International Ministries

"Deushi Re"

November 15, 2010 Journal
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“Deushi Re”

…….“Deushi Re,”….... “Deushi Re,”….... “Deushi Re,” were the words we heard through our window being sung late into the night. A group of singers, accompanied by drummers, were responding to their song leader’s verse with this traditional chorus—and with all their might!

And so we knew that the celebration of Tihar had officially begun: a five-day festival, the second largest in Nepal, when people travel back to their parent’s home, and eat delicious food, special to the season, lovingly cooked by mothers, sisters, and daughters.

Groups of people—elementary aged boys and girls, teens, young adults and older adults—gather around their song leader, singing the Deushi Re song.  Going from house to house, they sing and dance late into the night, collecting money and special sweets for their effort.

Here in Besishahar, in the late afternoon into the late evening, groups of Gurung young women, dressed in their ethnic clothing, lined the streets below our apartment and danced solo versions of their ethnic dance to music from a loud boom box. Young men from the area would join them for a few fancy steps, to shouts from the crowd, and then make a small monetary gift for that privilege.

From our apartment we could here the music blaring a rhythmic beat, crowds cheering for the dancer, and everyone enjoying the moment full of color and sound.

As darkness falls, we saw strings of blinking colored lights hanging from houses, candles brightly burning lined on porches, multi-colored paper streamers hung, and pots of blooming marigolds giving a festive hue. The lights are believed to provide a path for the goddess of prosperity, Lakshmi, to each home where it is hoped she would come and bless it. Firecrackers explode in the background as darkness descends.

This festival’s climax is on the final day when sisters give their brothers a special blessing honor.

During this time, in our building, Aama’s five sisters gathered together from villages along the mountainside to honor their only brother who traveled from Kathmandu. Aama’s daughter also came from Kathmandu to honor her own brother, our landlord. Meanwhile, our landlord’s wife just walked up the hill opposite our home to her parent’s home to meet her four sisters coming from different places to give a special honor to their brother who also came from Kathmandu.

The five days are a time of happiness, eating special food, singing and music, marigold garlands, lights and firecrackers.

But even more special to me was the excitement of two Christian friends from the hospital. Their excitement, filling the room when I was talking to them, was a result of Prison Fellowship – Nepal’s three day training program on prison visitation, helped by International Ministries, and held around the time of Tihar. They had not known anything about prison ministry and visitation, although they had an interest. Through my contacts they were able to attend this seminar and learn more about prison visitation ministry.  

When they came back from the conference, they were so excited! They were so full of energy they quickly met with their church’s pastor to tell him what they had learned. Now their church is making plans to have a special program at the local prison for Christmas. Their hope is that this will be the start of regular visitation there.

Please pray that the seeds sown at the seminar in the lives of these two people will grow and bloom into a Christian ministry bringing hope and new life to those in prison here in Besishahar.

With the encouraging excitement of my friends’ joy in being able to start a prison visitation ministry here, my memory of Tihar, in all its joy and happiness, will never be the same.

Thank you for your partnership with us here in Besishahar,