A team of six people from the US just ended a very special and heart-moving/wrenching trip to one of the poorest countries in the world: Nepal. One of the unique aspects of a ServeNow mission trip is that you are exposed to a variety of different people, places, projects and programs. The team served by giving blankets, hats and other winter coverings to children in need. We helped at a medical clinic. We shared and gave the Story of Jesus to kids and The Basic Things You Need to Know to adults. We prayed for people, fed people, visited and encouraged girls who are going through our tailoring program, and simply showed the love of God to many.
The team arrived late at night on December 29. After orientation on our first day in Nepal, we visited a slum area in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Then we handed out blankets and hats to the elderly and children at a church. Their gratitude and thankfulness touched our hearts. They were all smiles!
The plan for our second day was to visit a remote village in the mountains. After a wild ride through a river, then up and around mountainous terrain (no guardrails anywhere), with the men standing in the back of the four-wheel drive (Watch here), we finally arrived at the village where a cheering crowd of about 400 people had gathered to greet us! First we shared the good news of the love of Jesus with them while standing on top of bundles of blankets that we had brought for them (Watch here). After that, we handed out all the winter coverings, as well as the Story of Jesus. Sixty percent of the people, and many of them elderly, had walked for 2 to 3 hours to simply receive a blanket to keep them warm this winter.
On the third day, we helped out at a medical camp in a poor community where many people had been evacuated to after the earthquake. While it is not officially a slum area, we met the poorest of the poor in that community. The district government official (a Hindu woman) was there to welcome us, grateful that help was being provided for her community. She pleaded with us to set up a tailoring program, and to help with the dire needs of the children. One of our team members has a medical background, so he was able to give the patients medication, based on the doctor’s prescription. Six doctors from a local hospital had come to help at the clinic. While none of them are followers of Christ, they were deeply moved and happy to serve those who otherwise are unable to come to a hospital for medical care. Many of the medical needs were in fact preventable problems such as skin infections (due to lack of proper hygiene) and stomach problems. The team played with the kids and prayed for patients. We met one woman who was 95 years old. Another woman asked for prayer because she is persecuted by her husband and family for being a follower of Jesus. We also gave the kids the Story of Jesus, and we were impressed that some of the children brought their friends so that could receive the book as well.
On Saturday (which is when churches meet in Nepal, since Saturday is their “national holiday” and everyone is off work), we served at a church service. The worship of the believers was so pure and passionate, it really touched us. Afterwards, we handed out the Story of Jesus to kids and The Basic Things You Need to Know About Salvation to the adults. We also visited a pastor who is taking care of children that have become orphans due to various circumstances.
On the fifth day, we visited a group of women who are going through our second tailoring program. They have made incredible progress in just one month’s time, partly due to a very skilled teacher.
That same day, we also visited a village where we handed out winter coverings to about 200 children. These children had walked 4 to 5 hours down the mountain, many from very remote places. They are so poor that they came on empty stomachs. Needless to say we didn’t want to send them back on empty stomachs, so we bought all of them (adults in included) food and drinks. Some of the adults didn’t even know how to open the soda bottle. The district government official of this area (who read every page of the Story of Jesus) informed us that delivering winter coverings, like we did, was beyond their comprehension. In fact, to keep warm during the winter, they dig holes in the ground. The children had come barefoot, dirty and very shy. But they left with their bellies full and with warm fleece jackets, pants and a hat! This was one of the most heart-wrenching and moving experiences of the trip. It was especially sobering to realize there are so many who live with such great needs. One team member also was able to share from the Story of Jesus book with the kids. Many may have never heard of Jesus before.
On the sixth day, we stopped at a small church where we gave out hats, the Story of Jesus and The Basic Things You Need to Know. Afterwards, we went to an outside area where we gave out winter coverings to the kids and hats to some elderly people. What was touching about this village was the lunch they prepared for us. They made us fish and duck, with steamed rice and vegetables. This is not an everyday meal they have. It was a special meal and a real sacrifice for them which they made so willingly and joyfully as a way to say thank you to us.
Afterwards,we stopped to visit some of the women who had gone through ServeNow’s first tailoring program in Nepal. They had walked several hours during the early morning, just to see us. It was touching to hear how the training benefited them and how it is helping them presently. They graduated one week before the earthquake struck. They either lost their homes or their homes were badly damaged. One girl’s sewing machine was crushed, but ServeNow was able to provide her with a new one. Some have been making clothes for their families, others are selling. A pastor’s wife told us she has been able to sew clothes for some of the people in need in their church. Another girl told us the training helped her self-esteem. They all were very shy around us, yet so grateful to have had this training. It has provided them with a practical skill that will protect them from trafficking.
On the seventh day, we visited homes that ServeNow had provided with tin sheet roofing following the earthquake, for protection against the monsoon rains. The first woman we met shared with us that her (brick) home was destroyed while she and her children were in church. If they had been at home, they would have died. Her mother-in-law did die when her home collapsed. Only 2 days after the earthquake, it rained for days on end. She, along with many others, did not think they would survive. But she did, and she showed us her new “house.” The walls are made of the old roof, and the tin sheet roofing that ServeNow provided are used for the new roof. We climbed up some steep paths to visit this family.
Afterwards, we enjoyed a meal at the house of our National director. Like nearly everyone else, they live without heat in their home. The special thing about being in their home was meeting the sixteen children they have adopted! They sang for us, and we shared a devotion with them. Their adopted children all have different backgrounds. Their youngest was nearly thrown over a bridge by his mother in an attempt to kill him. She wanted to “free up her life”. A 14-year-old girl has been with them for 3 years. Her mother died when the girl was still very young, and she was taken into forced labor. One day, at the age of 11, she was beaten, raped and left for dead. The police found her and pleaded with our national director and his wife to come and help this girl. They did, and they were heart-broken at what they saw. It was very difficult in the beginning, as she struggled mentally and emotionally, but God’s love has conquered, transformed and driven out all fear.
The last day, we visited two slum areas in Kathmandu. The first slum has no current Christian activity taking place, and it has the highest rate of prostitution. ServeNow would therefore like to start a “lighthouse” center in this very area to meet the needs of the kids and girls (after school tutoring, a home for orphans and skill training). The second slum area we visited was perhaps one of the worst I have visited. Yet, we were greeted by some very happy and energetic children!
On trips like these, it is a blessing for me to see how God uses everyone in different ways and at different times. We had a 13-year-old boy and his dad on our team. Several times this young boy shared the Good News with children and adults. It was awesome to see that it doesn’t matter how young (or how old) you are…God can use you if your heart is given to Jesus!
Here are a few quotes from those who were on this trip:
Linda: “For me it was a dream come true to be able to serve people in Nepal! I had shared with our team leader prior to this trip what a blessing it would be to not only give a blanket to someone in need, but be able to wrap my arms around them at the same time. That dream has now come true and it moved me to tears to see that although having nothing, they were rich with joy in their hearts, and so happy to receive these blankets!”
Patti: “The children and parents who came from the mountains, and seeing the mountains they came from, astounded me! The kids were adorable. It was humbling to see ServeNow’s national director’s heart, especially for children, in a way that has become very personal for him and his family. They embody a true servant’s heart.”
Steve: “I wish I could convey to people back home of how $10 of stuff means so little to us but so much to them. Sometimes I am saddened by how meaningless things will get so many likes on Facebook, but when posting about significant things, like the need and opportunity to give, there is little actual giving compared to what we could all potentially do. It truly does make a difference. We saw it in the eyes of the children…children who walked miles, with no food, just for simple winter coverings.”
Dan: “I was moved by the generosity of the people everywhere, wherever we went. It didn’t matter how poor they were or how little they had; they sacrificed and gave their best for us with joyful hearts. For example, in one poor village the people cooked us a lunch of steamed rice, fish, duck and vegetables. This was a meal they only have themselves on very rare and special occasions…and they made it for us.”
Austin (13-years-old) “It was awesome for me to see the worship and devotion they had and to see how attentive they were to when we shared messages with them. It was also impactful for me to share with them, to see how their need for hope draws them and allows them to accept the message. In the US we think we have so much, and yet we miss out on so much.”
Thank you so much to all who gave/prayed for this trip and the beautiful and precious people of Nepal! Please remember them in your prayers and giving (Donate Here).