International Ministries

My Plans.... His Plans....

June 25, 2012 Journal
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“I’m Dinesh!” exclaimed a middle-aged Nepali man with a familiar face. 

“I taught you Nepali when you first arrived in 1979! I was one of the language teachers at the UMN Language School,” said Dinesh, who lives on the first floor of the 3-apartment house in which we live presently.

I looked more closely and sure enough, I now recognized the face of the language teacher we had 33 years ago. That young man, whom I now remembered, has graying hair and a middle-aged spread, is married with 4 children; their youngest child is finishing her undergraduate college degree while her siblings are all studying or working outside of Nepal.

The simple language skills we were learning then are in stark contrast to our now reading in 6th and 7th grade level grammar books with our present language teacher, Suman.

33 years has brought a lot of change!

Now, during load-shedding hours we use a solar generated battery for lighting our rooms instead of candles.

Blowing their whistle to announce their impending arrival, garbage collectors, pulling their heavy-laden bicycle rickshaws down little lanes and major roads, now come three times a week to pick up household refuse. Whereas before, the refuse was just thrown anywhere on the streets. 

Now, cookies are made in our gas stove with an oven, instead of in a very large frying pan used as an oven.  This is one of the many household goods now available that weren’t anywhere to be seen in the 1980’s.

Now the monarchy no longer rules the country, but a federal multiparty representative democratic republic – with all its bumps – is trying to govern the country: no longer a Hindu Kingdom, Nepal now is a Federal Democratic Republic.

The remote village of Buling Tar, where we lived a short time in 1980 was a 6-hour bus ride followed by a 12-16 hour walk, depending on how fast I could walk!  Now has a passable road reaching it. Then the only Nepali Christians were the community health nurse, who operated a small health clinic, and her husband. When I met that nurse at Lamjung Hospital, she told me that there are small church fellowships in every village serviced by the now closed health.

Last month, in May, looking ahead to Bucky’s next birthday, we knew that changes in our IM overseas status would be happening in the fall, bringing closure to our years in Nepal.

But, I knew there were goals I still needed to accomplish!

I began to concentrate intently on finishing the translation into Nepali of a spiritual discipline I enjoy of praising the different names and qualities of God each day.

For the students studying in English at the Nepal Baptist Bible College, I figured out how to add the English sentences to the Nepali version of the Discipleship Class I taught to Nepali Lay Leaders, so they could study it and eventually teach it to other Nepalis.

I began to think about how to get Shristi and Pooju, the daughters of a nearby shopkeeper, independent so they would be able to go to the library themselves and pick their own books like Gopini’s daughter Sakchi does.

I FINALLY was also able to introduce a young boy, who I’ve met frequently walking on our street, to the library and began a follow-up to get his own card and his ability to choose books for himself.

With those goals in line to be accomplished by mid-fall, I felt good about my progress.

But, then on Saturday, June 2, things drastically changed.

Bucky suffered a stroke at home that afternoon.  After two days in the hospital where our missionary colleagues work, we flew to Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand for further treatment.

We were able to return to Kathmandu 10 days later because of the prayers of so many people. Because of the location in his brain of the stroke, he didn’t loose muscle strength, but lost coordination and balance. Daily he does his PT and OT exercises, so he can walk, but not long distances. Although his recovery has been phenomenal, Bucky still tires very easily. His doctors do want him to return to the US for further rest and recovery, and to be under the care of a Neurologist there.  He leaves July 4 for the US. I will stay in Nepal and pack up our apartment, and bring closure to nearly 16 years of living here.

How fast plans and goals change!

God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11 is what I find myself clinging to: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.”

The morning of June 2, I had no idea how our lives would change within just a few hours.  It isn’t easy to understand. But, I am claiming this promise!

May the strength found in this promise help you in your life’s journey.