I have arrived home safely at about midnight thanks to Gina. Believe it or not, I was able to travel from Kathmandu to Tampa in three flights! It took me from Kathmandu to Doha, Washington, DC, and then onto Tampa. I honestly don’t really even remember getting on the plane in Washington for Tampa, but I have so many air miles that at times, I have been getting free upgrades to Business class which truly makes a difference. Still, believe me when I say that these days, really all that means is you get a full can of Diet Coke instead of a half of a cup! All I know is that I got on the plane and the next thing I remember is the flight attendant waking me up in Tampa and looking around at a totally empty jet, she said, “You were an easy one!”
The final day in Kathmandu, my day of departure, was super busy. It started with a morning purchase of donuts at the “German Bakery.” And for anyone who has been to our digs in Nepal, they will laugh when I mention the bakery! Anyhow, I took these to the morning devotions at a partner’s ministry Friday get-together.
Next was a meeting to hear about the ongoing building of a new missions hospital in the FAR West of Nepal. Our friends that are running the contracting there are in need of prayer, support, and patience as the project goes through the rigors of Nepal.
With a motorbike ride to the Ring Road, I caught a bus, a nasty bus, to the “Monkey Temple,” then a taxi ride for 45 minutes with Lhakpa to visit her sister, a monk nun in seclusion for nine years at a study monastery on a hilly outskirt of Kathmandu. This was a good visit, but her medical condition is not good, as the dietary restrictions are far below what good health demands. We were granted a special permission to visit due to the fact that many of the nuns there have been medically treated by our Arise medical teams in Mustang.
One young nun, who I didn’t even remember well, came and sat down next to me on the ground under this shade tree, that lacked any shade and through the translator, reminded me of the time I played volleyball with her and her friend during a light show at a Gompa (Buddhist worship hall) in Mustang two years ago. I think that I spent about two hours there and it was so valuable in making and reinforcing relationships that might lead one to salvation someday.
Well, back into the taxi and onto the other side of the Valley to have one more visit with Bibi, Suny Maya, and Prakash Man. We stopped to buy enough Tang instant drink mix, cookies, and a few candy bars for the gang of thirty resident girls in their home. The visit was not long, maybe an hour, but a very blessed time. Bibi and Lhakpa went off and talked while Prakash Man proceeded to beat me in arm wrestling a few times. Hospitality is a big thing in Nepal and during the time at the home, I was given a glass of real ice water (filtered), two cups of tea, and a huge glass of Tang!
Now, back to the guesthouse for packing, a few goodbye phone calls to friends, and still about an hour to sit with the guesthouse manager watching a World Cup Football Match.
While I am so glad to be home, I long to go right back to missions as soon as able. It was difficult in not being able to carry much with me, but the Lord allowed it to all work out. I really count it a privilege to have been chosen to serve God on not one, but several foreign fields. Seeing Bibi and being reminded of how she was healed in such a remarkable way from certain death, both physically and eternally was encouraging. Hearing from Lhakpa that her faith also came to reality in seeing Bibi come alive was equally a joy. I remember that our involvement in either of these instances were not easy and required work, but how can any of us even say that they were not worth it…not ever!
Next stop for Arise? Ty, our Medical Director holds missionary medical student training in Virginia this July and is then planning to staff again later in the year at Gatab in northern Kenya.
Austin and Lauren, from Sarasota, will represent Arise in Christian service at Living Waters Bible Camp in Maine starting this Friday. Billie and Naomi travel in early July to Mustang and a team of nine follow on to the same location from Germany in August.
~Carl for Arise Medical Missions (US)