Monthly Archives: January 2013

Faithfulness of previous generations

Today we got some winter rains.  The sky turned quite dark, thunder rumbled, and the hail came pounding down onto the tin roof!  We couldn’t hear ourselves think – the storm was quite fierce for several minutes!  The rains are certainly welcome as the rivers are getting lower and the paths and roads have been thick with dust.  The reduced water power in the rivers has caused lots of cuts in electricity  – especially in the bigger cities of Kathmandu, Pokhara, etc.

One of the great joys of serving here in Tansen is to know that the work we are doing is building on the work of many faithful servants who have been here before us.  It is especially amazing to meet some of the real pioneers of the Tansen medical work.  One day last month, Mrs. Iwamura arrived in Tansen with a group of Japanese guests.  The Iwamuras first came to Tansen 50 years ago!  Dr. Iwamura came to be a physician here at Tansen Mission Hospital and they lived and worked here for 18 years.


Les and Mrs. Iwamura

Les and Mrs. Iwamura compressed

Mrs. Iwamura came with a group that included a good friend of ours from Japan!  He is the husband of a classmate of Les’s who had become a good friend of Debbie’s during her years in Japan.  Les had to dig a bit deep as he was called to converse with the group in Japanese – but he did a great job.


Mrs. Iwamura and her daughter in front of the where house they used to live in Tansen.

Mrs. Iwamura and her daughter compressed

Mrs. Iwamura brought several copies of a children’s book written in Japanese and Nepali about their time here in Tansen.  It tells the story of how they came to Tansen and started seeing many patients in the hospital.  However, Dr. Iwamura became concerned about the people who were too sick to make the trip to the hospital, so he started traveling out to the surrounding villages to see patients.  One day he found an old woman who was very ill and needed to be taken to the hospital.  She was too sick to walk, and there were no roads for ambulances.  It was summer, and the villagers were all busy with their own field work which needed to be done, so he was having trouble finding someone to carry her.  Dr. Iwamura prayed that help would come to get this woman to the hospital, and the next day a young man came to the village to deliver some goods and he agreed gladly to carry this sick lady to Tansen hospital for care.

It took three days for the group to return to Tansen as this young man carried this woman on his back – up and down over many mountain paths.  When Dr. Iwamura tried to pay this young man for his service, the young man refused to accept, saying that he was happy to do this kind deed for the old woman.  And when Dr. Iwamura asked him why he was so kind to her, he said, “Everyone – even the less fortunate – deserves the chance to live.”

It was so encouraging to Dr. Iwamura that this young man, who wasn’t rich himself, was willing to give his time and effort to help someone in even more need.  This is something we have seen here, as well.  In a country full of needs and very poor people, those with little are always willing to share what they have with someone else.


Group photo! Our friend’s husband is in the front squatting down in the black shirt.

Les and group compressed

We continue to be humbled by so much here.  Thanks for your prayers!



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Christmas in Tansen

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…. 5 cups of tea….

We just came from a lovely meal served by a Nepali friend – ending with lovely sweet “chiya”.  We have had such a busy Advent season that it seems as if December has flown by.  We were missing our family, friends, and the musical traditions of the U.S., but it was really nice not to have any of the commercialism here.  We did find one Christmas tree in a little store in the bazaar.

Christmas here really started on Sat, Dec. 1 with the Tansen Tutorial Group presenting the Christmas story in drama, song and with pictures.  It was a wonderful service and made us remember the days when our children were learning lines and dressing in costumes, etc.  It was a pleasure to just sit back and enjoy the afternoon!

TTG Christmas program.1

We had an “expat team” party on Sat, Dec. 15  with a meal including a big dish of sweet potato soufflé that I had taught the guest house cooks how to make the day before! (Thanks to LaComedia for the recipe!)  After a wonderful meal with lots of yummy desserts, we enjoyed singing by the barbershop group (although the Australians had a hard time with “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas!”) and some games – including a piñata that looked like Santa!


Two nights later we had a Christmas party for the doctors, interns, residents and their families. It was another big meal, but this time there was some time for telling the Christmas story as there were several there who are not believers.  It was a fun evening and a good time to share about why we celebrate Christmas.

At the English worship service at church, we had an evening of singing Christmas hymns and carols – American style!  Several nights later, we went caroling around to the wards in the hospital giving each patient a tract and some fresh tangerines.  The Christmas story was shared in each ward after we sang.  Each child in the pediatric ward was given a hand knitted sweater sent by wonderful ladies in the U.K.

Christmas at English Worship.1

A couple of ladies from the church and Debbie went to another hospital to visit the patients in the ICU.  We were able to pray for the patients, and also to share the Christmas story with the nurses and staff there.  We gave gifts of food and Christian books to the staff and patients.  The nurses were so touched by the visit that they sent a thank you gift to our church!

The hospital Christian Fellowship group had an all day tea for staff the week before Christmas.  All 350 of the staff were invited throughout the day to come and have tea and snacks and to learn about the Christmas story and why Christians celebrate.

HCF Christmas Tea

The Tansen nursing campus had a celebration of Christmas with the 13 Christian students (out of 120) putting together a program of songs, dance, and even a flute/clarinet duet by one of the other teachers and myself!  Unfortunately, the celebration was outside and it was a very chilly, overcast day!  My fingers didn’t want to work on the keys (shades of marching band)!  There was a wonderful drama of the Christmas story performed by the Christian students.

TNS Christmas Drama.1

The Saturday before Christmas was probably the biggest outreach: all 7 churches in Tansen had joined together and rented the 500 seat “town hall” for a joint outreach service.  All the “thulo manche” (important people) in town were invited.  The churches had practiced and did great songs and dances and the guest speaker was from a church in Kathmandu. He gave an excellent message.  The hall was packed – no children were allowed seats – they had to sit on the laps of parents, and all the youth gave up seats and stood around the edges.  The service started at 11 and was finished around 2:15.  It was a very special day.

On Christmas eve, we invited “expats” to our house for a short Christmas Eve service in English for those of us used to worshiping on that evening.  We used the advent wreath I had put together and read scripture and sang hymns together.

Christmas morning saw us returning to church at 11 for the service there.  The church was packed with probably 300-400 people and after the service, everyone ate pulau (rice with nuts, coconut and oil), curried vegetables, spicy meat and achar.  I never cease to be amazed that they can do all this outside the church in big pans cooking over firewood.  The men were in charge of the cooking and it was delicious.  Here is a banner that was hung outside the church for all to see. The scripture is from Prov. 14:34, “Righteousness exalts a nation”.  It is a picture of Jesus looking over the town of Tansen.    Also, it seems that God is in charge of decorating the outside of the churches here!

Christmas Banner.1

Church decor.1

Even though we weren’t really hungry, we went to another missionary’s house for supper Christmas night.  It was a lovely international meal, including Korean kimbap and pugogee, and with a Christmas pudding from England at the end of the meal.

It was indeed a Merry Christmas here in Tansen, Nepal.  We pray that yours was blessed as well. Thanks to so many who sent us greetings through email and we enjoyed the cards that came in the mail!

As we draw near to 2013, we were challenged by the speaker in church this morning to be strong, to always look to Jesus for our strength, to fight against Satan, and to put on the armor of God.

Happy New Year!


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