Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Day Ten: I want to see mountains again. Mountains, Gandalf!

The last few days in Kathmandu have definitely been a bit of a stretch. The city is unimaginable to anyone who has never been outside of Western culture before. It's definitely a city of many distractions. We spend a lot of our time winding our way through little back alleys trying to avoid the bigger piles of garbage and dodging the hordes of taxis and mopeds (I've only been hit once so far) all the while shaking off two or three people trying to sell you hash, fix your shoes or take you on an all inclusive trek. It's always an adventure stepping out the door. One little guy, Raj, took a shine to us right from the beginning and he's been tracking us down every day trying to introduce us to one friend or another who always has the best deal on anything. He's quite the shrewd little businessman. Kaison actually ended up trading jackets and an Ipod with him. That was an adventure worthy of more detail at some point.
The constant crowds and noise and smell of incense make you crazy after a while and the only refuge is in our rooms or on top of the hostel roof. My favourite time in Kathmandu so far was this morning on the roof when we were singing worship songs and praying over the city. It's such an amazing privilege to carry God's presence with us wherever we go. As we were singing we could palpably feel the darkness and hopelessness lifting. As always happens when we worship in public we attracted a few spectators. A few of the Nepalese guys who work at the hostel were really interested in what we were doing and we were able to share with them a bit about how much Jesus has done for us and why we take so much joy in worshipping Him. It was a great time. We noticed a few tourists on nearby roofs stopping for a gawk and taking pictures of us, perhaps chalking us down as part of the diverse religious eclecticism (I may have made that word up) here in Nepal. The Nepalese are very proud of their religious tolerance. Yesterday Anthony and I spent a while talking to a Bhuddist guy who took us around to a few of the temples and explained about how some were Bhuddist, some were Hindu, some were mixed but anyone could pray to any god at any of them. He was slightly insulted that we wouldn't take part in any of the rituals but that gave us opportunity to talk about what we believe in and why. The concept of having only one absolute truth never really seemed to compute in his mind but we were able to pray for him and apparently most of his family became Christian when his sister was healed of cancer so we're praying that they will be a strong witness to him.
Overall we've found Kathmandu a bit discouraging. There are hardly any bacpackers here at all this time of year and the ones we've met haven't shown the slightest interest in even saying hello, let alone talking about God and life and what this crazy world is all about. The spiritual sense that God gave us for Kathmandu was of lights and brightly coloured masks and all sorts of distractions that hide emptiness and hopelessness beneath and we definitely see that all over the place as we walk these streets. Nonetheless, we trust that God placed us here for a purpose and that He will make an impact beyond what we can see.
Tomorrow morning we are boarding a bus to Pokhara at 6:30. Everyday we hear more and more about Pokhara and how amazing it is and how that's where all the backpackers go, so, that's where we're going. It's as simple as that. Besides that, we just really want to get out of the smog and be able to see the sky and again, and hopefully some mountains... big mountains.

Please join us in praying for:

-Gabriel, one of our leaders, who has been sick the last three days but still in high spirits.

-God to bring a revelation of His truth to the nation of Nepal and expose the futility of worshipping gods made of wood and stone.

-Our bus ride to Pokhara, that we would redeem the time while traveling (it's a 6 to 9 hour ride, depending on weather, army checkpoints and so on), make good connections and be able to discern the best place to stay for the next few days.

Thanks for praying. It makes all the difference.

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