39 hours…

Our journey home begins in 6 hours.  Of course we’ll wait at the airport for about 3 hours before we board our first flight. In total our journey home will take us 39 hours.

It is hard for many of us to believe that we are headed back. For some this reality will hit as we say our good byes this morning. For some it will take the journey home and our arrival in the states to grasp it. We have come to love this Nepal.  The people, the food, the dogs barking all night, the honking horns of the city, milk that comes in a bag, and the love we have felt from this family have all made their stamp on us.  We have been blessed to have this opportunity.

We come to you in this final post from Nepal asking again for your prayers.
-Please pray for travel mercies
-Pray that we make our connecting flights and that the transitions go smoothly
-Say a special prayer for the assistant team leader, Wes, as he is going on to start another mission trip
-Pray for the team as we debrief in the airport at Dehli, that we would share and discuss the things that will best help us process this trip

Again we thank you for your unceasing prayers.  There is no doubt that your prayers have carried this team through some tough times. Your prayers for unity have brought us together and given us lots of opportunities for laughter.

Dhanya-bad (Thank you)

Posted by: Naiya

Jaya Masi! (Victory to the Messiah!)

To start this final post, I would like to say thank you to all who have been praying for us during this trip. Your prayers have provided us with minimal stomach problems, expedited recovery of a cold, the abilty to continue on when we were tired, restful nights of sleep, safe travel (whether on foot, in cars, or in the air), and an ability to reach some youth that will soon be changing the face of their country. Thank you for partnering in our ministry here.

Today, we drove outside of Kathmandu to a place called Dakchinkali. There, Bishwa showed us a well known Hindu temple. At this temple, animal sacrifices are common place. We, luckily, showed up during a time where none were being performed. The road leading up to the temple was cluttered with booths selling both things to offer and things to buy. There was even a few stalls where one could purchase lunch. It was utterly heart wrenching to see people in desperation, giving their best to gods that could not acknowledge their efforts. I saw, as the priests began to ring large bells in an effort to wake up the non-existent dieties, emotionless expressions on faces that reminded me of the looks I have seen on the faces of slaves in old pictures. To top it off, there was a man with leprosy, a sick woman, and a blind woman begging at the temple. The shackles were not visible, but they were real nonetheless.

Bishwa has described Hinduism to us as “searching for a black cat, in a dark room, where the cat does not exist.” If that is true, then these people have been fooled by thousands of years of darkness. It is incredibe how we search for God. The people of Nepal are searching for God. Pray that they encounter Bishwa, his family, or one of the other 900,000 Christians in Nepal. Just 20 years ago, there were only 50,000 Christians here, and just 60 years ago there were none. The Lord of lords has done a mighty work, Praise Him! But when you consider that there are nearly 20 million people here, there is still much to be done. That’s what our team will leave with tomorrow; that we must continue to pray for the people of Nepal, and the ministry of the Church here. Please join us!

In closing, please pray for us in our travels tomorrow. Our flight to Dehli departs Kathmandu in the afternoon. In Dehli, Naiya, Chase, Rachel, Kaylee and Victoria head to Paris, and on to Atlanta, and finally home to Wichita. I will be leaving Dehli for Singapore and finally arriving in Jakarta. Please pray for safe passage and saftey during layovers for all of us. Thanks for reading!

In His Grip,

Wes Cates

P.S. To all my family and friends: thank you for your prayers. I love you all and will see you in about two weeks, except for Megan, I’ll see you in just a couple days! Please pray that God would give me the wisdom, and endurance that it will take to finish my journey and lead team Indonesia.

A day at home!

With threat of a strike from the people of Nepal and a curfew issued by the government we have just stayed at our host home all day. We have made momo which is a Nepalese dish almost like chinese dumplings. Wes and I helped the boys make fishing poles so they can go fishing in the river once the strike is lifted. After a three and a half hour battle of phase 10 I would like to report that I am the champion! With tomorrow being our last full day here in Nepal it will be a lot like today because of the threat of strike. Although if they lift strike by tomorrow night we will go to a house church for our last chance to minister to the people of Nepal. Please keep praying for us and to all our families we will see you soon!

Chase Sperber

Out of Darkness into His Marvelous Light

The last two days have been an incredible time of seeing God’s hand at work. We did a youth ministry these two days at Bishwa’s training center. Each day about 25 youth from ages 12 to 21 came to hear the word of God.

Yesterday we spent the whole day sharing our testimonies, messages, songs, and acting out dramas. We started out with fun things to get to know each other and then transitioned into serious messages and testimonies and dramas. Today we gave separate messages to the guys and girls and then spent the rest of the day teaching them a skit about Jesus death and resurrection.

I experienced a plethora of emotions the last two days. It was incredible to see God move so powerfully. We saw broken and hurting people, but we also saw faith to put one to shame. We were met with wide opened arms and lots of love and smiles. We were able to pray over people and minister to them as well as dance and be silly with them. We had prayed for the moving of the Holy Spirit and he did not disappoint us.

I found out not long before we left for the day, that I was supposed to speak to the girls on a subject that I struggled with greatly in the past. I felt a little overwhelmed plus I had been very sick the night before. But I felt strongly that God had something for me to share. And as I sat there sweating and shaking in the circle of girls, I suddenly was struck with something. Not ten months ago I was living in great sin and darkness and did not know Jesus as my personal Savior. I would never have dreamed that in less than ten months I would be having the privilege of sharing of Christ’s work in my life-his redemption. And I wanted to cry. For, as it says in  1 Peter 2:9 he brought me out of darkness, into his marvelous light!

Post by Victoria

Sabath

Hello family and friends,

Today is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it!

Well that was true for yesterday as well! Because of the strike going on we stayed “home.” We were blessed to “sleep in.” (Sleeping in consisted of attempting to sleep past the time that the sun peeps into our rooms!) Ramila made as another wonderful breakfast. 

After breakfast we began our new plans. We were told that we would be putting on a two day youth conference! We have to fill 3-5 hours. So as we began to plan for each day. It took longer than we expected because we were all a little slap happy. But we accomplished it and are so excited to see what the Lord is going to do during the conference! This would also be huge prayer request. The conference is Thursday and Friday. We would really covet your prayers for this even that God would be glorified in our dramas, testimonies, worship, and whatever else we might do. Pray that we would be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and that we would follow in his leading!

The day was also a good for our team to relax and get re-energized!

The rest of the day was spent playing Phase10. We all play even though we know that Ramila always wins! Some went for a walk around the area visiting local temples and a monastery. The rest of us went on a walk and watched the sun set. While we were there, there were the most beautiful little girls. They said “hi” to us in English several times. It melted each one of us.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow! The strike has been lifted. So we get to to get out of the house and go on a city tour! Bishwa is going to take us to local markets as well. Then tonight we are going to a prayer vigil.

God is so great and so good. I can’t wait to see what new and exciting things he is going to do today!

Blessings!

Posted by Kaylee

Expect the Unexpected

We are still amidst a strike here in Nepal.  Word on the street (they literally find out about it from people on the street) is that the strike will go on for at least a week.  As Wes mentioned below this means our form of travel is walking.  If we attempted to travel by vehicle we could face harassment and the strikers would throw rocks at the car and possibly set it on fire.  Because we are foreigners this is less likely to happen to us because they try not to disturb the tourist, but the risk is not worth taking the chance.  Bishwa and Ramila (our contacts here) have said that if there is a strike on the day we fly out they will coordinate a police escort to the airport.  So please know that we are safe and we are taking the necessary precautions to stay safe.  Bishwa’s primary focus is ministry and the safety of this team. 

This strike means a few things for us and we are in desperate need of prayer.  Some of the plans included us going out to smaller villages, traveling 5-8 hours to visit some of these churches.  Because we can not travel in a vehicle our ministry focus will be here in Kathmandu.  We have done a lot of walking lately!  This team is up for the challenge.  It seems the furthest distance is about a 2 hour walk, so we are staying realtively close.  If the strike continues we are going to coordinate a youth ministry program here.  This is exciting news and we will need the Lord’s direction and wisdom to plan this.  We currently do not know what we will do for a 3 day youth conference/program, but we trust that the Lord is in control and if this is why He brought us here then He will surely offer us the direction needed for this plan. 

Please know that we are safe and we are learning a lot.  This experience is a very blessed one and we are fortunate to be staying with the family in their home.  Ramila makes sure we have three meals a day and the girls get to help with preparing the food. We will all know how to make at least one traditional Nepali meal when we get home!  So know that we are being kept safe and stuffed! Really…Ramila always makes plenty of food and as soon as we sit to eat we hear her call from the kitchen, “Please come get seconds! We have a lot of food left here!” 

We also covet your prayers.
-Pray for the team to remain unified and to be loving and gentle with each other
-Pray for our contacts, their ministry, and the flexibility that is required of them as they have a team here that they want to use for His kingdom
-Pray that we will all be flexible and continue to know that nothing is certain but that we must always expect the unexpected
-Pray for laughter, that we would enjoy our time here
-Pray for our goals to be a focus, the team decided we want to be a team that is present, teachable, and joyful
-Pray against darkness and the enemies ploys to bring this team down, we have been under great spiritual attack that comes in a number of ways (this team feels that these attacks are a sign that we are doing the Lord’s work, otherwise the enemy would not be fighting so hard to bring us down!)

Thank you so much for reading our posts, for your prayers, and for your thoughts. 

Posted by Naiya

Following the path less followed…

Yesterday, May 20th, we had the opportunity to go on a prayer walk in a village called Khokana.  The community was very dark, but we were given hope when we went to the home of a man who has opened his house for a church. We were so happy to hear of the growth there.  In 5 years they went from 5 people to 200!  Just this year they have seen 5 people come to receive the Lord!  We asked our brother how we can pray for him and he shared the below requests.  We would like to share these with you so that you too can be praying for him.

- Pray that the Lord’s light would shine in this place, that they would know the ture living God
- Pray for this man’s relatives, for their salvation, and his relationship with them as they look down on him for his faith
- Because this home church is fastly growing they seem to be out growing the location and are in need of some direction.  Pray that the Lord would speak to them and show them if they should move to a bigger location, and if so where. Or if they are to stay put at this time.
- Pray for the pastor’s health as he has been very ill lately

Today we started off our journey going to the school where the pastors are trained to lead their churches.  It was a very interesting journey because we did not really know where we were going, we were taking a new way.  Because of the strike going on we were unable to use a vehicle to get us there, so we had to walk.  Our contacts typically drive so we were on a bit of an adventure.  We kept asking people which way we needed to go to get there. It took about an hour to an hour and a half to get there, but when we arrived we were shown where the pastors stay of the two months of training.  It is a very disciplined program, the pastors are in classes and required to study from 5am-10pm. We also got to read some of the class material. There was a specific one that I read that made me think in a new way.  It spoke of the two seas of Israel.  The sea of Galilee has rivers flowing in and out of it that caused it to thrive with life.  The Dead sea only has water flowing into it, so the mineral content is very high causing it to have no life in it.  As Chrisitians we need to be more like the sea of Galilee, where we have knowledge of the Bible and Jesus.  Where we allow ourselves to listen and have life flowing into us, but also that we share and allow that life to pour out of us. 

Moving on in our journey we went to a lake called Nagjhe, meaning “serpent lake”.  The lake god is a place of worship for some people and these individuals believe that the snake god takes a human sacrifice each year.  While we were there I felt a really bad vibe.  It is hard for me to put into words, but my heart felt torn by how this lake had power over these people…and yet it is just a lake.  As we traveled back we saw many people that had the symbol of Hinduism on their forehead.  It made me realize that these people do not know about Jesus.  They have no idea about Him.  It broke my heart because they would smile at us, and I would smile back, but I wanted to do more.  We returned home on a different route that seemed to be an easier trek than the first, but with more farm land.

I give praise to the Lord for showing me that I am on the right path and that I am following Him.

Team prayer request:
-For energy
-For sleep (many of the team members are having nightmares and restless sleep)
-For the Lord’s will since we cannot travel due to the strike
-For continued safety
-Pray also that we would continue to be a unifed team

Church Fellowship and the Nepali Stamp of Approval

Jaya Massi! (Victory to the Messiah)

That is the traditional christian Nepali greeting. Pronounced Jay Mas-E, it is what is said here between Christians instead of namaste (a Hindu greeting meaning the divinity in me bows to the divinity in you). I would like to personally start with a great thanks for all who have been praying for us! The impact has already been felt.

Here in Nepal they are in a very interesting time period historically, one we have not seen in the US in over 200 years. 12 years ago, the Maoists and the Government fought a bloody civil war which featured more than 50,000 casualties. Consequently, the government now is unstable. There is hope however, as the Nepali people are currently framing a constitution! As you can imagine, this means some real zeal can be found among the people here. There are frequently transportation strikes, meaning that the entire transportation industry shuts down, and no one can travel. Those who do, risk physical harm to both themselves and their vehicles.

Luckily, there were no strikes either the day we arrived, or yesterday (5/19). God’s hand surely lifted the strike to provide us with the opportunity to safely travel to two villages and attend two small house churches. The Church here is certainly persecuted, pastors and Church leaders are often beat up. The people gather with such authentic hearts tuned toward worship. Needless to say, we were all humbled by the faith of the Nepali Church; meeting together with nothing to gain, and everything to loose.

During the services, Victoria and Chase gave their testimonies. It was powerful and God certainly used them. Victoria also wowed everyone with her wonderful gift of voice.

We have also enjoyed many traditional Nepali meals; potatoes, chicken cooked with the bone in, and rice are all staples. Last night, we were greeted with a treat when we went to a fantastic restaurant. We enjoyed dumplings (Dad you would have loved them) made of water buffalo, chicken noodles, and fried rice. Bishwa (our contact) issued us a challenge to eat some red chili sauce with our food. We rose to the occasion and we given a special Nepali Stamp of approval. Bishwa even said of one of our team members, “I have never seen an American eat chili sauce like that! You are ok!”

We are quickly becoming attached to the people here. I personally cannot wait to see how the Lord continues to work here. Please continue to pray for us, not only for saftey phisically, but also spiritually as Satan has already desperatly tried to distract us and make us ineffective here. Pray for energy and invigoration by the Holy Spirit. Pray also for the persecuted church here in Nepal. Thanks for reading!

In His Grip,

Wes Cates

We have arived!!

We arrived in Nepal at 9:30 a.m. local time after spending the night in the Deli airport! Our contacts Bishwa and Ramila have welcomed us into their home where we are staying during the remainder of the trip. We send all our love to all of you and hope to update again soon!

Chase Sperber

We are in the airport of Wichita waiting patiently for our first flight. We are also flying out with team Philippine. Pray for us to have patients as we travel by so many flights and also not getting sick as we keep going up and down. To finish off this is the day we have been preparing for I am so excited and a little tired, but happy to finally be so close to Nepal
Rachel Grafel