indian Ocean and is believed to bring them to salvation (nirvana).
We visit these places to show students the emptiness found here and also what the believers deal with on a daily basis. With there being only 1.5% Christians in this country, it is a literal mountain to climb for them. We joined up with some of the believers here as we visited their church yesterday. It was so evident to the students the stark difference in the life and hope that was found in the lives of the Christ followers there. While there, we were able to do some of our dances and dramas, and Trent Smiley, who gave his testimony to the youth, did a great job. This week we have many ministry opportunities outside of our daily relational ministry near our hostel in Thamel. We will be doing ministry with a men’s rehab clinic, a rescued mother’s home and some baseball clinics as well.