Sunday, May 29, 2011

City Happenings, Part 2

Last week, City Happenings (Part 1), ended with the Festival of the Torches, when a large percentage of the population of the city of Banepa (this festival is a local one) carried torches to the temple and the river beyond it very early in the morning (4:00 a.m. this year to be exact).  That evening came the second part of the ceremony--carrying the idol to the temple.  Just before sunset, we got the call to go outside!  An amicable crowd had gathered.
(It was sprinkling off and on, so some of the pics have little water dots on them.)

Some boys discovered where to get a good view .

Ramon got called to the hospital, so I hung out with some of the kids from school and Sabbath School.

As you can see, the sun went down, and everyone just visited and waited.


What is it?  Oh, it's the musicians first.

And now--here it is!  Can you see it?  It's the carriage with the idol and the priest.

Boy, they came up that steep hill FAST--almost running!  A friend (who joined in and is pictured below) told us that if they didn't go quickly, they would never make it.  The carriage was attached to logs and the guys carried it.

 There was also music and dancing. 

Everyone was in a good mood.  Some of the boys posed for pics.

As they carried it on its way to the temple...

...I couldn't help but notice that there were some people watching TV instead!

The next morning everyone was out and about waiting for it to come back from the temple and back into town.  We went to Kathmandu for our day off so we missed that procession, but we saw the people arriving to watch.

I hope this man was able to make some money that day!

Next post, Hospital Happenings!  Have a nice day, and see you then!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

City Happenings

What's been happening in and around Banepa, our town here in Nepal?  Well, the Kathmandu Valley has continued to have Bandhs (Strikes--See "Strikes" in the Labels) now and then.  This means that schools, shops and businesses are canceled for these days and the roads are closed.  (Only ambulances are allowed to pass.)  We've heard that there will be more Bandhs this week.  Thanks to those of you praying for this beautiful country. 

When we were recently in Kathmandu, we saw these folks.  Not sure which group they were, but there were lots of them.  They drove by us for some time.  Someone was speaking over the loud speaker you see on the car.

This young lady wasn't concerned at all.

Neither was this cutie.

We never found out if these flags mean anything or if they are just decorations.
(They weren't there last week.)

Meanwhile, in our historical city of Banepa, we had our own festival that is unique to this area.  It's a celebration of the goddess Chandesvari's victory over the demon Chandesur.  The Chandesvari temple is right down the road from the hospital.

We had to get up at 4:00 a.m. to see the procession of the torches which started in town, and then made its way right past the hospital on its way to the temple and the river beyond.  We headed outside, and the crowd was so large that I immediately became separated from Ramon!  Everyone was so happy and cheerful though, that I wasn't scared.  We were at the top of this hill waiting for them.

Joining the crowd were these men, playing music.

Oh look!  There are some lights!  Here they come!  You can't tell in the photos, but there were thousands--and they were walking faster up the hill than I do!

There they go--on to the temple!

Now, where is Ramon?

Oh yes, over there, on the other side of the people!  You can't see him, but he's there beyond the lights!

No, that lady isn't carrying a baby.  She's carrying food.  These ladies are among those following the procession who were carrying food to the temple.

What happened next?  We went back to sleep!  What happened that evening around sunset?  Stay tuned for Part 2!!!  Have a lovely day!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Church Happenings

Recently the young people of our church hosted the First Annual Nepal Youth for Christ Conference, or NYC as it was commonly called.  They worked so hard and I'm happy to announce it was a rousing success!  The location was this lovely campus's Multi-Purpose Hall and some classrooms.  It's only a hop, skip, and a jump from our hospital's campus (five minute walk).

Preparations lasted for months, with everything falling into place at the right moment, and finally it was time to get the rooms ready.  This van was among the vehicles filled with books, flowers, blankets, and I'm not even sure what else that carried supplies to the site.

Here is one of the helpers eager to refill his box.

And he's off--so fast I almost missed him!

Here is the beautiful hall where the meetings were held.

The team worked hard to get it ready--and it was no small task!

Here's our helper again, running to tell me what he's been doing.  (Can you tell he's happy?!  :)
(The cute thing is that for days afterwords he (and actually several other children who were there also) would say to me, " 'Member when we were there?!"  :))

 Finally the big day came, 
 and with it, the young people!  What a blessing that so many youth from various locations around Nepal and N. India were able to come.  It wasn't easy for some of them--such as those who had to walk for days just to get to a bus stop, those with financial worries, and those who have difficulties just being a Christian.  However, despite all the obstacles, there were close to 350 registered attendees for the Wednesday - Sunday conference!  Praise the Lord!  Besides whole group meetings, there were break-out seminar classes with topics of interest and relevance to the situations young people face in this part of the world.

On Sabbath, the hall was packed as our church members were all invited to attend the church service.

Sabbath School had a panel discussion with the guest speakers (from India and America) along with our Nepali Field Director who came with his wife from Kathmandu.

Song service was next.  I loved hearing the large group all singing together:  Nepali, English, and even perhaps some other languages!

Our Pathfinders (similar to Boy & Girl Scouts) took up the offering.

Our divine service speaker was Jeffrey Rosario from America and the translator was one of "our boys."

Not everyone was able to stay awake during the sermon!  :)

However, everyone else was greatly blessed and inspired by the message.  At the end, young people who were willing to go home and be leaders in their communities were invited to stand.  We are continuing to pray for these brave young people willing to take a stand for the truth, often in difficult circumstances.

In other church news, Ramon recently gave the sermon in our church.  We all enjoyed listening about how Peter put his faith and trust in the Lord.  Translating was Ramon's good friend Sundar. 

Recently I was able to attend a birthday celebration at this nice church in a neighboring town.  (Ramon was working and unable to go.)  When there is a special program, some of their members visit our church, so I know some of them.  Many of the members of our church were also there.

There was a nice song service.

Here is a drummer in training.  The drum kept rolling out of his hands and he finally solved that problem by laying on it!  :)

Pastor spoke a few words.

During the sermonette, a friendship formed before our very eyes!
Too cute for words!!!

To end the program, we all lined up to give the birthday girl her presents and I learned a (new for me) Nepali custom.  Before giving her their gift, everyone fed her some cake.  It was nice. 

Well, that's all for now!  Stay tuned for more news soon!  Take care and God bless!